August 14, 2007

Night Dive Round Cap Tossa

Earlier in the day, Kiko suggested that we go out for a night snorkel. Cool. We've done it before and I was looking forward to it again this summer. Young Alberto was interested to do it too, but he was apprehensive. Naturally. It was his first time. He is actually a very good swimmer, but he has had little experience with snorkeling.

By eleven, we got together but the sky was darkening, a storm was coming into town. The wind was gusting, getting fiercer by the minute. You could see the lightning in the dark clouds to the south over the sea. Restauranteurs were wrapping up their umbrellas and awnings, tourists were taking cover back to their hotels and pensions, leaving the streets to the gust and rain. The apprehension was building and the option to put off the swim was on the table. "Valley, ok. Let's go to Codolar to see how the sea is..." Off we trooped to the edge of the castle wall and the sky was looking for all the world like scenes from the Wizard of Oz. The waves were kicking up and the sea was a bit dirty as the wave action churned up the debris. The wind was blustering in a way that began to remind me of those long ago Navy days I spent on the ship into the storms of the Pacific and thereabouts.

I was having my doubts and I knew Kiko was too. But Kiko was playing a bit as he is wont to do. Lurdes, his girlfriend was lobbying to stand down and Alberto was agitating too. A bit of a smile curled the edge of his mouth as Kiko gauged the situation with sidelong glances. Kiko proffered: "Let's wait a bit at my house, and have a galss of cava. Let's see if the sea will calm down enough for us to go out." And so as we sat around sipping Catalan champaign. Kiko was playing the situation like a drum, teasing in a low key manner. Alberto pushed for reassurance: "You're not going to let us get hurt, are you Dennis?" "Of course not, Alberto. The biggest problem is being tossed up onto the rocks and getting roughed up a bit. Of course you could hit your head or take in too much water and drown. We'll return immediately if the situation gets out of hand." I knew how he felt, a first night dive is pretty nervy. I also think Alberto wanted to be scared. Kiko and I obliged. It makes for a vivid experience. I'm developing a theory about how the Spainards' national character is the type that likes to go to the edge and play there a bit. Be that as it may, the first swim surely gins up the pucker factor. It feels pretty nutty to get out there at the edge of a dark briny Mediterranean with little on but your skivvies and a knife.

And a trident.

Last year we actually caught enough fish to eat them on the grill straight away. But I wasn't too keen on making a kill that night. Taking videos was the only fish I wanted to catch, so a camera was all I was going to hang on to. But there is something ancient about floating about with a trident, very Neptuno, very battle of the sea gods and all that.


00:10 Alberto makes his appearance.
00:45 Kiko and Alberto side by side.
00:47 Lightning flash.
00:55 I surface to take a look at Codolar as we depart.
01:16 Kiko shouts for us to follow.
01:20 Alberto talks into his snorkel, marveling.
01:38 Kiko spots a fish, a "lubina".
02:12 We surface, "?Que bien, eh?" Alberto warns about the rocks.
02:35 I get washed up on the rocks, high and "dry". I tumble.
03:00 Powering out of the situation, I see Kiko's light.
03:15 "Let's get out of here."
03:23 Alberto waves to you.


00:03 I track Alberto's dive to the surface.
00:30 Alberto hop scotches under me to Kiko.
00:53 Kiko at the rocks.
01:12 Spotting fish asleep in the crevices (barely discerable to the camera).
01:51 Kiko at the rocks.
02:08 Very nice visuals with the flashlight turned up into the froth.
02:29 "Kiko, donde esta?" "He's always beside the rocks, joder."
02:42 I unsuccessfully try to catch an image of the lighthouse at Cap Tossa above at the point.
03:11 A VERY NICE LIGHTNING STRIKE. Alberto still tries to talk into his snorkel. "?Woo hoo, hoo hoo hoo hoo!"
03:24 "?Que tal, como estas?" "Be."
03:27 Whoops and shouts of joy. Laughter. "?Que miedo!"


00:18 Yours truly.
00:44 Kiko capitalizes on the camera, knowing that this video will end up in the blog, sending this message to his girlfriend Lurdes: "?Cari?o, te quiero!". Capitan Kiko directs the expedition into a large crevice into the side of the cliff that descends deep into the sea. The water is sheltered from the waves here where fish like to sleep at night.
01:48 A fish makes his appearance. A lubina, a fish that is probably too sleepy to know I am there despite the noise and the light . I almost bump into it with the camera.
02:42 A small school of fish streak by, hitting us in the face.

What the camera could not capture was the moment when as we returned enroute to the beach, we shut off our flashlights to see the phosphorescence. Diamonds and whorls of what looks like fireflies shook off our bodies. The rain pelted our necks, the lightning lit up the clouds. And under the surface of the sea we were effervescing, boiling with a cool, almost astronomical light. It was amazing. I dove and shook my fists to make a glow that was bright enough to see a little better into the inky darkness. It was a pity to switch the flashlights on again.

Back on the beach, Nacho stood watch under an umbrella, bundled with our towels. He said he could hear the whoops in the distance and he knew we were doing fine.


Photo: Emili Armengol "El Codolar" Tossa 1934 Godes
ART 1934 Vol.II. Num.1 Octubre $ Pessetes
Reproduida de l'original propietat de RAMON AR?S
i reeditada per l'Ajuntament de Tossa de Mar el 1998
amb motiu de la Festa Major de Sant Pere

(Admin: I thought I was pretty clever with the time marks and all that. But now I notice that the YouTube player counts DOWN.

And now I have to probably rejigger the numbers.

Don't hold your breath.

Posted by Dennis at August 14, 2007 2:13 PM

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