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Don't Wear Fancy Pants

Yesterday, while single-tank sidemount diving in a 3mm shorty at the tips of the finger reef at 40 feet, the biggest Eagle Ray I've ever seen came cruising by the sandy wasteland of the desert boundary.

Tail must have been 6 feet long. 4-5 feet from wingtip to wingtip.

I squealed happily through my reg like a DSD. Like a 14 year old DSD. From a landlocked hometown. A shitty one where it's so boring even the Walmart is an hour's drive away.

I squealed with delight at the unexpectedness and the beauty and the sheer joy of living a life where I get to experience the natural world in ways that most people have never even stopped to try to imagine.

Being a fancy-pants diver with all the fancy-pants credentials to go to fancy-pants places that only a little minority of people get to go is pretty cool. It's partially lucky as well as how it's taken a lot of time and effort and money, too. Don't make the mistake of thinking I'm especially talented or smart or special, though. The truth is, with enough time and determination you could probably train an orangutan to cave dive if, by some unlikely set of circumstances, you could find one that wouldn't rather tear your legs out of their sockets with their bare hands to avoid being forced to swim. (Orangs can swim, but don't particularly like water... and they can easily tear your legs out of their sockets with their bare hands.)

So it's cool, but unremarkable in many ways.

One of those ways: being a fancy-pants diver pales in comparison to embracing why we all fell in love with diving in the first place.

It was painful watching some of the other folks on the boat struggling with those godawful jacket BCs, though. Why the fuck are those things still even manufactured? This coming from someone who was diving sidemount. Off a boat. Like an irredeemable fucking jackass. Even THAT is far, far preferable to a jacket BC.

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