We made our way up the anchor line slowly, listening to the soft hum of the Conception’s generator as we took our decompression stops. Reaching the surface, we climbed onto the dive platform and the crew, all dive masters themselves, took our fins and helped us up the ladder, asking, “Have a nice dive?”
The following morning some of the crew would cook us tasty breakfasts made to order as we scanned the shores across the channel and checked our cell phones for signs of the Y2K upheaval that never happened. They cheerfully filled our tanks after each dive and kept the boat neat and tidy. When we saw a school of Barracuda, they made sure the Heart song, “Barracuda,” was playing on the sound system when we came back up.
We would eventually make our way down the stairs to the warm, dry sleeping quarters at night – curtained bunk beds with comfy mattresses, pillows, blankets, and reading lights. I fell asleep each night listening to waves lapping gently against the hull.
I can barely wrap my mind around this unimaginable tragedy.
My only consoling thought is that those lost aboard the Conception experienced the pure joy and beauty of scuba diving during their final days on Earth, and I'm praying that their terror and confusion faded quickly as they moved on to other realms.
I offer my deepest condolences to their families and friends.