Memories of Susan Grant

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on September 20, 2010 at 15:17:43:

I thought I would write about some of the happier times I had with Susan to alleviate some of the sadness.
Our first dive together
We picked one of the more difficult dives as our first. We dived Flat Rock at night. I forgot my weightbelt at home, so I stopped by Ross' house and borrowed his. Halfway down the goat trail it slipped down to my ankles. I thought I was going to go off the edge of the trail. We made it out without any more hitches. During the dive, the swells picked up. We surfaced far offshore to find six feet swells and the dark shoreline about 1/2 mile away. The surface swim in seemed to take forever. We made it into less than a foot of water before we were both knocked down by a wave. The walk back up to the street seemed more strenuous than any other dive I had made here. I was huffing and puffing, willing myself to make the last ten feet. I felt so old and out of shape. I asked Susan how old she was. When she said she was only two years younger than I, it made me feel a lot better.

The Chicken Rule
Susan used to bring enough food for everyone in our group plus more. One night, we were diving for lobsters near the Avalon wreck. She brought some KFC Original Recipe chicken. A few small pieces of skin fell on the deck and were later stepped on. Ross, Susan and I looked like drunk ice skaters trying to stand with dive gear on the slick surface. After that dive we had a new rule on the boat...No fried chicken allowed!

A River Runs Through It
We made a dive on the Moody wreck one afternoon. While making our deco stops we practiced safety and valve drills. Susan was about to begin her Tech 1 course with Jon and Maciek, so every dive we made became a skills practice dive. I used to be one of those scootering, drills-practicing type of divers until I bought a camera. I'm much better now, thank you. :)
While we were making sure we were perfectly horizontal we saw a river of tuna crabs flowing by about ten feet below us. It was a few feet wide and went on for the rest of our dive, at least ten more minutes. I had only seen the crabs when tey washed up on the beach before, so this was a big thrill for us.

Paper Nautilus
I was towing Susan on my scooter at San Clemente Island once when I spotted a paper nautilus below us. I didn't know how thin and fragile they are, so I chipped off a bit when I picked it up. I let Susan have the scooter for the rest of the dive while I cradled the shell back to the swimstep. I managed to hand it up to the crew with no further damage.

The Shark of Flat Rock
For years, divers have spotted a large gray shark at Flat Rock. Ross had it go over him while he was halfway into an overhang grabbing bugs. Don Shepard saw it and didn't know whether to swim out of there of watch Ross get eaten. The shark swam off instead.
One night Susan and I were diving for bugs there. Other than two lobsters I gave my sister and one that was the main course at my friend Brian's house, every lobster I caught went to Susan. I was an enabler. While I was on one side of a rock, Susan was on the other side when Mr. Landlord circled her twice. She frantically waved her light toward me, but I was busy trying to catch her dinner. I never saw it. Divers are still spotting the shark at Flat Rock.

Bag o'Bugs
On a night dive at Pt Fermin we had poor vis, but lobsters were crawling about everywhere. Susan grabbed her limit in the first ten minutes of the dive. A side note here; Susan wore glasses out of the water but didn't wear a prescription mask. When we got back aboard my boat she pulled out the first bug and it wasn't even close to legal. Don grabbed it and tossed it in the water. He then proceeded to take each lobster out of her bag and throw them all back. She managed to grab seven babies. Everyone had a good laugh excepot Susan, who got skunked.

I Need This Like A Hole In The Head
One opening night we were diving on my friend Marc's boat. He usually dives for lobsters with our friend Tom, but with four of us on the boat, he told Tom not to throw his tank on over his head. As we began gearing up, Tom forgot what Marc had said and flipped his tank and BC up and over, clanging Marc on the forehead. Susan, a former E.R surgeon, bandaged Marc and told him he would need stitches. The rest of us dived while Marc stewed on deck. I caught my usual one lobster and gave it to Marc. After getting back in, Marc went straight to Gardena Memorial Hospital. The nurse told him that the Doctors on duty had just gone to sleep and he would have to wait for a couple of hours. He decided to drive over to Dive n Surf to get his Lobster Mobster T-shirt, then went back to the hospital where he received six stiches.

Working out an Injury
Susan injured her back in a car accident near her home in 2005. I carried her gear down to the water at Marineland, but then made her swim out to the platform and back. She didn't complain...too much.

Bribing Susan's Sister
When Susan introduced me to her family, her sister Diane, who is a six-foot stunt woman took me aside and told me I had better not hurt Susan. I promised I wouldn't, then went off to quiver in the corner. On a dive at Nicholas Canyon with Susan and Frank O'Donnell I caught two lobsters. I gave them to Susan and told her to give them directly to Diane. I'm no dummy.

The Big Bugs
We were diving a wreck off Long Beach with Ross and Beth. Neither Susan nor I had ever caught, let alone seen a large lobster. I found a 6 1/2 pounder under a ledge and managed to drag him out. It took several minutes to wrestle him into my bag. As I turned to head toward Susan I found another 6 1/2 pounder! I coul;dn't fit them both in my bag so I swam over to stuff it in Susan's bag. As I looked up I saw her hugging an eleven pounder. My excitement over my first two big bugs suddenly became lobster envy.
We made it back to the boat with our haul. Ross came up with a legal, but "normal" size lbster in hand. Beth took pictures of Ross releasing his bug. He then looked at us. We looked at each other, then back at Ross and said,"Uh...no"
I gave the two big boys to my sister. Susan's bug fed her, her brother and sister, brother-in-law, mother and a neighbor for two meals. Susan saved the carapace. She cleaned it, put a string on it and wore it as a hat on Halloween.

The Freak Show
Susan called and asked me to take her to the West Hollywood Halloween Parade one year. It was like something I had never seen, nor wanted to. Susan must have said Yikes at least a hundred times that night.

The last time I saw her
I ran into Susan at the Scuba Show last June. She seemed happy. I whispered to her that I had found the UB88, but it was to remain a secret until I had dived it. She said she couldn't wait to dive it. For her birthday in August, I gave her the spots Merry and I had reserved on the Sea Bass for September 12th. She never made the trip. I emaild her to remind her, but never heard back.

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