Re: Memories of Susan Grant

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Posted by Frank O on September 20, 2010 at 20:37:42:

In Reply to: Re: Memories of Susan Grant posted by Jon on September 20, 2010 at 16:04:49:

I've been thinking of anecdotes of Susan as well. She was great fun to dive with, and a good friend. Looking back at my logbook, I see dozens of dives with her over several years, at Catalina, Farnsworth, Clemente, north Channel Islands, Malibu, Redondo, Palos Verdes and Laguna.

I think I probably first met her around the time that she, Jon and Maciek were practicing skills getting ready to take Tech 1. This went on for half a year or more. The three of them would show up at Vet's to grill themselves while the rest of us would buddy up for fun dives. Many of us had taken or would take DIR-F, but it wasn't as intense as the paces they put themselves through. It was a great relief when Andrew G pronounced that they passed.

Particularly in the early years, we did a lot of ad hoc group trips on charter boats to Catalina and elsewhere. Sometimes it was laps underwater around Ship Rock or Isthmus Reef following Susan, or joking around with the porcelain toilet that was on the bottom underwater at Indian Rock. On many of these dives, Susan displayed an uncanny ability to lead us back to the boat.

As mentioned elsewhere, Susan loved to hunt bugs. One night, Susan, Jon, Maciek, Nick and I got together at Malaga Cove to try our luck. When we got down onto the beach, Susan realized that she left her HID light back in her car up the hill. Quick to improvise, she pulled out her little Scout backup lights and headed into the water, one in each hand. It was a little tough to track the faint glare of her lights alongside the intense beams of the HIDs as we moved across the reef. I'm not sure how she grabbed the bugs while holding the two flashlights under her armpits. Still, she always seemed to catch a lot of lobsters.

One night we met up at Nicholas Canyon, and Susan's car got locked in the lot. We were trying to figure out how we'd get her back to pick it up until we discovered a secret back road out of the lot.

After I got my boat, it spent a fair number of Saturday nights in the fall and early winter anchored on the outer edge of the kelp off Palos Verdes. I didn't like to leave the boat unattended at night, so I'd sit onboard watching for the beams of HID lights in the shallows while the boat rocked under the moon. When they got back, I'd end up buddying up with whoever wanted to go back out again -- more often than not, this being Susan.

One night, Susan, Maciek, Jon and I went out on the boat and anchored off Haggerty's for a bug run. After the three of them went in, a wall of fog rolled in from nowhere, and topside vis dropped suddenly to less than 50 feet. I had visions of them getting lost in the fog and unable to find the boat. Thankfully, an hour and a quarter later I could see the flash of HID lights in the distance. Getting back to the harbor was an interesting exercise in steering by compass and GPS.

If there was a party and sweets, chances are that Susan brought them. She put together homemade Norwegian krumkakes for my birthday party on one boat trip, and brought a cake for Phil's birthday on another.

As an instructor, she was very generous with her time to help with tweaks. I never took a class from her, but she was kind enough to meet me at Vet's a couple of times to practice drills or critique my frogkicking. She also enjoyed just diving for fun -- if I mentioned I was going to drive down to Laguna to dive Deadman's, she'd be there.

It's very painful to hear that Susan is gone. But she'll be a part of some of my most enjoyable diving memories.

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