Merry Passage Makes Her 1,000th Dive

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on April 21, 2018 at 12:38:28:

It’s been a long and arduous journey but Merry Passage has reached dive #1,000.
Merry began diving late in life, getting certified shortly before her 57th Birthday. She didn’t know any local divers so her instructor told her about DiveVets, a local group who dived at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach on Wednesday nights and Marineland on Sunday mornings. It was at Marineland where we met. We began diving together when she had only forty dives. Soon I was forcing her to hike down trails in full gear, clamber over loose boulders just to get to the crashing surf and make a quarter mile surface swim before finally submerging. After swimming that same quarter mile underwater she had to reverse the effort and climb back uphill in wetter, heavier gear. I was the Worst. Dive. Buddy. Ever!

For reasons unknown she stuck with it…and me. Soon we were diving together every weekend. She gradually replaced the bulky useless gear she was sold during her Open Water class with more efficient gear. Once she was more streamlined in the water I had difficulty keeping up with her. We soon began making dives from our friends’ boats. For some strange reason Merry seemed to enjoy making a giant stride more than the hiking and swimming marathons I had put her through. After a few years of mooching rides we bought a boat together. Merry’s beach diving days dwindled down to a few road trips to Monterey and Morro Bay.

Merry retired in 2008 and soon took up underwater photography. Her determination to learn about photography and marine biology resulted in DiverMerry.com, the culmination of years of hard work and study.

Merry’s efforts have benefitted others as well. She has identified more than two dozen individual Giant Sea Bass from Hermosa Artificial Reef and rediscovered Thordisa rubescens, a nudibranch that had not been seen in decades and had only been found a handful of times before. We now find them with regularity, including mating pairs and lots of egg ribbons.
Thordisa rubescens.

When she found octopus nests next to a couple of wrecks she let everyone know about them. Several photographers were thrilled to get photos of something they had never seen.

Merry had five months to set up her website last year during a long recovery from toe surgery. It was an eternity out of the water for Merry and the beginning of the delays toward dive #1,000. For the first quarter of this year Merry has been dealing with her Mother’s passing and handling everything as the Trustee. We squeezed in a dive here and there between several weeks in Phoenix. It seemed that when we had time at home to dive either the waves were too big or we were fogged in. We finally got to make her Big 1K dive during our fifth annual trip to British Columbia.

I hope it doesn’t take another thirteen years before Merry makes it to #2,000. If it does, I hope they will be as enjoyable as most of the last thirteen have been.

Oliver Burke, Annie Ceschi, Merry Passage and Bill Weeks celebrate Merry's 1,000th dive

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