Surface Interval

SCUBA diving is a complex endeavor. The human body was not designed to thrive under water for extended periods of time. Nitrogen presents one of the biggest risks – the pressures at depth drive nitrogen into the body (this is bad). To avoid decompression sickness (“the bends”), divers must ascend slowly – allowing time for the nitrogen to outgas from the body. There is also a necessary surface interval between dives – this is to make sure the body has time to release the extra nitrogen pushed into the cells while underwater.

For the past six months, i’ve been gone more than home – swimming in a virtual ocean of experiences. By design, i am home for five glorious weeks! A surface interval to give myself time to reflect on all that’s happened, all that’s planned, and to take care of doctors appointments, contractor visits, and general life maintenance!

The short version/travelogue:

February – Three weeks in Thailand! A SCUBA trip, spending one week living aboard a Junk diving in the Andaman Sea. We spent the second week on the island of Koh Lanta, and followed that with a week on our own in Chiang Mai. i love my Dive Tribe – people of all shapes, sizes, politics, and backgrounds chasing “experiences over things.” Saw my first Peacock Mantis Shrimp! Visited an Elephant Sanctuary. Learned to say “Two more beers, please” in yet another language.

March – Long weekend in South Dakota visiting my son and his family. Had to schedule around two blizzards, but we made it. Making the offer “we can watch the kids for a night if you guys want to go to a hotel…” and not being able to finish the sentence before they were packing overnight bags! They work hard (both working full time, going to school part time, taking care of two small children), and appreciated a night off. We enjoyed a night of chasing littles…

April – The Girl returned to work after her extended maternity leave. Studley and i spent the month living in Turkey, doing Gamma/Opie day care! Babies! They are A LOT of work! This one is exceptionally charming, but we were worn out in the evenings. Threw in a weekend out in the country (by train) to get our adventure fix, but it was mostly bottles, diapers, giggles, and naps!

May – Stopped in London for a weekend on our way home from Turkey, then turned around and headed to Alaska. Studley’s daughter, Pixie, earned a part in a local theatrical production. We decided to surprise her on opening night – and we did! Didn’t really think through the logistics of hiding in a fairly small Alaskan town for a day, but she had no idea we were there until she came out after the show was over – delivering a classic spit take when she saw her father standing in the lobby!

June – Just home after spending three weeks camping our way across the Maritime Provinces of Canada. We’ve had our little camper for almost two years, and it was time to put some miles on her! Five thousand miles, to be more specific. We saw bears, moose, whales, porcupines, and all manner of northern critters. Eaten by gigantic mosquitoes. Hiked some of the most gorgeous terrain i’ve ever seen. Made very few concrete plans, or campsite reservations, choosing instead to wing it most of the way. Added in a couple of visits with old friends and family members. We didn’t smell very good at the end of it all, but had a blast!

What’s next? i’m content to focus on getting my patio deck stained, complete some home renovation projects, and scratch my bits in my own space for a few weeks. The road has many lessons – and i’ve learned that one of my favorite places to go is home!

The Surface Interval. It is quite necessary…

20 thoughts on “Surface Interval

    • It WAS a big ‘un! Guessing about 40 lbs – the rest of the ones we saw were about half that size. It was quite an adventure! We continue to run hard, knowing that it won’t be possible at some future (hopefully distant future) point in life…

  1. AAAGggg you were in my ‘hood and I didn’t know!! Glad you liked your trip in the Maritimes, hello from the Halifax area…;)

    • The Maritimes are glorious! We will make a return trip – need to hop that ferry and visit Newfoundland, and we missed PEI this time… Only spent one day near Halifax (Laurie Provincial Park), with a day at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (Theodore Tug stole my heart!). We want to visit again – spending at least two or three days in Halifax! Probably not for a couple of years, but it’s on the ‘to do’ list!

    • Blood boil AND brain melt. Two years post-retirement, and i’ve almost recovered some of my mental faculties. By the way, it brings me some joy to see you in my box again. Comment box. COMMENT BOX!

  2. Fab that S managed to surprise his daughter like that. Without the element of surprise, I’m going to see my middle daughter tonight in her production of The Canterbury Tales.

    Enjoy your time back home. I’ve lived abroad and in internal exile for years, and to be on the train when it pulls into Lancaster releases a form of relaxation and homeliness that is difficult to put into words.

    • There’s magic in just seeing your kid do something challenging – Canterbury is hard work! Agree that the feeling of coming home is second to none…

  3. Wow! What a set of adventures! Sure there are loads more tales to tell within each one of those… think the one I’d most like to hear about is the ‘hiding for a day in a small Alaskan town’ one.. which has the feel of an indie-film or sit-com script right there! (admittedly this is possibly a Northern English perspective, influenced by the most famous episode of classic sitcom The Likely Lads, where they end up hiding in a church to avoid finding out the football scores- sure you could google if curious!)

    Oh and surface interval/coming home…. absolutely identify with all of that… been a little while since been back to the North East of England myself, starting to feel a pang for the sound of the seagulls as you come out of Central Station. Not a sound you hear anywhere else.

    • Juneau – not really that small, but the recreational dispensary is right across the street from Pixie’s office! We had to be sneaky on our way there and back! And when you show up at a small community theater event, in a church, and do not wish to be seen by cast members before the show? You end up hiding behind the seating area until the lights dim. The people at the ticket desk thought us strange – we couldn’t let them know we were unexpected family, because theater people can’t keep secrets! So we hid behind the bleachers, holding flowers, until it was time for the show to start – and then chose seats behind the two largest people we could find! She was surprised!

      For what it’s worth, we are planning to walk Hadrian’s Wall next year – and will likely spend a few days in and around Newcastle-Upon-Tyne when we’re done! Open to suggestions on where to go, what to see, dining/drinking!

    • Two years to the day since i retired. i need to get out more… πŸ˜‰ Good to see you, my dear! The ‘burgh is STILL on the list of places to hang out, and i will track you down to have a long awaited beer when i get there!

  4. “…Two more beers…” I did learn the Spanish version; dos cervezas on visits to Central and South America. Wow surprising someone in a small Alaskan town when you don’t live anywhere near, that is a challenge. You certainly manage get in lots of travel.

    • if i were to do a travel blog, i think i’d call it “Two More Beers, Please” – having our bartender in a tiny bar in Chiang Mai, Thailand work SO HARD to teach us how to say it in Thai was pretty entertaining. He was gracious, patient, and had the best laugh i’ve ever heard! The trip to Alaska was sort of winging it – we were able to book a flight from central Ohio at 6am, and be in Juneau by 1pm. Using up all those frequent flier miles we acquired while on the job… i traveled a lot on business, and other than gifting some miles to friends, i never used them. Now? i’m pretty happy that i squirreled them away.

  5. Hopefully at some point your future travels might bring you to Scotland, at which point it would be lovely to meet up.
    Authentic beer orders in the Britain vary depending on where you are.
    In certain parts of Southern England you might say to the bartender, “A pint of your very best ale, my good man, and another for my companion”
    While in certain parts of Scotland it might be, “gie’s 2 pints o’ heavy, pal…”

    • There’s a fairly good possibility that we’ll make it to Scotland within the next 5 years – and i’d love to lift a pint or two, and perhaps shadow you as you do a photo shoot! We’ll need a local guide to teach us the proper dialect for pulling those pints!

  6. Very cool, please come to Washington, the state, and we’ll provide beer and some ears to hear stories. I started a new job that keeps me moving about the country, and I am very happy with that arrangement. But for you and Studley, I’ll stay home for a day or two….we have room for RV parking too. πŸ™‚

    • The northwest will happen for sure – we just don’t know when! i shall track you down before we head that way! And if you end up in west central Ohio? ping me here (i’m terrible about checking the blog email these days) and i’d be happy to show you my little burg…

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