• Books,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Writing

    Preparation

    To make ready beforehand. Preparation. The word has a Latin etymology, and of course, an Old French ending. Perhaps the origin of a word doesn’t matter much, but we take in words with so much invisible baggage we aren’t aware of how we judge our hodge-podge language. Judging only by the word’s origin, we attribute the sound of it to be more florid, fancy, a bit more high-falutin’. But “preparation” isn’t a fancy thing, quite the opposite. Preparation is working in the dirt, long, late hours, years of toil. So perhaps we should shorten preparation to “prep work,” as this has Dutch and German origins, and sounds more populist because of it.…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Travel,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Afterword

    It’s been a week now, since twenty people stayed awake for more than 24 hours, drove over 1000 miles, and dove in all five Great Lakes. We followed the hydrology of the lakes, echoing the natural flow of freshwater, but also mindful not to encourage the spread of invasive species that threaten the balance in the lakes. Thanks to Meaghan, I bought myself a glass water bottle, in the hopes I don’t have to buy another plastic one ever again. Sunday morning, after the dive, I walked around Olcott, NY, a cute town that seemed like a charming place to station oneself and go wine-tasting or visit Niagara Falls. I…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Travel,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Dive 5!

    The sun set for the second time on our adventure. We were in New York, driving in our two-van caravan, hoping we were going in the right direction. We had an address and a GPS, and we drove the 250 miles, ending up in a chain of small towns, each smaller than the last, until we finally saw the sign for Olcott. At least there was finally a sign for the town the hosted our last dive. So we drive to the even smaller town of Olcott, and we park at the beach, and we see no one. Calls are made, and we get back into the vehicles, driving around…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Dive 3

    The sun was rising. Dawn came as we pulled into the parking lot of 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, site of dive 3. This time as we pulled our caravan into the parking lot, there were other people out. This particular wreck, the Joseph S Fay, I had written about a month ago in preparation for this adventure. Kyle and I had already scuba-ed this site earlier in the week, and we knew it was the longest surface swim. I had struggled with my surface swim on the previous wreck, tired from the searching we had done trying to locate the buoy the connected to the site. But this time, I spotted…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Travel,  Writing

    Big 5 Dive: Dive 2

    It was not quite three o’clock in the morning when we arrived at the Headlands Dark Sky Park. I had gushed about this place not long ago, imagining this moment. Our caravan drove down snaking roads, narrowly avoiding some of the Dark Sky Park attendees walking back up to where they had to park their cars. Kyle and I were still in our wetsuits from the first dive. The tarping of the van had seemed like a smart idea, and now that we were in practice, tarps had been nothing short of genius. Both of us kept our feet up on the large blue plastic tub that had become the de…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Big5Dive: Dive 1

    The Big 5 Dive had 15 divers: 14 women of varying dive experiences and ages, and one man who filmed it all.   So how did it go? On PADI Women’s Dive Day, July 16th, I sat on the shores of Lake Superior with Kyle, kitted up and waiting for midnight to hit. Dive 1 was about to get underway. Earlier in the evening, the divers, the production crew, and assorted helpers had caravaned out from Alpena to get some pastis in Mackinac, hit the Mackinac bridge that officially put us in the Upper Peninsula (the UP), and arrived at Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum, all in preparation for Dive 1.…

  • Adventure,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Big Five Dive Eve

    Just a few more hours until we head up to Lake Superior for our first dive for Big Five Dive! The Stuff The vans are packed to the gills with dive gear and photography gear (separate, of course, not everything is rated for 100 meters underwater). Steve Plowman of Plowman’s Collision has lent us the vans, and we intend to return them in just as good of a shape as when he sent us off with them. We bought six tarps to make sure.     We’ll be snacking on all of those glorious chips from Bettermade. I. Can’t. Wait.   Jessica is making homemade peanut butter oatmeal energy snacks.…

  • Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  politics,  Travel,  Writing

    Plastics

    One more day until the Big Five Dive! 5 Great Lakes, 24 hours. Part of this is for PADI Women’s Dive Day, part to raise awareness for the ecological impact on the lakes, and part because this is an amazing mission. Yesterday we talked PADI Women’s Dive Day, so now let’s talk about the Great Lakes, ’cause they don’t call ’em great for nothing. The Great Lakes have over 20% of the world’s freshwater. I have to tell you, after my other diving experiences, diving here seems like a weird kind of miracle to not be spitting out salt when I surface. But like all good things, a person has to…

  • Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Women’s Dive Day

    Part of the impetus of Big 5 Dive was participating in PADI Women’s Dive Day, which is July 16th. Originally cooked up by three of the fourteen participating divers, Stephanie Gandulla, a maritime archaeologist, Jacque Edwards, a graphic designer, and Meaghan Gass, a Great Lakes Educator, the three dive buddies thought “BigFiveDive would be the perfect feat to attempt,” according to Stephanie. So who is PADI and why do we care what she thinks of anything? PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and certifies divers around the world from the basic Open Water class to Diver Propulsion Vehicle Diver. So you know, all levels. 2015 was the first…

  • Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Travel,  Writing

    Night Dive

    Last night Kyle and I went for our first night dive with our certification instructor, Steve. We showed up early to Lake Avalon to get comfortable in the water (and figuring out how to move in a 7 mm wetsuit). I have never worn a suit that thick in my life. Due to the style of the top portion, this meant I was actually wearing 14 mm of neoprene on the top half of my body. That is some extra buoyancy, let me tell you.   Kyle and I tooled around Lake Avalon during the day, just to get our gear figured out, our weights figured out. I’m still figuring the…

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