It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining, winds were light, and the surf was down on the south shore. The conditions were perfect to jump in the water to get some dinner.
My friend drove in from Kaneohe and decided to meet at a spot we’ve frequented in the past. We got to our destination and, as expected, there were a bunch of cars parked alongside the road. We walked to the water to check to see if the conditions were worth our time. Sure enough there were a bunch of people enjoying their day off swimming, barbequing, and just having a good ol’ time. The water looked refreshing and we predicted the visibility was good so we walked back to our cars to get suited up.
Floats and guns are laid out in the grass as we put on our wetsuits. I just run a wetsuit top because I like feeling one with the ocean. Booties and weight belt get situated prior to making sure my kui is in place. A dab of toothpaste is spread across the inside of my mask lense to help with fogging. Finally, I untangle my float line. It always seems to get tangled no matter how hard I try to keep it organized. Excited about what’s about to take place, I tuck my fins under my left arm as I hold my gun in one hand and my float in the other. Just as I’m about to walk over to my friend’s car he approaches me with a look of disappointment.
What could cause this face of sorrow? Diving is always one of the greatest joys in his life, but he doesn’t get the opportunity to get in the water as much as he’d like to due to running a small business and putting in long hours. He took the much-needed time off from work, got the approval of his wife, and drove all the way from Kaneohe. He should be elated.
Despair coursing through his eyes, he tells me that he brought all his gear, but forgot his fins.
“I forgot my…” These are the words no diver wants to hear from their dive partner. Heck, no one wants to even think these words to themself.
Long story short, we went back and forth about calling off the dive to him driving back to Kaneohe to get his fins. I decided to let him use one of my fins so we’d be in the water with just 1 fin each. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the best idea in terms of safety. We were only in the water for about an hour and were fortunate enough to shoot some kumu and grab a nice cowry. #1finskindiver
So how do you remember all of your gear? If you’re like me, you often do early morning dives and have to pack up all of your things when it’s still dark out. Darkness and grogginess are a sure recipe for forgetfulness. Let’s be honest, sometimes the odds can be stacked in our favor and we still forget something important.
I’ve heard of people creating a list and taping it to their door. Before they leave they check off all of their gear to be sure nothing is left behind. Not a bad idea.
One of my friends loads all of his gear into his car the night before. The morning of the dive he does a quick check where he stashes all of his gear to be sure he hasn’t left anything behind. Another great idea, but I live in Makiki and it’s never a good idea to leave anything of value in your vehicle. I purposely let my car look a little shabby so it doesn’t garner attention from would-be thieves.
Here’s what I do to remember all my gear:
I think of my body and I work from the bottom up.
Feet. Booties and fins.
Legs. Bottom half of wetsuit. I don’t do this because I only wear surfshorts.
Waist. Weight belt, kui, and knife.
Torso. Upper half of wetsuit.
Hands. Gloves and gun (or 3-prong).
Head. Snorkel, mask, and float.
I put my float in the head category because I relate my head with safety for some reason.
Connecting your gear to your body may be different. You might relate your knife to your legs or your arms because that’s where it rests on your body. The concept still works.
My idea might not work the best for you. Maybe one of the previously mentioned methods works better. Maybe none of these practices are ideal for your situation, and that’s okay too. Find something that does work.
I hope that you’re never faced with the heart-dropping situation where you have to tell your dive partner, “I forgot my...:”
Dive safe and may the odds be ever in your favor!