Jeff's Journal: Great dives, Challenging viz, and Jayden's refusal to apologize...

Despite a dreary overcast sky yesterday we climbed aboard the boat for Family Dive Day! Jayce needs to do Navigation and complete her Advanced Certification before heading to Sea Camp. Our first dive site was Ben's barge just 3 miles offshore and 28 feet of depth with the water temperature being a lovely 85° on the bottom. 

I dropped the anchor about 30 feet away from the medium sized wreck. Being that the outgoing current was increasing and we could only see about 7 feet, a little navigation was required to find the site (perfect). So I clipped my finger reel to the anchor chain and off we went. About 20 feet out I spotted a couple Sheepshead which usually forage very close to the hiding spot (ie: the wreck). Then our party of six was totally engulfed in a massive school of bright silver Snook that barely parted for us. It was instantly surreal which is always cool! "Every one of these fish look like they're perfect slot size," I thought to myself. Then I almost head butted a 400 pound Goliath grouper. I love adrenaline rushes!  

There were actually several of them and they looked irritated and agitated that we were there, but they just slowly turned and swam away. Sweet, time to do a head count: 1 2 3 4... no 5. Slower more intent head count, where is that 5th diver?  1, 2, 3, 4... looking up, looking down and all around where is #5? WHO is #5?  Aubree, Jake, Rich, Jayce...

Jayden!  My thirteen year old was M.I.A.  Slightly unsettling but not nerve-racking to me, I'd like to think he received good training and knew what to do. So I hand the reel to Rich and signal the four "good" divers to huddle up and stay together while I go wrangle in Jayden. Jessi spotted his bubbles about 15 feet into the now significant current. I finally catch up to his bubbles, quickly deflate and swim downward. One set of bubbles come up, where's his next exhale?  Was that it way over there into the current?? I lost him. Then I got an ear squeeze and the anger set in. 

Back at the surface I'm yelling and cussing about him not following simple dive protocol (separated divers should search underwater for no more than one minute then ascend). Jessi re-spotted his bubbles well up current from me, and of course moving further away. Damn, I'm really not in the mood for this impromptu work out!  At least he's swimming into the current (trying to muster something positive out of this situation). 

His exhales were coming up at least 10 feet away from the previous bubble burst. Swimming swiftly down and into the current thinking this is like real life connect the dots, finally he's in sight below me. What is he doing?  Nothing but swimming, picking up shells and sticking his hands in the sand. Like a pig in slop he was content and happy. 

I startled him when I grabbed him, but really scared him when he looked into my mask and saw my scowl. I think I started yelling through my regulator before we actually got to the surface. I was using words that I try really really hard not to use directed at anyone, let alone my child. I sent him back to the boat and located the good four's bubbles. 

After my 10 minute plus absence, Rich decides to reel the group back to the anchor so they were on the move too as I started down. Much slower and less challenging though, we were quickly reunited and set off for the barge again!  My blood pressure immediately returned to normal when I spotted and played with the beautiful blue decorator crab. 

On my slow ascent I started thinking about the Jayden situation and I was disappointed with myself over losing my cool with him. Yes he made a bad choice and violated a rule but my anger didn't teach him anything in that moment. I will take him to the bow when I get back on the boat and we will talk this through, was my decision. 

So we did. I told him about the increased risk of diving by yourself. It's different when it's planned and anticipated by everyone. I made sure to make him think about how his actions impacted everybody else in the group. Four divers missed 15 minutes on the dive site and I exhausted myself. He needs to feel a little bit of remorse for that. 

"So those are all the reasons you shouldn't do what you did son." "Yep" was his reply. Now at no point had he offered even one smidgen of an apology during this whole episode, I thought to myself. So we locked eyes and I said, "RIGHT?" 
"Right dad."
Hmmm, "GOT IT??" 
"Got it dad," his eyes never leaving mine.
"I'm kind of looking for you to apologize son." 
"Dad I can't apologize, it was SO AWESOME!"

I knew exactly how he felt and I left it at that.


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