December, 31 2021

2021 Diver of the Year! Rob Robison


December kicked off with 10 days worth of isolation from having been exposed to COVID 19 over Thanksgiving weekend. Once out of isolation, bad weather canceled dives the weekends of the 11th and 18, and it looked like my dive streak of 6 years running was in jeopardy. So I called up fellow Neptune, Rob Foley, who was recovering from nasal surgery, to see if he was free Wednesday or Friday of Christmas week. He indicated he had Friday off and would be willing to divemaster for me.

   We met at Little Pond Beach in Morton Park at 9:00 AM this morning. Overcast skies were beginning to shed snow flurries in the 25°F winter air. An octogenarian passed by walking her toy dog asked me if I was going in. I replied in the affirmative, and she declared, "Go for it. It’s a beautiful day!” I couldn’t have agreed more. The water was like a mirror, it was so flat, calm, and clear. With some help from Rob F, I donned all my dry suit gear, lumbered down to the beach, and waded into the water. Beautiful! The flurries increased in ferocity, which added to the surreal moment. 

   I put on my fins, turned on the Sealife camera a\with dual 4500Lumens video cam lights, and submerged into the pond. Quickly locating the guideline, I followed it down to the circular and square concrete lids; then, angled over to the icons. Chilly Willy and the orange parking/traffic cone came into view 10’-15’ away at the 20’ depth mark. 

   Suddenly, I felt the 37°F pond water seeping in through the seal on the left wrist of my suit, all the way to my elbow. Drat and double drat! I had forgotten to ensure it was lying flat all the way around my wrist. Still, I snapped off a few photos of those iconic figurines, moved over to photograph the Alien, and finally found the photogenic US flag. 

   Feeling how soggy and cold my left forearm was becoming, it seemed like a good idea to head back to the surface before becoming totally soaked and chilled to the bone. Besides, the thought of steaming mugs of coffee and a great breakfast awaiting us at the 3A Café in North Plymouth was all the extra encouragement required to call the dive and find my way up and out of the pond. Rob Foley met me at the beach edge and helped remove all of the gear and stow it away in my car in record time. (It was still 25°F on dry land!) 

   I have now made at least one dive in New England waters (pond, quarry, ocean, or river) every single month of the year for six straight years, making me the oldest and most active year ‘round diver in the South Shore Neptunes Dive Club. As with any streak, one has to have had a lot of luck and help along the way. Special thanks to Rob Foley, a great dive buddy and breakfast companion, for helping keep the streak alive and making this Christmas just a little bit merrier.

   Safe living, Safe diving, Happy Holidays, and Enjoy a Joyous and Prosperous New Year, everyone!