13 June 2012

Underwater Stalking: Pressure At One-Atmosphere

It's tourist season in Laguna Beach. Time to abandon the main beaches. Hordes of dowdy out-of-towners pick over the tide pools like hungry shorebirds hunting sandcrabs. Whole families of exotic foreigners congregate on the boardwalk in formal clothes watching the tanned beach-volleyball players. The rocky coves, inaccessible to our bloated visitors, are far less crowded at this time of year.

I met my chum Grant on a Saturday morning to go spearfishing. The sky was overcast as it usually is at this time of day. The sport is illegal in Laguna Beach at the moment, but we sneak in anyway, using a friend's beachfront home in a gated community as our launch site. (Fuck the hippies). So far, so good.

Grant broke up with his girlfriend a couple of weeks ago. He was drunk and called her on her chick-bullshit in an expletive-filled diatribe. She was a hottie, for sure, but it was a long time coming. His frustration with her had been building for several months, he explained, and now it came flooding out in a torrent of hot relief, like a virgin on his wedding night. Three days of angry phone calls, emails, and texting ensued. And now, peace.

On the rocky beach we put on Riffe camo wetsuits over our Quiksilver boardshorts. The water temperature was still in the high 50s, requiring at least a 3mm suit. Our guns lay beside us on the pebbles. Mine was a mid-handle teak Riffe. I favour the mid-handle model for its comfort and maneuverability, although it may be excessive for shallow reef dives. Grant's was a state-of-the-art Cressi Comanche 75cm.

He was mostly quiet. I could tell he was still bothered by what had gone down. I'm not here, I told him, to give advice on girls. So what can I say? Let's go kill some fish.

We waded into the surf. The shore break was heavy, making it difficult to stay upright. We put on our split fins, mask, and snorkel and then swam about sixty yards out where the new kelp beds broke through the surface. Visibility was about 10 to 15 feet. I could see large bat rays sweeping along the sandy flats. A school of sand bass moved away from us on our left. A constant surge swept the kelp back and forth. We hovered above the rocks seeking sheepshead and calico bass. We had decided on one fish each. After about 30 minutes Grant managed to spear a bass. I was content to leave empty-handed this time. It was getting cold, so we headed for shore.

"No sign of him today", said Grant, referring to the white shark he and some buddies had seen in these waters two months ago. "As big as a horse", was how they described it.

On the beach we peeled off the top half of our suit. It was getting a little warmer now. Grant put his fish in a plastic Albertson's bag. Just off shore we could see a pod of SCUBA divers moving across the cove like ridiculous turtles.

He smiled. "Okay, dude, let's go do some fish tacos and watch surf vids on my 40 inch."

"Sounds good to me".

We passed some tide pools and started climbing the hillside. I once found a small octopus stranded in one of these pools, squeezed in between some rocks.

"Why did you do it?", I asked him later.

He thought for a minute. "I just wanted to see if I could", he replied.

Within a few days of the break-up, he told me, he was fucking two local girls that he kept on the side for emergencies. In fact, throughout their relationship, he had a stash of other girls (including a hot escort whom we both know well) that he regularly tapped into as the needs arose. And arose they did, with a vengeance.


Ryu said...

Great article, LBF. I didnt' know you had seaweed forests in Laguna Beach.

JJ USA said...

"I'm not here, I told him, to give advice on girls. So what can I say? Let's go kill some fish."

Love it. Well said!

La Sombra Sofisticada said...


w. adam mandelbaum esq. said...

Maybe you could have killed two birds with one spear and taken his ex girlfriend shark fishing, while referring to her as "old chum" in a suggestive manner. I believe it is legal in California to use a speargun on an annoying ex girlfriend, as long as it is done in sufficient salt water to avoid soiling the beach. Either way, she probably wouldn't get the point.

danielj said...

(Fuck the hippies)

That's about all they're good for if they're sufficiently hygienic.

Anonymous said...

Terrific writing. Makes the average N Y'er short story look like a High School creative writing excercise. If you could concentrate on this kind of stuff instead of all that crazy political shit you'd be on to something.

Anonymous said...

LBF, you need to teaching writing to America. Your work is better than all the critically acclaimed crap.

It's amazing the types of people that walk around Laguna Beach shopping their way into debt. Granted, I used to be one while residing in Irvine, minus the debt.

King Lear said...

Haha love it! Great piece admiral.