Getting ready for an Abalone dive, as told by Roger Rude.

Layered sky above, swaying life below. With the surge from each passing wave, all things not fixed move first to and then fro.

Getting ready for a dive by Roger Rude

Feet up, head down, two kicks and I begin my flight to the bottom in a state of totally alert relaxation.

I glide through the columns of kelp, over rippling sea grass in a crevice, I descend. Around me a menagerie of colorful life forms, fish cleverly camouflaged seem to appear magically. I pass through a silvery wall of small fish as they part around me.

Abalone diver in kelp by Ken Bailey (Small)

To the task at hand - a quest - light on I peer in cracks and holes, illuminating the mysteries they conceal. In the back of one cave an Abalone clings to the ceiling, a large one worth measuring. As it senses my presence it clamps down on its rock perch.

I slide the ten inch gauge around it, feeling the surge of water from a wave above press me into the hole as I measure the shell - just shy of the mark. Nine and seven/eighths of an inch spell reprieve for this Abalone. I'll leave him for another year.

Forty-five seconds have passed and my body reminds me I'm terrestrial; it is time to return for air. As I fly upwards I look at that layered sky above, under the undulating reflective surface of the sea, pressures change, efforts cease as I cross the buoyancy barrier and float to the surface.

As I draw my first breath, I can feel the surge of oxygen infusing every cell in my body. Resting there, I'm in a meditative state, eyes watching the world below, my soul being rejuvenated. I am where I should be, where I need to be.  By Roger Rude.

Roger Rude with a 10.05 Abalone by Jack Likins (Large)

Here is a photo of Roger on a day that he did find a ten inch Abalone - this one measured 10.05 inches, a trophy Abalone.

Thanks to Ken Bailey for the underwater photo - to see much more of Ken's wonderful underwater photography, here is his website:

Thanks to Jack Likins for the photo of Roger. And a big thank you to Roger for the photo of the early morning ocean and for this beautiful essay.

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