Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dr. No and the Sunken Sunglasses (or Where There's a Will, There's a Way)

The other day, while loitering at Edgewater, MD's famous Londontown Marina, I witnessed an amusing spectacle. One of the slip holders, a skipper we refer to as "Dr. No," was anxiously pacing his deck, and peering down at the murky waters of Glebe Bay.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I lost my $500 sunglasses over the side a minute ago. They just flew off my head and went in over there somewhere," he explained, looking hapless and pointing to a spot in the murk just to the left of where he was standing.

While Dr. No despaired over his glasses, Rosie, his fair (and incredibly tolerant) love interest, voiced her desire to "wrap up" for the day. The couple had just returned from a pleasant day sail on the lovely Chesapeake Bay, and Rosie, not being much for the great outdoors, was ready to head back to civilization and spend a quiet evening with the good doctor.

Little did she realize Dr. No does not give up that easily.

"Rosie! Hand me the net with the telescoping handle!" he ordered. "I bet if I drag it along the bottom I'll be able to scoop them up in no time."

"Do you think they sank right away, or could the current have carried them off?" I asked.

"Hmm. Good point. I hope not. Let's give it a try," he said, and dipped the net in as far as it would go. Sadly the handle was not long enough, and the net didn't reach the bottom.

"Damn it! I'm going to have to jump in," Dr. No proclaimed.

"Mike, this is foolish. I'll just buy you a new pair!" said Rosie, growing more impatient by the minute.

Dr. No, ignoring his gentle companion, began to strip down to his shorts. I turned away for a moment, and heard a splash as he went over the side.

"Oh! It's cold! And I can't reach the bottom," he sputtered, arms flailing as he attempted to tread water.

"Well, yeah. Your boat draws almost seven feet, so I assume the depth is somewhere around eight or nine..." I offered by way of explanation. Rosie and I exchanged a look.

"Good point. Maybe if I use the net now, I'll be able to get them...Rosie! Hand me the net again!"

Rosie, looking downright perturbed at this point, thrust the net over the side.

Dr. No began methodically dragging it back and forth across the bottom. Scrosh, scrosh, scrosh went the net, coming up empty each time.

Just then I noticed a sinister looking disturbance on the water, indicating a school of fish being pursued (and eaten) by a much larger fish, or fishes. The school was heading right for the fearless doctor, but he was so intent on his netting that he had no idea.

"Uh, Mike? There seems to be some activity coming your way," I warned.

Just as he turned to look, a large fin cut through the surface, sending smaller fish skittering in all directions with much flipping and splashing.

"What?! Oh shit!" he cried.

"Really Mike, this is insanity! Can we just go home now?" Rosie pleaded.

"No, no, not yet! I'm going to try to dive for them," Dr. No insisted. "Keep an eye on that activity for me, will you?" he said to me.

He flung the net back on board, raised his arms over his head and took a big gulp of air before submerging. A few seconds later he bobbed back up empty handed. The school of fish were moving away, but a quick look at Rosie's face was proof positive that Dr. No was far from safe.

Undaunted by Rosie's scowl, Dr. No continued to dive for the glasses, coming up at least three more times with nothing.

"Mike! Can we please give up this nonsense, and go home!" Rosie demanded.

"Hold on...just one more try, and then I promise we can leave," he said with conviction.

Dr. No took a big swallow of air, pumped his arms and legs to propell himself out of the water, and dove with all his might for the muddy bottom. He stayed down for awhile. Rosie and I exchanged looks of concern. Suddenly our hero shot to the surface with a triumphant grin...but no sunglasses.

"I touched them! I touched them! I know where they are!" he shouted with glee. "Come on, Rosie. This time I know I'll get them."

Rosie, recognizing the futility of arguing when he was this close to victory, resigned herself for the inevitable.

Once again Dr. No took a lungful of air and dove for the bottom. He emerged moments later with a big grin, clutching his sunglasses.

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