Number One in my heart, and now Number One in my logbook

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on July 06, 2014 at 18:04:11:

I've had a lot of dive buddies over the years. My late wife Marilyn and I were certified together and made 626 dives together. Before I met Merry at Marineland in 2006 there was no other buddy within 500 dives of Marilyn. This morning, Merry become my Number One dive buddy, making our 627th dive together.

Merry had forty dives when we met. She had lots of overpriced equipment hawked on her by her instructor and was still a bit raw, but was willing to brave the rocks and waves at Marineland to dive with me. She is now comfortable enough to dive solo several miles offshore, getting photos that have long since surpassed the quality of my own.

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Marineland Merry, 2006

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Scientist Merry collecting samples

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The good old Marineland days

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Whale Watch Merry discussing marine mammals with John Olguin

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Mola Mola Merry

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Kicking Back Merry

We made dive number 626 at Golf Ball Reef. I checked out the "shipwreck" I found last week. It's an iron hull that barely breaks the sand with fiberglass extending from its ribs.

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Kevin had a Giant Sea Bass swim by him, while Merry had the thrill of a visitor from the south. A lone barrracuda, larger and thicker than the slender California barracuda swam by, soon followed by a school of California barracuda. I found a rock.

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Felimare californiensis, formerly known as Hypselodoris californiensis was last found on the mainland in 1980. It had only been found at Catalina and Santa Cruz Islands until Mary Goldman found one near Haggerty's off Palos Verdes on January 15, 2014. We made our second dive in the area only to find heavy surge, poor visibility and little interesting life. Forty-five minutes into the dive, Kevin Lee spotted two Felimares on a gray sponge. I was very happy that Merry's record breaking dive was not the dud it was turning out to be.

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My hope is that by the time I make dive number 1000 with Merry I can get a photo that rivals some of hers.

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