Charles - san luis obispo, California
Entered on May 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Last July, plans were completed for a trip up to the north coast of California with a group of friends who all love to camp and abalone dive. We decided to go the first weekend in September to camp for the weekend near the small, coastal town of Gualala.

Once we arrived at the Gualala campground, we quickly set up our gear and ate breakfast. After we settled in, we decided to check out the ocean conditions and see if we could abalone dive for dinner. At the prospective dive spot, we couldn’t help but to take in the serenity of the coastline and all its surreal destructive power wrapped up in incredible beauty. The conditions on Friday were disappointing. An ocean storm produced formidable swells of ten plus feet and dense kelp too thick for a dive. A decision was made to dive the following day.

Saturday morning was energized by our enthusiasm to get in the water and dive. Driving to the diving spot, we were once more met with the sharp hostilities of an ocean storm hundreds of miles off shore; disappointment came upon our faces. With the inevitable fate that diving conditions were bad and dangerous; left us to decide diving next “time”. At this point, our perfectly planned trip was a partial disappointment, because we took for granted that we would get our abalone. The burning desire to dive, regardless of the conditions, is known to divers’ as an affliction or disorder called “Valley Fever” or “Sacramento Syndrome”. The urge to kick in and dive, regardless of the diving conditions, is commonly exhibited by divers from out of the area who will dive with little regard for their safety because they drove so far to get abalone. This type of reckless decision-making only contributes to the count of 23 divers that have died since 2004.

I believe in being patient. The process of taking a few minutes and analyze the situation at hand. Later that fall we went back to the coast for a day trip. The conditions were perfect. The ocean was glassy in the morning sun, allowing a relaxing sensation everyone to dive for abalone, with a. being patient and not diving that September day was disappointing but produced an unforgettable memory, that warm fall day. The ability to be patient is essential to me in my daily life especially when I am working on our ranch around livestock. I just wish I could be more patient when I meet a girl that I really like. For example and many can relate; when I like someone, I hope for something to materialize almost instantly from “my crush”. At times, I have rushed in too fast in attempt to woo her off her feet and land in my arms, but most of the times it has ended up her with her running the opposite direction. All because I was hit by the “Love Bug” and did not take the time to consider that the object of my affection would not return similar feelings. If patient and allow our comfort level to grow, the better chance I would have to enter the realm of being dateable. Patience, and taking the time to evaluate my situation, can prevent being hurt abalone diving, or help avoid heartbreak and rejection in life. Who knows, I might actually have a chance at love, all because I exercise patience and do not jump in headfirst without looking, as I did that day in September.