Tobermory

A short scene written for Fiction 426. This is the rough draft, hoping to clean it up by Wednesday and then I’ll update it here or in a new post:

Tobermory. She tastes it on her tongue. Exotic, it drips like mango down her throat. Nearly everyone else has been here before, out of the twenty odd divers she is standing with at Parks Canada’s office in the Georgian Bay. Sounds exotic, but really it’s Southern Ontario. And yet, the divers speak of it like a place of legend. Mecca. The one Canadian dive site to make it into those “50 Places to Dive Before You Die” books. They are handed numbered discs that say FATHOM FIVE, the name of the park, blue plastic dog tags, so that non-existent inspectors can look them up in disused databases if they want. They are told to wear it on their person at all times when diving. Later on, she will tie-wrap it to her BCD.

She wanders through the Welcome Center’s museum, where they keep corn under pressure, still edible (at least for fish), from the wreck of the Arabia. Later, Serge tells her that this is how researchers found the wreck in the 80s – following fish with corn in their bellies. Before that, diving operations would drag their anchors along the bottom until they hit the boat. Damaging it with the ‘I-wants’ of the tourists. Unthinkable by today’s standards. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles.

She thinks that’s sort of disrespectful, seeing that Lake Huron is called the Ship’s Graveyard because of the sheer number of wrecks. But then again, hanging unseen and all undiscovered in the Crow’s Nest restaurant is a picture of Serge and his buddies, a letter on each asscheek: TO-BE-RM-OR-Y!, the year. There’s a balance to be struck here.

The next morning, they board the Lark at eight. She has never been seasick before. She is now.  Stare at the horizon, keep your face in the wind, drink diet cola, it has aspartame. She rehearses what she will say after she rinses her mouth. They tell her the fish will love her. She will say I puked twice on Lake Huron, but Lake Huron didn’t puke on me. You tell me who wins. Lame, but it breaks the tension.

There are no waves and no horizon under the water. The only way out is in. The best cure for seasickness is scuba diving, especially when you are in Tobermory to dive in the first place.

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