1 Swept out to Sea

Standing near the edge of his boat that was gently rocking with the waves, Greg Hartley made the final adjustments to his scuba gear. Satisfied all his equipment was just right, he stepped off into the frigid waters of Queen Charlotte Strait. Queen Charlotte Strait is a long deep channel of water that runs between the northern part of Vancouver Island and Canada. Gregs co-workers on the boat watched his trail of air bubbles for a few moments before they resumed working on other duties.

With a series of kicks with his flippers and a sweep of his hands, Greg propelled himself to the bottom of the strait. The amount of life he saw during these dives never ceased to amaze him. Through his mask he saw red rockfish, green ling cod, multitudes of starfish, crabs and eels. On the floor of the strait he was looking for sea urchins.

Swept out to Sea 2

Whenever he would see one, he would grab the spiny little creature in his hand and then drop it in a bag made out of netting tied to his belt. Sea urchins were a favorite food of sea otters. Many people considered them a delicacy also, and Greg made his living by diving for them.

Once His dive went well and bag was bulging with the red and sometimes purple little urchins. He checked his watch, it was time to surface. Upwards he swam, when he broke the surface, he did a 360 degree turn looking for the boat. It was nowhere in sight. Slowly it dawned on him that the tidal current had swept him along while he was diving and now his boat was nowhere near. The current moving as fast as a man might jog had been carrying him out to sea. What a fool he had been for diving when the tide was rushing out!

He must do everything possible to stay afloat until someone spotted him. He knew he couldnt swim long with the heavy equipment so he undid the latches and the belt and let his expensive equipment slip from him and sink into the depths. After treading water for what seemed a long time he saw a log and swam to it. He pulled himself up and straddled it like a horse. The log would keep him floating but he wasnt out of danger for the relentless current was still carrying him out to sea.

The hours passed and the sun dipped beneath the horizon. By the light of the moon and the stars overhead, Greg could barely see the faint outlines of the waves as they washed up against the log.