It was a typical morning at the shop and we walked in, and went to the board to see where we were supposed to be for the morning. Four of us interns were assigned to the Kasandra, going to Sea Star Channel, to work on our mapping project. There are various skills we need to complete to become divemasters, one of which is mapping a dive site, and we were all assigned sea star channel. There were also customers on the boat so we were going to be dropped off to do our mapping, and then picked back up on the way back. Everything went according to plan, we mapped for roughly 45 minutes, and then came up to the surface to await the Kasandra's return. We could see her in the distance, out beyond the wall and she was obviously still on the mooring line waiting for customers. I really had to pee, and so figured that while we were waiting there on the surface, I could just take off all of my equipment, peel off my wetsuit, and have it all back on by the time we got picked up. My mistake was taking off my mask and having it hanging on my arm. If you ever take off your mask at the surface, there is one place for it and one place only. That is not on your forehead, but around your neck.  So there I was, sneakily putting everything back on when I realize I no longer have a mask. My amazing (and expensive) pink mask with my pink dry snorkel and shark slap strap had sunk to the bottom of Sea Star Channel.

The other interns knew what had happened, but none of us said anything, and so, in a sad state of panic, we told our instructors that we needed another dive to gather all of our mapping data. So we were allowed to go back out on a second dive. The Kasandra dropped us off, and then we would hitch a ride back on the Esperanza, which was out with snorkelers. Aaron and I went one way on a search and recovery mission, and Holly and Shiela went the other. After about half an hour, we met back up with Holly and Shiela, who pointed in desperation at their finless booties. I knew right away what must have happened: the two had decided to have a foot race and in the poor visibility, lost their fins. We spent roughly ten minutes searching for the two lost sets of fins, all the while Dimas was revving the boat's engine to inform us that they were leaving. We were finally forced to surface, now missing one mask and two sets of fins.

We returned in some weird humor to the shop for lunch, ate as quickly as we could, and then snuck off to tell Dimas what had happened, and to ask if he could take us back to Sea Star Channel. He agreed, and we confirmed with Edwen that we could leave.

There were five of us this time around, and so the channel being roughly 50 feet across, we figured we could line up side by side, ten feet apart, and sweep our way down the entire channel. Visibility was still crap and we could barely see each other, and ended up going in circles. Half and hour later and we had accomplished nothing. Shiela and Holly started having ear problems and so signaled that they were going up. The remaining three of us kept swimming around in what we thought was a methodical search pattern, but what was really probably just more circles. Yay navigation skills. At some point I swam up to Matt and he signaled at me to smile. I did and he pulled my missing mask out from behind his back. I was so excited that all I could do was hug him repeatedly. The three of us swam along a little farther until we heard Aaron screaming though his regulator. We hurried over to him and there were the two sets of missing fins, wedged into the sand.

We were in a bit of trouble when we got back. We had failed to ask the manager for permission to leave, and therefor she had no idea who was on the boat, and no idea that Matt was with us. Edwen was in trouble for letting us go out without her permission. But we were all just happy, no ecstatic, that we had recovered everything.