AdriftThe Illustration: Original artwork entitled ‘Adrift’ by the artist “HD”. I’m grateful to the artist for permission to use Adrift and for our chats about the dangers and thrills of diving.
Sailor girl: The other day we awoke to find a small Bristol sloop anchored near our diving buoy in the cove below my house. There was no sign of activity aboard and after breakfast Cyndi and I suited up to swim with the dolphins and stopped by the sloop on the way to the buoy. No one answered our call so we boarded from the small dive platform off the stern. There were women’s things aboard, sports clothes, swim suits, lingerie, and a well stocked slit-kit containing; a partial pack of Yaz pills, the box and empty case for a recently fitted All-Flex (it was a new Rx filled by a Spanish Town pharmacy) that she must be using for flood insurance, a packet of Japanese super sheer condoms, silicone lube and medium absorbency tampons.
But there was no sign of the woman herself and no indication of anyone else being aboard. From the gear strewn on the aft deck; a buoyancy compensator, weight belt and fins it appeared she may have gone diving w/o all the all equipment necessary to handle the tricky mix of salt and fresh water since she had anchored over the aquifer outflow. There was no diver-down flag flying from the buoy, but she had arrived at night. A solo woman sailing at night in coastal waters of the islands takes strong nerves even with GPS navigating and depth sounding equipment with which the sloop was equipped so we thought she must be a competent sailor.
Diver down: we assumed the woman had gone diving so Cyndi and I buckled ourselves into our Ladyhawk BCs and scuba sets - FFMs and 130 HP steel tanks of Nitrox (because I planned to introduce Cyndi to Junior) – put the diver-down flag on the buoy and went into the water to search for sailor girl. It didn’t take long to find her. The water is very clear. All we had to do was look down. The bottom there is at 60 feet and is smooth rock of the lava tube kept scoured of marine growth by the current. It was hard to see her at first in black neoprene against the dark rock. She wasn’t moving and there were no bubbles. She could have been holding her breath to look closely at something on the wall which she floated close to, but then I saw the yellow mouthpiece of her reg was caught in a rock cleft and she was floating in the current tethered to the wall by the hose of her reg. Her 2nd stage getting caught in the wall was the only thing that had prevented her from being swept out to sea by the aquifer current.
I had Cyndi get a lift bag from the zodiac and tie the reel line to the dive platform of the sloop then follow me to the bottom where I was examining sailor girl. In the cold water she hadn’t been dead long enough for rigor mortis to start as her arms and legs were fluttering in the current. We looked her over. She was wearing a black neoprene tropical weight swim-skin, hood and mask, but no gloves, booties or fins. I was glad the crabs and fish hadn’t gotten started and there were only a few nibbles on her full lips still partially colored by bright red lipstick which also coated the mouthpiece of her reg. She had a pretty face and a figure that would delight her male admirers if the way she filled her swim-skin was any indication. But she was far past that now her body only good as food for the marine life in the cove if we didn’t recover it and report her death to the authorities. I was surprised her mask was not flooded. Her eyes were wide seemingly in a look of surprise and her mouth was open with tiny fish swimming in and out. I slipped a line from the lift bag under the shoulder straps of her tank, tied it off securely, pried the mouthpiece of her reg out of the wall fissure, hit the inflate button on the lift-bag cylinder and up we went.
Body aboard: With sailor girl on the surface I used the small winch to lift most of her weight as we guided her aboard and laid her on the deck. I turned her over on her side to get as much water out of her throat as possible and found she was draining huge black clots of blood. I was proud of Cyndi, she wasn’t squeamish about helping with the corpse, but of course she has been around Adolph and dead bodies before (almost always girls) and there was no odor of decay as yet so I was proud of how at 18 she handled the situation. We stripped off sailor girl’s expensive swim-skin which was Cyndi’s size and I checked sailor girl’s vagina to see what she had been wearing. As I suspected it was a 70 mm All-Flex, but she also had a tampon inserted with the strings tucked inside (so they didn’t wick sea water into her vagina) a trick professional escorts use to prevent liquefied semen from staining tight clothing if they have to be out and about before the last of a clients ejaculate drains out. Having no need for either I put the All-Flex and tampon back inside her, then radioed the local constabulary. While we waited we looked, but sailor girl seemed to have no ID, driver’s license, credit cards, boat rental papers (I’d recognized the sloop as a rental from Spanish Town) or anything with her name on it to tell us who she was
As a well known friend of the Duchess, who is a full time resident on Virgin Gorda, I had no problem explaining how we found sailor girl and asked that we be told what her cause of death was. The police seemed more interested in trying to find drugs (which they didn’t) than dealing with yet another diving fatality, but they did take the body away and returned the rental boat to the marina at Spanish Town. No one asked about her missing wetsuit though from the lividity marks on the body it was obvious she had been wearing one when she died. My guess, from the blood in her throat is that she had a rare pulmonary aneurism which burst from the water pressure, but who she was, what caused her to come here and dive in the first place w/o her BC and fins is a puzzlement.