Let's Take A Dip
Location: Kingston, Jamaica, Earth
Timeline: A Few Days After Returning To Earth
Dante had never been to Jamaica before. He had a preconceived notion of a beautiful, tropical paradise as he was on his way there. Now that he'd arrived he was absolutely blown away. He'd spent a few weeks on Risa before, and honestly, nothing he'd seen there held a candle to this. He was sitting at a small beach side café, dressed in a pair of board shorts, some flip-flop sandals, and a dark Hawaiian style shirt that he'd not bothered to button. In his hand was a small glass, and the smells of mint and rum were wafting up from the blended icy drink as he held it. Claire was probably about to arrive, and he was definitely looking forward to their planned day, so he had a large smile on his face.
Looking up he was happy to see that she was indeed walking into the café, dressed in a simple, but stunning outfit. Standing up he pulled out her chair and smiled. "Hi there, how is your day going?", he asked as she sat.
Claire gave a wave as she spotted him. She’d donned her usual beach attire. A practical bikini set, her braided flip-flop style sandals, and a green flowy sundress. She’d thrown a small pack over her shoulder with her towel, sunscreen, communicator, and wetsuit inside. “My day has been spectacular!” she said with a bright smile, as she set the bag down and settled into a seat across from him. After what we’ve been through lately, this is exactly what I need.”
"I have to agree. It's nice being able to just sit down for a little while and enjoy life without having to worry about what's going to happen next.", Dante replied. "Can I get you something to drink, or anything to eat?", he asked, wanting to make sure she was comfortable.
"Yes, please! I think a pina colada would do nicely. As for food...," Claire tilted her head in thought but didn't really come up with anything. Sometimes it was nice to just go with the flow. "I'm not sure. Surprise me."
"I'll be right back then.", Dante replied, and made his way to the small bar on the other side of the room.
A few minutes later he came back with her drink, and a tray with a few plates. On one of them were some very large oysters and lemon wedges, on another were some of the prettiest, perfectly pink shrimp that gave off a lovely spicy sweet smell, and on the last was what looked like some sort of lightly fried hand-pies that smelled of spices and meat, and were already making Dante's mouth water.
"I figured I'd get an assortment. We can try it all and see what we like.", he said, setting the tray down in the middle of the table.
"That's an excellent idea," Claire said, as she helped herself to one of the shrimp. It tasted as good as it looked. "You know, every once in a while, I wonder why I decided to live inside a spaceship and not on some tropical beach like this."
"A lot less adventure to be had on an island.", Dante replied, smiling and then taking a bit of one of the meat pies. "Besides, if you live on a spaceship you can visit places like this on more than one planet.", he added, nodding knowingly.
"A fair point," she said with a nod, as she sipped her drink. "And I suppose it could get boring. This is a beautiful view. But if it was the only view, it'd get old. Seeing 1000 such views...now that's a different story." She looked out at the water. "Honestly though, I'm excited to get a closer look."
"I'm ready whenever you are. I lined up a glass bottom boat to take us out to the reef so we can go for a swim. I didn't know if you knew how to scuba dive so I just set us up for snorkeling. I hope that's okay.", Dante replied.
"Definitely! I brought some gear just in case we decided to go swimming," Claire said with a smile. "As long as you won't think I'm weird for bringing my tricorder. I made some modifications for use underwater and I want to do some field testing of it."
Dante chuckled, "I don't mind at all. Might actually be interesting to watch. I just hope you got it sufficiently waterproofed. I'd hate to end this afternoon with a trip to sickbay.", he quipped.
"Don't worry, it's water proofed. I won't be electrocuting us," Claire laughed as she finished her plate. "The real question is if I've modified the scanner to actually make sense of things while under water. Its used to atmospheric thickness or less. Water is much denser."
"That makes sense.", Dante replied. Then, taking a last sip of his drink and one last bite of his food he stood up. "How about we go ahead and head out then?", he asked, nodding his head to the docks not too far away where their boat was waiting.
Claire gestured with her hand as she stood. "Lead on, sir. The sea awaits."
It took almost twenty minutes to get boarded, hear the captain's safety speech, and make their way out to the reef. Another five of him teaching them how to properly use the automated scuba helmet and rebreather aparatus, and then, finally they'd been allowed to get in the water.
Dante had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. The water was a brilliant blue. Like something out of a movie. And below him, in all the brilliant colours of the rainbow, were the coral, and the fish who lived amongst them.
Swimming amongst them was like being in some sort of dream. The water made sounds totally different, and it even gave his vision a sort of shimmer. Glancing over at Claire he grinned broadly, and hoped she was having as good a time as he was.
Claire was beaming around her snorkel. She excitedly pointed toward a particualrly large creature off in the distance. As it swam slowly closer, it became evident that they were being approached by a massive whale shark. The large creature was slowly pursuing a dense pocket of tiny fish. Claire pulled out her tricorder and eagerly aimed the receiver toward the creature. She wasn't about to pass up a test scan of the largest fish species on the planet.
Dante watched as the majestic creature swam slowly towards them, and he watched as Claire pulled out her recently modified tricorder and began to take readings. It was awesome to watch her do something she was so passionate about, and he just hung there in the water, letting his air out slowly so he wouldn't need to surface as fast, and enjoyed the sight of the massive creature and its accompanying remora as they swam along in the warm water and scooped up massive amounts of water and small feed shrimp.
Claire looked at her tricorder. It seemed to be functioning moderately well. It’d need tweaks but it was doing fine. She pocketed it before gesturing for Dante to follow as she led him past a massive piece of brain coral and toward a deeper ravine. She paddled lightly, trying her best to not disturb the many brilliantly colored fish that crowded around them.
Nodding to Claire to go ahead Dante followed just behind her. He was amazed at the variety of life, the colors, the serenity of it all. As he passed over one particular outcropping he even saw an octopus as it moved along through the coral in search of food. It seemed that Claire had a certain destination in mind, and he was curious as to where they were going. So far as he could see it was just a deeper area, but maybe she'd caught something on her tricorder. He figured he'd find out in the end and just enjoyed allowing himself to be in the moment.
She came to a stop above the crevice and waited for Dante to catch up. As he approached, she tied off the sensor pod on a small line reel that she had on her belt, lowering it into the dark ravine and out of sight. She then pointed, before pushing a command on her tricorder. Below, the small sensor pod lit up slowly, casting a reddish hue throughout the ravine. Along the surface, small crustaceans were crawling and a large manta ray swooped slowly along the bottom. A crab visibly skittered past. Claire was completely entertained by the little scene, watching each of the creatures move about.
As Dante watched the light brighten the shadowy area ahead of them he nearly gasped. Sharks had always been his favorite sea creatures, but rays came a very close second, and manta rays were absolutely breathtaking. He watched it swoop and glide through the water, its wingspan longer than he was tall, and smiled at the chance to get to see this. He'd often wondered if he should have gone into marine biology, but then he thought about how doing this sort of stuff as work might take some of the fun out of just experiencing it.
As the ray swam off into the distance, too far to be easily seen anymore he turned to Claire to see what her next move would be. He'd set this up to allow her to experience things as she wanted, he wanted the day to mostly be about her, and her enjoying herself, so he wasn't going to push in any particular direction.
Claire waited until she couldn't see the creature before she turned to face Dante. Catching his attention, she gestured upward to the surface, slowly making her way up. Once she surfaced she freed her mouth and waited for him to come up as well. Her excitement waited only about a minute after that. "This is incredible!" she said, louder than she meant to as the water left her ears. "It's amazing to be out this far. I've only been near the shore before."
Dante broke the surface and pulled his own breather off, wiping his face with his free hand. "It is amazing. I have only been out like this a few times. It's always a fun experience. I've never been to Jamaica though, my dives were always in places like Australia, or Fiji.", He replied.
"I've gotta let myself do things like this more often. I'm not always adventurous in this sort of way, at least not in the water," Claire said as she continued to tread water.
"Well, I'm always up for this sort of thing, so anytime you wanna go and don't have anyone to tag along I'd be happy to.", Dante replied with a smile as they bobbed next to each other in the water.
Claire looked back at the boat and then turned looking just a bit farther away. "Shall we go a little farther before we head back?"
"No reason to stop now, unless you want to.", Dante said, waving his hand out towards the expanse of water before them. "Today, this is our playground.", he added with a broad smile.