POINT DEFIANCE, Washington Instructors Jackie and Gianne have coaxed the aquaphobe's face into the water at Dive for the Cure (DFC). After a few false starts, we begin the descent.
Jackie pushes her mask close to the beginner's, her baby blues a steady sea-anchor. She sinks downward, clasping both Michelle's hands. Her bubbles quicksilver over the student.
Caravaggio. That's who should have painted this chiaroscuro scene, shot full of light and the emotions of strong women.
The current steals dive flags and unmoors buoys. Jackie and I give chase, losing the others. But we collect a lot of debris, including the mask Michelle knocked off. Then we pop back to the surface and dump the trash. "Want to head in or down?" my friend asks.
Back on shore, DFC organizer Cindy Ross raffles off some sweet gear and boat excursions, one of which Michelle wins. "There's your message from the universe," someone jokes.
Another cheers, "we're gonna turn that big chicken into a big fish!"
Michelle interjects, "I would like to thank the ladies who helped me."
"Ladies?" Jackie riffs back. "Did you mean the human lead weight pulling you down? That would be my bottom."
The 2008 Dive for the Cure will shift to warmer months. Please contact Cindy Ross to get involved, as a sponsor or team. And you really should, because certifying is fab but certifying for a good cause is sick, sick cool.