It was lobster season in Catalina Island, and our dive group was excited as we boarded what our dive operator boasted was a large, comfortable dive boat. We immediately noticed there were not enough areas for all divers on board to gear up, and tanks were crammed into a space between the galley and gangway. We later found out this “dive boat” was nothing more than a converted fishing boat. Here’s your sign.

My buddy and I were wedged with four other divers on the bow (forward) part of the boat, with nowhere to gear up. We stood up, leaning against each other on this chilly morning to don our drysuits, careful not to step onto the bags and gear of the other divers crammed on either side of us.  Seriously.

Then we saw him: a whiny, wiry guy parading about the boat in just his thong swimsuit, with his “banana hammock” on full display. Really? He was walking and talking loudly, showing off his speargun, of all things, to anyone who would pay attention. The trouble was that the gun was fully loaded, and he stumbled by us complaining that he needed to find his drysuit. Oh man.

As fate would have it, Thong Man started to put his drysuit on just two divers away from us. He propped his loaded speargun – spear aiming straight up – unsecured on the rail of the deck. We watched the gun sway back and forth slightly with the boat’s motion. Thong Man struggled with his dry suit, which was way too big for him, and next, he tied off a considerable lobster net to his weight belt, finally grabbing his speargun once he was ready to jump in the water.

By this time there was a line of scuba divers waiting for their turn to giant stride off the back of the boat. Our dive briefing was not much more than a mention of where we were – yes, we knew we were diving Catalina Island – and that we should surface when we “run out of air.” Yep, that’s correct. 

My buddy and I decided to let Thong Man and his speargun enter the water far ahead of us. Once underwater, we experienced an enjoyable kelp dive and managed to stay clear of all human hazards below the surface. This boat dive was the first and last time we would dive with this particular dive operator on Catalina Island, lobster season or not.

Only two divers in our group caught live lobsters. The only thing Thong Man caught was a cold.