Diving with the Dude
By Kevin Juergensen ( The Dude)
My Latest Dive with McKenney PartII
After our return from Fiji, I was quite busy counting all my money from the
treasure I had found and depositing it in my Swiss Bank account. I came
home to my 200 acre estate in Bel Air to relax from the rigors of counting
As I was sipping a pink lemonaide in my Versace lawn chairs, I noticed my
friend McKenney was mumbling as he mowed my 140 acre lawn with the manual
mower (I don't believe in polluting the environment with hydrocarbons, and
gas is sooo expensive these days).
As he passed by me, I could tell he must have been angry at the garden
pests he encountered, because he looked at me, and I could hear him mumble
"Fuckin' lousy worm. Stinkin' lousy worm"... over and over.
I decided then and there that I needed to take my friend on another dive
To that end, he told me that he had heard that there was some great diving
off the Scottish coast, where the water was warm, clear as daylight, and
had virtually no current. "That's where you belong, dude" he said. Well,
a recommendation from McKenney is as good as gospel to me, so we were off.
I had to make some preparations first: I contacted my friends in the
Clinton administration (I had made these friends when I contributed
$100,000 to the "Save Hillary's Butt" crusade, which provided the first
lady with a continuous supply of Winchells Doughnuts to preserve the
first-butt...) to get permission to use the U.S. Navy's new XBZ-6000 Mark
36 plutonium-powered rebreather. One was shipped to me via Apache
Helicopter the next day.
McKenney told me that in order to maximize my use of this unit, I had to
complete Kato's Deep Air course, which was now being taught in South
Florida, at a place called "Wakulla". As soon as McKenney packed my bags,
as well as Buffy's (my current flame that I met waiting for her "date" on
Sunset and Vine in Hollywood) we were off.
On the flight over, Buffy had some problems figuring out how to use the
towell dispenser in the airplane restroom, so McKenney volunteered to help
her out. Two hours later, they both emerged, and by the smiles on their
faces, I could tell that she had finally got the difficulties of air travel
Kato met us in Florida, and we proceeded to drive in his 1965 Plymouth
Valiant to Wakulla. Kato had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that
read "Deep Air es Muerte!", and a licence plate that read "OTOX 1". Since
I don't speak Spanish, and I'm not very good with anagrams, I didn't quite
understand what they meant. McKenney just smiled at my questions and said
"you will soon, dude..." I was elated. My continuing dive education had
On arrival at Wakulla, my new scooter was also waiting for me. I had the
boys at Los Alamos Nuclear Lab build it for me. It had a Westinghouse 750
hp motor driven by a internal nuclear reactor that connected to a 4'
diameter prop, and was capable of cruising in excess of 260 knots at a
rated depth of 20,000 FSW.
I decided to try it on my first dive.
We hit the water, and immediately began to descend. Since the XBZ-6000
weighed in at over 400 lbs. I began to descend rapidly.
McKenney gave me the techdiver "are you O.K?" sign (a raised middle
finger) immediately. I signalled back that so far, I was fine. He then
gave me the techdiver "check your PO2" sign (which is a motion of pointing
at me, then grabbing his crotch up and down). I checked the PO2 on my
secondary display. It read 3.0 and climbing, which is what Kato and
McKenney had set it for ("Can't get too much oxygen", said Kato).
Comfortable in the care of my two good friends, I proceeded to enter the
cave system, powered along by my scooter. As I entered the cave, I noticed
a legend in the community, George Irvine, III, coming out of the cave. He
had in tow about 6 divers who must have been practicing their breath
holding technique, for none of them had their regulators (which were
attached by short hoses) in their mouths.
I waved enthusiastically at Mr. Irvine, since I was in awe of meeting this
great man. In return, he too gave me the techdiver "are you O.K?" sign.
Can you imagine, this great man, in the middle of a training exercise for
what I learned later was the "King/Stone Exploration Project Team" would
take the time out to ask if I was o.k? I was thrilled!
As I got deeper into the cave system, I turned on my square lights that
McKenney had loaned me, and saw the most amazing things. Being new to cave
diving, I had never imagined how beautiful cave systems were.
By this time, my friend McKenney must have decided that I was ready to fly
solo. He swam up to me, and with a last "are you O.K?" sign, he placed a
zip-tie over the throttle of my scooter, and cinched it all the way down.
Immediately, I took off accelerating rapidly. As I looked back, both Kato
and McKenney were giving me the "Check your PO2" sign in unison. Since it
had stabilized at my set-point of 4.5 I decided to concentrate on steering
the scooter, since it was getting close to its cruising speed of 260 knots.
Everything began to blur in my vision, which I attributed to my excitement
at all the new experiences I was having. I kept passing all these arrows,
and line running along side the cave walls, until suddenly they stopped. I
must have travelled a good 12 miles beyond the last one, when suddenly my
square light exploded.
Not to be deterred, I reached into my b.c. pocket and pulled out my Bic
squeeze light that I kept for just such an emergency. It worked very well,
and lit the rest of my journey.
Before I knew it, the cave seemed to have a wall at the end of it. I
struggled to remove the zip-tie that McKenney had placed on my throttle (he
is such a kidder, my pal...). Before I could remove it, all the lights
went out, as I slammed into the wall at just over 275 knots.
I must admit, I was a bit dazed at the impact, and thought that perhaps I
had lost my liver. I immediately began to feel very warm, and it was hard
to move, since the water was very thick at this depth.
The next thing I know, I am forcefully blown out of the 75' deep hole that
my impact bore into the granite face of the cave. Everything was black,
and even my Bic squeeze light was no help.
It took me a while to realize that I had slammed into a sub-terranian crude
oil vent, that was now pushing me out of the cave about as fast as I went
I wanted to share this new discovery with my friends, so I restarted the
scooter (which had somehow lost the zip-tie) and began my journey out.
Along the way, I stopped at the point where the line and arrows had
stopped, and began to remove them inch by inch. I don't like people
cluttering up our natural resources...
Upon my exit from the cave system you could imagine the surprise on
everyones face when I emerged from the water covered in oil.
Everyone had this dissappointed look on their face, which I didn't
understand until I realized that I had interrupted their DAN
"mouth-to-mouth" resuscitation training with Buffy. It was really touching
to see that the entire WKPP team were willing to help my friends Kato &
McKenney contribute to Buffy's diving education...
Mr. Irvine was particularly surprised when I handed him over 2 miles of
line and arrows that I had retrieved from the cave system. He simply
stared at it, and with a tear in his eye began yelling over and over "SMD!
SMD!!!" which I figured must mean "Some Magnificent Diving!". I was truly
humbled to receive such a compliment from this wonderful man...
In the parking lot, we passed by several ambulances which were carrying the
King/Stone Expedition team to their next phase of training. I was very
proud to be in the company of such advanced technical divers, I turned to
take one last look at Wakulla and could still see Mr. Irvine running up and
down the shore waving his hands wildly in the air and yelling "SMD!!" over
and over. I caught his eye, and he gave me both the "are you o.k?" sign
and the "check your PO2" sign, which I took as a reminder from him to
practice safe diving wherever my travels take me.
Since the shore was now covered almost completely in crude oil, a gentleman
from the EPA had arrived. I asked him if he knew Mr. Irvine, and he said
that Mr. Irvine was the permit holder for Wakulla.
"He's in it, deeper than you can possibly imagine" said the man from the
EPA. It was gratifying to know that our government recognizes the talents
of our citizens...
As it turns out, the area in which my scooter impacted the rock was just
below land that McKenney had lost to me a month before in a poker game we
had played after he had finished polishing my golf clubs. He didn't seem
to mind losing it too much, since he called it "swampland" (which he said
is Indian for "Good land to build real estate development on"). I knew
that he didn't know much about real estate, so losing it wouldn't bother
him too much.
Well, I immediately got a call from the folks at Shell Oil, and they want
to start drilling the land, and pay me over $12 Billion for the rights to
do so. When I told this to McKenney, some of the sushi that Mr. Irvine
bought for him must have upset his stomach, because he immediately ran to
the side of the road and started throwing up.
I had had a bit too much excitement to continue on to Scotland, so I
decided to give Buffy $5.00 for a taxi ride to the nearest youth hostel (my
new experiences, I felt, had made us grow apart), and head on home to Bel
Back at my estate, sipping some 200 yr. old brandy, I reflected on the
close friendship that formed the bond between McKenney and I. I watched
him quietly, as he continued to mow the lawn (friendship is friendship, but
he is still working off his poker debt to me. I AM a man of principals,
Sweating in the 90 degree heat of the sun, I noticed that he continued to
mutter "that rotten, stinking, fucking worm..."
It is disturbing that I took him on this vacation to forget his daily
battle with the insects that live in my lawn, but he continues to hold a
grudge. I think I'll plan a dive to Antarctica this summer, when its nice
and warm, to try and get his mind off that silly little worm...
Diving with McKenney Part I
Diving with McKenney Part III
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