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Wispy fingers of mist reached for the morning sky as though the lake was trying to hold onto the South Carolina summer just a little longer. Sander sat on the tailgate of his pickup and watched a couple of fishermen negotiating their way along the rocky jetty that lined the bank. Without thinking about it--he'd done it a thousand times--he slipped his arms though the BC and hefted the scuba tank onto his back and trudged down the little hill to the water. Normally he'd dive the dam on the weekends with his buddy Calv. But this was Wednesday. And this would be his last dive here.
He pushed the air from his lungs to counter the buoyant force of his wetsuit, and as he submerged a vision of the old marina blended with the emerald water. His grandpa always called it a working man's marina. No fancy yachts, no snobby sail clubs. Just a place for regular folks to launch their bass boats, get some gas and a styrofoam cup of Ms Dorn's famous catfish stew.
The Carolina sun was still low in the east. And as Sander descended the darkness and hazy visibility--lake water ain't Carribean clear--enveloped him. He felt at home though, he knew this part of the lake better than he knew himself. He flicked on his light and dropped down along the rocky embankment to twenty feet or so. The jetty was built in the 50's by the corps of engineers as support for the highway that ran across the dam. It led west for about a hundred yards before ending where the concrete dam superstructure began.
There was ole' Andy, whiskers twitching nervously in his usual place atop his rock throne, no doubt hoping for some scatterbrained breakfast to swim by. Sander knew if the turned slightly north-west and descended to about 40 feet he would eventually find the airplane. It had been purposely sunk years ago as a training platform for rescue divers and had become the first stop for most sports divers. He found it--with his forehead. In the shitty visibility, and, aiming his dive light at the bottom rather than in front of him, he hadn't seen the wing tip. Cursing and smiling to himself, he coasted across the wing to the windowless cockpit. A while back, one of his dive buddies with an enhanced sense of the morbid had put a plastic skeleton in the pilot's seat. Habitually, Sander reached through the window and shook the skull to dislodge the sediment that had accumulated since the last diver had passed by.
The water temperature dropped quickly as he turned almost due north and continued to descend along the mucky bottom. After a couple of minutes he checked his depth, about 75 feet. And he knew from hundreds of previous excursions that the 80 foot wall was just ahead of him.