Underwater adventures better left to the tropics

Certain adventures are better experienced from afar, say, by watching them on TV. This is especially true when they involve tight spaces, caves and anything underwater.

I have a love of history and archaeology. At Ohio State University, I majored in journalism and minored in geology and archaeology. When I share that fun fact, inevitably I get a puzzled stare. The subjects seem polar opposite. The one — journalism — is in-your-face, nitty gritty real world. You are attending city council meetings and delving into details on variances, development, laws and community needs. The other … well, it deals with long-ago living, with tiny, dirt-covered clues revealing how people lived and died hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Now that I write that down, however, I see the correlation. It’s all about discovering how people live their lives, whether in 2019 or B.C. 500.

What was the deciding factor when I chose my college path? It was the thought of trudging through deserts, armed with a trowel and a toothbrush. The former is used to dig up dinosaur bones or ancient graves. The latter helps the adventurer to meticulously clear millennia of dirt from unearthed objects. I chose instead to sit in city council meetings and deal with the here and now.

The love of all things ancient and unknown, however, remains with me. I’m addicted to shows such as the Travel Channel’s “Expedition Unknown” with host Josh Gates. It’s a treat for me to vicariously watch as he uncovers woolly mammoth bones (and sometimes flesh!) in the frozen tundra of Siberia, or spelunk deep under the earth in caves beneath Rome and Athens, looking for — and finding — traces of ancient life.

Let me stress “vicariously” enjoy. As I watch Josh squeeze into tiny passageways deep beneath the earth, I shudder. Literally. I feel the tight squeeze of claustrophobia as I watch him wiggle between cave walls, or scuba dive in pitch blackness, the way lit only by headlamps. I’m feeling myself tense up even as I write these words, picturing those scenes.

Recently, I experienced the same sense of tightness when I read a never-plausible Put-in-Bay April Fool’s joke last week. Jet Express officials “announced” on April 1 (did anyone notice the date?) that they were offering a “submarine service,” along with underwater Lake Erie shipwreck tours. They offered as evidence pictures of a submarine’s interior and a perfectly preserved small “shipwreck” in crystal clear blue waters.

Once I got over my gut-churning, involuntary shudders, my eyebrows started wiggling. A submarine? To Put-in-Bay? Blue water? Shallow shipwrecks? Suuurrrreeee. They even listed a legitimate company, Atlantis Adventures, with operations in Grand Cayman, Barbados, St. Thomas, Aruba, Guam, Cozumel and Hawaii. Submarine adventures are legit in those areas. Not, however, in Lake Erie.

Good job, Jet Express, on an awesome prank. However, I will have to send you the bill for the anxiety attack I suffered, brief as it was, at the thought of being in a 48-person (it’s air-conditioned!) submarine in the murky depths of Lake Erie.

Now if you had included Josh Gates in the prank, I might have believed you. Maybe.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or call 440-871-5797.

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