THE CLOSE OUT
WORDS & PHOTO DOM MOORE
How long had we been out here now? Only half an hour maybe, there were four of us, conditions weren’t dangerous though it’s always choppy. Why then was I beset with a sense of creeping menace?
Before I go any further I have to tell you that nothing exciting or bad happened this day. But that doesn’t stop the mind telling stories and shifting you from a state of relaxation closer towards one of fight or flight. Primal instincts I suppose, similar to when you’re just old enough to drink, you walk into a dodgy flat-roof pub on a housing estate. All full of nutters and ne’er-do-wells. The tension thicker than the stale air.
The water’s always black around here on the far side of Goose Rock. If you put a mask on and peer over the side of your board you can see that the colour is often down to the dark sea grass and kelp, which is fine. But every now and then your eyes adjust and with a jolt of panic you realise you’re staring down into the void. Scrambling back atop your board and paddling away your mind cuts away to a Jaws-like over-under image of your board on the surface and a megalodon rising up to get you, or maybe a Soviet era nuclear submarine gone samovolka, refusing to believe the cold war is over. Or perhaps in the knowledge that it’s started again.
There’s a lot of equipment lurking in the darkness beneath our waves; 20th century communication cables, hydrophones to triangulate enemy submarines, and wrecks of bombers, unexploded ordinance…To me that’s creepier than any natural threat, machines hiding under the surface while you paddle in ignorance above. Even the dark swirling waters around a river lock gate are enough to make me pick up my paddle stroke a bit.
I think the eeriest thing I ever heard resulting from a leisurely day on the water was the family who got caught in the current at the entrance to Poole Harbour and pulled under the chain link ferry. Happily they survived unscathed but seriously rattled when they popped up the other side. Apparently the noise of the chains underwater in the blackness was deafening. SUP International