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Episode 06: Night Diving

Storytellers: Kathryn Sturm

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You never know what you might find when night diving in the British Virgin Islands.

I've barely told anyone this story.

Background: I'm originally from Washington DC. I lived on the east coast for a long time. I really loved marine biology. In high school, I decided the only to learn more about marine biology and become a marine biologist would be to get my advanced diving certification.

I was probably 17 years old. I saved up a bunch of money and I booked myself alone on a trip to go to essentially live in the British Virgin Islands for five weeks on a catamaran with a bunch of strangers. My parents, for some reason, wrote this off and said, "Sure, yeah, whatever." I have no idea what they were thinking. I was an idiot at 17. A complete idiot. Bad News Bears.

So, I went to the British Virgin Islands. I got to know all these great people. I lived on this boat for a long time. One of the last things we had to do to get certified as an advanced diver was to swim at night. Essentially what they would do is take you out in this catamaran, and put you out about 50 feet down and have you rely on your gear to get back to the boat. It's complete pitch dark. You have no idea how to get there. Whatever. It was one of the last things you did.

This is such a weird story.

I was pretty confident at that point. I had been doing this for a long. The whole crew put me down and they went away. I relied on my gear to get me to a boat.

I'm swimming along underwater. I was terrified, but it was fine.

I see these lights above, so I think, "Perfect! I found my catamaran with all my friends." So, I ascend and get up there.

When you're diving you have these tanks on that are super heavy. And even the strongest person in the world can't get up unless there's someone up there to grab you and bring you up.

So I climbed up on this ladder as far as I could get. And I was like, "Where the fuck is everyone?" I needed one of those big, strong men to get my ass up. I'm exhausted, I'm horrified. I've been doing this for 30 minutes. I want to get my ass on board. But no one was there.

I haul myself up with these huge tanks as much as I can get up. Then I look up, and I see four people in front of me in the bed of the catamaran all with animal masks on, having sex with each other. And then one other rogue person just watching from afar.

And I was like, "What the fuck is happening? Am I not getting enough oxygen? What's happening?"

I had been swimming underwater, alone, in the dark, for quite awhile. In my mind, I'm like, "Am I tripping right now? What's going on?

I don't tell this story because no one believes me.

They had horse masks on, and other weird shit.

I promptly launched my ass back into the ocean, because it was way too much. I'm was out. That was not my thing.

So I get back into the water. And at that point I have no idea where my catamaran is, where my people are, where my team is. I start swimming but because I'm not underwater, it's too heavy. I just take off my tanks and figure I'll find them tomorrow.

I didn't want to go back under because I was literally lost and I didn't know what the fuck was happening on the other catamaran next to me.

I dropped my tanks and just kept swimming. I still had my gear with me so I could see where I was going.

Eventually I found my boat.

I got up there and they're like, "Where the hell are your tanks? You just dropped your shit?"

I told them but no one believed me. Everyone was like, "Fuck off, Kathryn. You just got lazy and dropped your shit then swam your ass over here."

I said, "I promise you, I just saw an animal orgy on a casual boat."

The next day I found my tanks and the catamaran was gone.

But it really happened. I promise.