Honesty and Integrity
The day would start like a lot of great trips. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I quietly gathered my gear so as not to wake my wife and baby. Outside the mist would creep up on my truck and dampen the windows and paint, just a cold chill to let me know fall really was here at last. I yawned and started up my truck, the rumbling quietly echoing through the hills. Somewhere, out there the sun lay waiting. But right now it was still pitch black and I had a ways to go.
In an hour or so I’d find myself bobbing up and down on a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) and heading to a island that I love so much. It wasn’t my boat this time, Dylan’s RIB has made the crossing many times and along with us was another friend, Byron. We’ve all dove together before and knew it would be a day of fun. As we approached the first spot we noticed how blue the water looked. Even from the top we could see blacksmith darting back and forth chasing small bits of plankton. The visibility was almost an inky blue: 60′ of visibility today! We excitedly suited up and dropped over the sides of the boat one by one. We kicked to where the bait would be nervously waiting and there we started making drops in hopes of catching site of a late season yellowtail. We spent over an hour at that one spot, probably made over seventy drops and only saw a few schools of bonita with just a few sightings of yellowtail.
On one drop I saw two very nice sized yellowtail swaggering in the water. They never stopped to give me a chance, only flicked their tails in dissatisfaction as they hurried along. It did not matter, because we were on a smaller boat I only had my 55″ Mori reef gun with me, with two bands I was limited to about 12′ of range, nothing like my 67″ gun. Those yellows were safe from me. The next thing I knew I was enveloped by bait. Sardines, spanish mackerel, pacific mackerel, pretty much every type of bait swarmed up by the millions and danced around us. There were so many fish there wasn’t any room for water it seemed and the school was endless. We made many drops into this silver river and were amazed at how many fish there actually were.
After a couple of hours it was apparent that no yellows were going to show. I saw both Byron and Dylan on the RIB and figured time was up at this spot, I began my lazy kick towards them. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement and to my right I saw one yellowtail, then two, then ten. In seconds that opened up to probably what was over 50 fish! I knew I’d have to get close for the shot so I made my drop and then pretended that I wasn’t interested at all and slowly crept up to them. In one swift movement I extended the gun and picked a fat fish out of the group and clicked of the shot.
The shot rang true and the shaft entered the fish and the slip tip toggled. Line began to scream off the reel and I slowly applied some tension as I let the fish run. Lucky for me the fish was small, about 12 or 15 pounds and the shot looked good so I took my time fighting it and then dispatched it with a quick sting of my knife. Victory!
I swam the fish over to the boat and hid it under my body. When they asked me if I got anything I smartly replied “hey do you guys like mackerel?” They responded, “you shot a mackerel??” I laughed and flipped the fish onto the boat, “no but I got a nice yellowtail!”. I heard nothing but “kook”, “bastard”, and a few other choice names I won’t burn your ears with. The best part was this entitled me to rag on them all day long. “Hey do you guys want yellowtail lessons? Hey anytime you want tips on fighting big fish let me know. Hey uuuuhhh this fish bag is heavy, can you help me lift it?” I’m sure they were planning my disappearance so they wouldn’t have to listen to the ridicule but thank goodness California has a death penalty and it kept them sane!
We started looking for lobster but unfortunately most of the ones we saw were either “shorts” (under regulation size) or they were holed way up in the back of caves. Every single lobster I measured was a tiny bit short so they were released with their tails flapping in the water. On one occasion I found a small opening in a crevice and was able to shove myself into it. I saw a nice lobster and quickly grabbed at it and was holding it by the horns (the base of the antennae). Success! As I shifted my grip the damn thing kicked one more time and I fumbled with it and it took off. Damn, I guess I shouldn’t have called success so early! At the least I didn’t rip my nail off and smash my thumb like last week when I was trying to grab a lobster under a rock.
Isn’t that beautiful? See that red line in the middle, that’s where the entire thumb bent backwards right thru the meat above the bone. It hurt way worse than the last time I tore the whole nail off.
We dove several spots for a while and on one particular one I was just finishing up a drop at about 30 feet when I thought I noticed something shiny. I breathed up and dropped down again, a few kicks later I was on the bottom and I pulled up what I thought was a nice underwater camera case. As I turned it over I could make out a newer iPhone in that case. Wow, score! I carefully brought it back to the boat and tried pushing the buttons to see if it was working but it either had a dead battery or was flooded.
When I got home I washed off the camera along with my gear. I carefully dried it and then popped open the case, it opened with a suction sound and the phone appeared to be totally dry! I again tried to fire it up, but no such luck. As I examined it I noticed it was an iPhone 5, newer than the iPhone 4 I have myself. But I knew it wouldn’t be right to keep it and I wanted to find it’s owner. But first I’d have to charge it up and since I didn’t know anyone who had an iPhone 5 I ordered a charger online and started reading up.
To my dismay most of the posts online said that they recommended taking the phone to the nearest police station. Most officers are busy solving crimes, they aren’t going to be able to figure out where a dead battery lost phone came from and the phone eventually ends up in a box with a bunch of other dead phones. Since this phone was found in the ocean I was unsure if the owner even knew they had lost it there.
Some people said you could take it back to the cell phone store and they would give you the information but others said this was untrue: because of privacy laws they could not give you that information nor would they try to contact the person. One employee at the store even said that you’d be better off just keeping the phone. The only saving grace would be if the phone was unlocked I might be able to look up a home address or contact number.
One of my friends said that a coworker had a new iPhone 5, so I called her up and asked to borrow her charger. She brought it in the next day and I promptly started charging the phone. An hour or so later I had enough charge to use the phone and now was the moment of truth. Would the phone fire up?
As I pressed the power button and the phone came to life I noticed that the phone was unlocked! Whoo hoo I might have a chance. I opened up the recently called screen and scanned. There were several names on there and then one said “Home”. I figured that might be the owners home so I called the number and a man answered.
I told them who I was and that I had found an iPhone and did they lose one? When they said they did, I asked the important question. “Where did you lose it? When they answered correctly I knew I had found the owner! I saw that he lived in Oregon, but with luck he was in San Diego that weekend! I made arrangements and he was able to swing by my work and pick up the phone. When I met him, he extended his hand and had a big smile on his face and told me I had made his day. He told me the story of the lost phone.
It was the opening night of lobster season about a month earlier and his girlfriend had agreed to take him on a scuba dive boat. As a gift she bought him a very nice housing for his iPhone. They were kicking around some of the reef and his phone battery had started to die out so he turned it off and put it on his wrist. Somewhere along the night it slipped off into the rocks below. His girlfriend threw on another tank and began to search for it but couldn’t locate it and they gave up. He was pretty bummed out. She tried to comfort him by saying that most divers are pretty honest people and there’s a chance it would be returned but she could tell he was really sad about losing the phone and felt bad about losing the housing.
It made my day knowing that I was able to help them out. I felt really really great about finding the owner. I wished them a safe trip back home and they left with the cell phone firmly gripped in their hands. For me it was a great ending to a great dive trip with friends.
As I told this story to some of my younger friends I was pretty disturbed that a couple of them told me, “you dummy, why didn’t you keep it? The phone was lost for a month, he probably had bought another one.” Or “if he could afford an iPhone then he probably didn’t miss it and could afford another one”. I was blown away by their reactions.
“Are you shitting me? Is that how you really think?” I replied. I was pretty pissed. Think about how devastated you’d be if you lost your phone with all your contacts, maybe pictures of you and your friends you’d never get back, maybe a text from someone you loved, or a last picture with someone who might not be here today. One of my pet peeves about a lot of people in the world today is that they think they have what I call the “get some shit for free” card. It’s one of those things that make them think that it’s okay to take stuff that doesn’t belong to you or mooch off friends without ever thinking of repaying them back. It’s also one of my biggest pet peeves and one of the reasons why I wanted to move to a different area of southern California. I’ll tell you a quick story. One time I was at Disneyland and had just rode the space mountain ride for the billionth time ;). As I stepped off the ride I was taking something out of my pocket and my annual pass fell out. I realized this after about fifteen or so steps and went back to look for it. GONE. I know for a fact that it was in my pocket as I exited the ride and I KNOW that the person had to have seen me double back to pick up my pass. I checked over the next few days at lost and found and it never turned up. I sincerely hope that person/kid gets run over by a slow moving steam roller or gets eaten by ants or at the very least gets struck by lightning although having their genitals torn off by chimpanzees or having their face eaten also has a nice ending to it.
At any rate, think of how cool it would be if everyone was a little more honest and a little more friendly. We could live in a society where you’d never have to lock your front door, and if you dropped your wallet (or cell phone!) you could be assured an honest person would return it later on. You could leave your car unlocked, there wouldn’t be any need for annoying alarms, and I sure wouldn’t have to hide all my stuff during my shoredives and worry that some dopus would take it.
So if you came across this blog and found a iPhone and would like to return it to the owner, here’s what I found out by reading up online:
1. Try to turn the phone on, if you are lucky and if it is charged and unlocked you can look up recently called numbers and call some of them back. I looked for “home” but you might try “mom” “work” etc. You might try “ice” which stands for “in case of emergency”, this has to be set up in your phone as a contact and I’m going to do that to my phone asap. If the phone is locked you can see if SIRI is running and tell the phone to “call home” or “call work” etc and see if it will dial out.
2. If the phone is locked, basically you are supposed to return it to the nearest police station where you found the phone, otherwise it could be viewed as stolen property. I don’t have a lot of faith in law enforcement trying to find the owner (especially if the owner didn’t call that particular station) as it seems officers are probably too busy because they are often trying to hassle me for not having a front license plate or for supposedly speeding in the slow lane of the freeway at 10 pm at night or for lobster diving in some of my favorite spots at night. What, Bitter? Who me? :). You can call the station up and try this route but from what I read they hold the phone for 30 days and if no one claims it, it ends up in a box of discarded phones.
3. You can try to go to the carrier and ask them to remove and scan the sim card which is located on the side of the phone. I have heard different stories about this, but in general they will not give you the info because of privacy laws. I have heard different things about whether or not they will contact the person and I’ve also read that there is nothing they can do. It might be worth it to give them a call anyways. You might also try the apple store, but I’ve heard they are very unlikely to try to contact the owner there and it is a better shot to try at the carrier store although employees have said there is nothing they can do.
4. As a last resort you might try to post it up on a found section in something like “craigslist” etc. Give the general area where you found it but leave some mystery to it, because a lot of people who like to use their “get some shit for free” card and lie to you just to get a new phone. You can quiz them on where they lost it, what color it was etc.
5. Karma is a bitch. If you want to be one of the many outstanding citizens of Los Angeles who like to go shopping during riots and want to maximize your “get some shit for free” card and keep the phone without trying to contact the owner I can only hope a crackhead jumps you and jabs you with a dirty hypodermic needle and takes the phone from you. When you are dying from some horrible disease surrounded by no friends nor family (because obviously you are a douchebag of epidemic proportions), hopefully you will recall that if you had returned the phone to it’s rightful owner, maybe this wouldn’t have happened ;).
By the way, I gave half that fish away to my buddies and the other half was made into a series of yellowtail sashimi, spicy yellowtail sushi rolls and an epic Misoyaki yellowtail. Yum!
Spicy yellowtail rolls and sashimi Yellowtail Misoyaki