“Dale, when do we have to leave for the boat?” Kim asks as we climb into bed when Jay Leno signs off. She knows… why is she asking? Is it her hope beyond hope that the boat called and said they wanted to let everybody sleep in so they won’t be departing until brunch is over.

“We depart at the butt-crack of dawn… you know, O-dark thirty… when it is darkest before the dawn,” I felt like saying. But to be kind, I tell her this time we get to sleep in a little (an extra five minutes because the boat is not quite as far a drive). “5:30”

Long pause… heavy sigh. She turns over groggy. “Why 5:30?”

I thought for a moment. For as long as I can remember, predawn departure is a requirement for diving. It is tradition. I wanted to break out into song like Tevye in “Fiddler”… “TRAAADITION! TRADITION!”

I remember a few years ago, going on one of those day/night dive trips. You made a couple of dives in the day and then one at night, returning to the dock at 10 p.m. or so. What was weird was you left the dock at 10 a.m. It was just that… weird. As refreshing as it was to get a decent night’s sleep, it just did not seem like a real dive trip. I few weeks later I did another day/night trip. Just to feel normal and to make sure I was in the proper spirit, I awoke at 5:30 a.m. Feeling like crap that day made it feel like a real dive trip. Tradition.

“It ain’t real diving unless you get up at 5:30,” I said. She did not respond, not because she was asleep already but because she was just too tired to turn and hit me.