I've been diving off the Conception many times

I am heartbroken. Every story I read about the loss of Truth Aquatic's Conception leaves me crying.

I've been diving with Truth Aquatics since I was certified in the late 90s. When I was young they were the Cadillac of California's Live-Aboard fleet. My dive buddy, Bill, and I used to sit around debating if we would schlep all the way to Santa Barbara for the luxury of a several day live-aboard or just get on one of the cheaper, less lovingly cared for and less excellently staffed dive boats out of San Pedro or Oxnard.

Later, having moved to Northern California and found a new dive buddy, Sean, he and a number of friends of ours would meet up annually on a Truth Aquatics boat. Usually the Vision but whenever scheduling didn't work out, the Conception was her near-identical twin with only a few differences to make it funky. The week-long trip from Santa Barabara to Catalina Island, once a year, was something I longed for.

I have made many very dear friends diving with Truth Aquatics. You read about Marcus' work with Extra Life Gaming every year. Dan helps me maintain my BMW and my sanity. Former Boing Boing contributing weirdo Joel Johnson used to join me on those trips. Lisa, Sean, Gary, Dave, Adam, Eileen, Ken, Jamie, Eddie, Sal, Peter, Paddy, Carol. Wonderful people. Incredibly important experiences.

Truth Aquatics has the very best people in the business working to make sure I had the safest and then most enjoyable time I possibly could. They have been a stellar organization in my experience, and I've seen some awful customer service in my time.

Fire on a boat is the thing of nightmares. Every additional story I read makes me cry more. This is a tragedy. When I first heard this news I did not think it would hit me, or my friends, as hard as it has. I've heard from so many people in the last day, all of us knowing we could have booked that boat this weekend. I did not sleep much last night.

Investigators will hopefully figure out what caused the fire. My thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones, and the few who survived. I do not know if any of the crew are the same guys I'd been lucky enough to be on board with, but I certainly know the Captain. Those teams wanted nothing but every passenger's safety and happiness.

Image via Dan Rodarte