I watched a black and white television show called “Sea Hunt” as a kid in the 1960’s. Former Navy ‘frog man’ Mike Nelson was an independent contractor diver and as such experienced all kinds of adventures. He worked for marine research organizations, the Coast Guard, the Navy, salvage-for-hire…well, everything an eight-to-ten-year-old boy might even think to dream of in the 1960’s. OK, some were dreaming of space flight. I was seeing and ‘living’ through the imagination of what was already reality under the sea. Hokey, short scripts, and the diver-NAVY-man always went to dinner at the beginning or the end of the show. What was not to like?
Cap off the TV ‘drama’ with what I saw at the YMCA during the summer of 1969. That was the summer I went through swimming lessons over the three months, progressing from the beginners’ courses (Minnows) in the morning to the most advanced courses (Sharks/Dolphins) at the end of the afternoon. While I waited for Mom to pick me up, I watched the SCUBA class through the viewing window every day. WOW! There were Mike Nelsons right in front of me!! It would be twenty-five years until I would certify as a Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) Open Water Diver. I would advance through the dive courses that summer as quickly as I did the swim lessons so many years earlier. I was living a dream!
The following entries are drawn from my dive log beginning in 1995. Most of my dives were off the Florida coast. Later, I was able to dive in and around the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Sea. Being deployed in the U.S. Navy provided the transportation. I hope you enjoy sharing in the adventures.
10-29-95_2nd Day of diving off Boytan Beach Florida_Dive #38
The first dive started with very poor planning (on my part). I wore a wet suit and forgot my weight belt. (Normally, I don’t need weights as I’m negatively buoyant.I sink!) That was embarrassing since I was the Dive Master trainee towing the buoy-line for the students. Not a great example, as I forced the boat to come back to me to retrieve the weights. Getting the weights off the back of the boat, I sucked in diesel fumes. The seas were picking up. That combination makes for seasickness.
Diving from the surface, my partner had trouble with his regulator. He couldn’t get it to work below 20ft. (breathing regulators use the water pressure to aid in reducing air pressure from 120 lbs in the hoses to the pressure of the surrounding water so the diver can inhale against the sea pressure as depth increases. My partner was prevented from breathing below 20ft). We surfaced again and waved the boat back, climbed aboard, and both started getting out of our gear. The boat operator offered up a spare rig to my dive partner, we redressed, and finally splashed for a successful dive.
(out of the water for the ‘rest’ period where divers breath off excess carbon dioxide, the rocking of the boat made me sea sick with the diesel carbon monoxide still lingering.)
I made the second dive to keep from making a mess on the deck of the boat with my breakfast. Not the best dive I’ve had.