Good Morning Everyone, and Merry Christmas.
I am honored to share my dive story however; while I guess you can say I am old enough to be a “vintage diver” I am a relative new comer to vintage diving.
I grew up and still live in land locked Cincinnati, Ohio. I don’t think you can say it’s actually land locked since “The Nati” is right on the Ohio River, but I wouldn’t dive there. Oh and then there’s Lake Erie, up on the North Shore, I have fished there but never dove. Anyway….
Our family never went on a vacation to the seashore, and my front yard wasn’t Lake Michigan, but we did have an above ground swimming pool in the back yard.
My brothers and I spent hours making whirlpools and shallow diving in the 4 feet of water. Holding our noses and swimming in between the rungs of the ladder; pretending we were fishing, but never pretending we were scuba diving.
While I am old enough to have watched Sea Hunt (not the reruns) and even though our family gathered in front of the TV watching the travels of The Calypso I can say again, I never thought about learning to dive. Until that is, I met my (current) boyfriend.
To warm me up to diving Rob took me to Northern Florida where we snorkeled in Ginnie Springs, and down the Itchetuknee River.
I spent a whole week in the water; never saw a gator, or a gator warning sign
(thanks to Rob and his Amigo Wayne) and I fell in love with the beautiful clear springs.
When we returned, Rob suggested that I participate in a discover scuba class. My daughter and a couple of my other girlfriends came along. Rob spent the entire night with my friend Darlene, comforting her in the shallow end. I think he may have looked over at me once or twice.
Even though he pretty much ignored me, I really had a great time that night, and I started lessons which were a gift from Rob in 2002, at the age of 51. When we signed up for the classes no one mentioned anything about an age limit. I eagerly read my PADI manual, watched the VHS tapes and was ready for the first assignment. Filling out the paperwork that first night of class I found out that you had to have a doctor’s permission or a physical if you were over the age of 45. I was mortified because, even though they allowed me to stay that night, they made me stay in the shallow end while all the younger folks got to go in the deep end.
I finished the class work and I got my Open Water Certification. I chose to do my check out dives in Ginnie Springs, and was happy to be back in those crystal clear waters. I was thinking that I could concentrate more on my diving skills there than in the ocean, and not have to worry about sharks or other creatures. While doing my snorkel/regulator exchange in the run from the Devil’s Eye to the Devil’s Ear a water snake swam through my hair
////// He’s kinda hard to see on the photo, so I outlined him for you, so much for avoiding scary critters.
I of course purchased modern equipment, and while I knew Rob was collecting old stuff, I had no idea of the depth of his passion. I guess you can say it rubbed off on me. I had been fooling around with diving vintage gear in the springs and local quarries using Rob’s equipment until I purchased my own Phoenix from VDH in 2009.
Because of our association with VDH and all of our friends in the vintage diving community, I’ve been lucky enough to be a cast member at both of the Sea Hunt events in Silver Springs, the beautiful waters of Weeki Wachee,
where I got to try on a “tail” and also at the Legends of Diving gathering at Unexso. I purchased my own (Klauda) cotton travel harness for the Unexso event, which lead to me becoming a “model” so to speak. You can find me on VDH in the products section modeling Allan’s cotton harnesses.
While I’m not the most hard core, or well versed in the workings of vintage equipment you’ll rarely see me without my vintage oval dacor mask, jet fins and slick skin beaver tail wet suit.
I really, really value my friendship with the VDH folks, and enjoy the forum and our trips
I can’t wait to roast more marshmallow “peeps” at the next Sand Dog.