The Czar

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Posted by seahunt on August 18, 2000 at 15:24:33:

In Reply to: Feel the water on your skin . . . . . posted by scubabum on August 17, 2000 at 09:18:49:

Most people have their natural places.
The places that make them feel right.
For Fred that is the sea. It enervates and energises him.
Hunting in the sea would bring his senses to a whole new
level of perception. At no other time did he feel as
On the Dive Boat Peace in the 1980's, some of the most
devoted divers that ever put on a mask and fins, got to
do some of the best diving ever. These were the Animals
trips. It was Fred that put a lot of the Animal in the
Animals. He was certainly one of the most colorful
characters in the California diving community. He went
by the nickname, The Czar. I suspect he picked it. This
was a guy that did more diving in a year than most people
did in a life time. The water is just his place.
He was most at home roving the remote reefs of San Nicolus,
but he was also an avid beach diver who could get good game
where few others could find it.
I can still see him so well with that blond hair and that
thick blond brush of a mustache and weathered face. He
seemed to always be wearing a torn wetsuit and his red
ScubaPro 'bendomatic' dive meter on his shoulder ... if
it hadn't dropped from its holder. He or someone else always
did find it. He always had a twinkle in those sky blue eyes
and a laughing smile, though that wasn't always a good
thing. Freddy could be a pain in the ass. He was a competitor.
He liked beating people, whether at lobstering, flatty
spearing or at those wicked cards. He liked winning and he
let you know it if you lost. Do you remember his ju ju stick
with the skull on top, the sea gull feet strung on it, the
feathers and the other less identifiable stuff? It was hard
to bluff a man in a card game that held that kind of magic
in his hand and waved it over the cards. Some tried for
protection though. Wayno had his dead frog hat and I think
it was Jim that had the lobster teeth necklace.
He was a great diver. I thought Wayno was better at bugs
overall, but that's about it. Have you ever seen the
picture on the Peace of him with the 53 pound halibut.
Freddy wasn't tall and this fish was about as tall as
him. But it was when he got a really big bug that
Freddy was at his annoying best. He was happy and he
was loud.
He was a part of the best times in my life. I dunno if
he was the best part, but those memories are all dear.
I'll never forget him. I remember and miss so many people
that I have met and gone down to the sea with. The Animals
the most.
I don't know if we were friends. We were like a cat and a
dog. But I was in the Pacific Ocean on the same day as him,
so by Freddy's standards I am proud I can say that I was
one of Freddy's dive buddys.
Sometimes at night, I see their faces
I feel the traces they've left on my soul
and these are the memories that make me a wealthy soul
yes and these are the memories that make me a wealthy soul
Take care and live life like it might be your last,

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