Re: Diving in the '60's & 50's

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Posted by Gerry Smith on November 07, 2000 at 13:50:51:

In Reply to: Diving in the '60's posted by Frank on November 06, 2000 at 19:42:36:

I had an uncle in San Diego who was a freediver in the 50ís He cobbled up a scuba unit which used a fire extinguisher bottle and a tweaked welding regulator to give a constant flow of about 1 - 2 CFM. It was useful to about 80 ft for maybe half an hour. His wetsuit was sheet rubber, homemade, and not very warm so half an hour was plenty. In 1962 I got into a scrape in high school and was sent to live with my Grandmother and Uncle. By then he had a real SCUBA (from Sears Roebuck), but I had to use the homemade gear when he taught me how to dive. You held the end of the hose in your teeth and sealed your lips loosely around it to allow excess gas to escape without overexpanding your lungs. Unc was NOT an instructor. His training included snatching off masks, stealing regulators and underwater wrestling matches (maybe to prepare me for an encounter with a giant octopus? I donít know and he still just laughs when I ask.) The harassment worked however, it taught me to stay calm, and only partly drowned me. Luckily for him I lived through it Ďcause my mom (his older sister) would have killed him otherwise.

We ate well then. The fish, lobster and abalone were abundant that summer, wish I could find 10% of that abundance now.

The next summer I tried to buy my own gear, and was told I had to get certified at the YMCA first. Bottle, regulator (two hose), wetsuit, and weightbelt (all used) cost me under $100. Havenít regretted it once since then.


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