Posted by retrodiver on August 15, 2001 at 17:25:40:
After reading this board for just a few days I sure do feel stupid.
I got my PADI "Lifer-Card" way back in Oct. 1976 from Thad Moore in North Dallas. I went through the same course as everyone else, but because I was only 14 I could only get the Junior Basic Card. It's been 25 years but I can still remember that class like it was yesterday. Thad Moore was a pretty impressive guy, a regular Mike Nelson if I ever saw one, and his class was very demanding. I still have my manuel from those days. When I turned 15 they let me upgrade that to a Basic Scuba Diver Card. "Air-fill" card as one of you puts it.
Unfortunately, a majority of the dives I did in Texas were murkey brown low vis lake dives with not much to see, and dives to exotic locales (relatives in Florida) while fun where few and far between...and so I kinda drifed away from diving with only about 20 or so logged dives.
I still can't find that log book (you know how teenagers can be), but I did manage to keep a hold on my C-Card. I carried it in my wallet for maybe 18 years until it ended up in my junk drawer several years ago.
A few months ago one of my rock climbing buddies and I were on a hike and he tells me he's going to tak the Open Water Course through Sport Chalet, and do I want to take it with him.
"Nah," I said proudly. "I'm already a Certified Diver. Besides the water's too cold for me here." I'd only worn a wetsuit once, at Crystal River Springs. In fact, that was my first dive with my "Air-fill Card." I played with the Manatee, and followed some Advanced Divers way back in the cave, until they turned off they're lights and spooked me away. Bet you like hearing that one, eh Mike? 15 year-old doing a cave dive with no training. Did they have DIR in 1977?
Anyway, Mike won't shut-up about how great So. Cal. diving is with all the lobsters, bass, and halibut, and...before I know it, I'm salivating. I start thinking about the gear, and the water, and the adventure...until finally, I say, "%@#& this hike, it's hot! Let's get down to the Sport Chalet."
I spent almost two bills that day getting my mask, fins, booties, gloves, and a snorkel...practically on a whim.
I figured since I hadn't been diving in 20 years maybe I better bone-up, so I get out the old manual. It still has a lot of good stuff in it but looking at I realize that it's way out of date (the equipmennt now is all different), so I go back to the dive shop and I get a bunch of books and a wet-suit with a hood. I'm getting in deep here and I haven't even been in the pool yet.
I ask about a refresher course, but I'm told they don't really offer them unless they can get a group. Great.
"Or,you could just "take the Advanced Class." the 18 year-old-cashier suggests (well hey, he's wearing a DM patch, so he should know, right).
"Yeah, wait 'til they see my c-card, with a picture of me at 15." I'm thinking. "I bet they won't even rent to me."
I go home and renew my c-card by mail, just in case nobody will honor it. To my suprise the new card shows up in the mail a week later no questions asked, like maybe..."Where the hell you been the last 25 years, dude? How 'bout we take a gander at that dive log?"
Still says, Basic Scuba Diver on it, though.
Just not wanting to be hasseled by the whole class room thing I decide to read Go Diving, Decompression, Dive Tables, and Dive Computers 2nd Ed., and Adventures in Diving. I also pick up the RDP (remember, I was using Navy tables before) and the wheel and teach myself to use those.
As a final prep before doing a real dive with my buddy Mike and his girlfriend, fresh out of their Open Water Class, we all go down to Leo Carrillo beach and jump in to see how the new wet-suits feel. We swam around for hours and made several entries and exits with fins, mask and snorkel. We did pretty well...
So, I think I'm ready to dive the Pacific now. Sure, why the hell not!
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