Posted by Jeff on April 26, 2003 at 01:26:38:
This is a reply to a message from some time ago; but, as you will see, the gist of my message is…. Better late than never!
I grew up in a small farming community in western Colorado. I like to think I was the first ever to own my own snorkel, flippers & mask in that part of the world (mask was the “safety glass” lens mounted to a rubber face mask, & held in place with a steel ring, like a big hose clamp). My little brother & I rode our bikes out to Chipeta lakes, & would float around on the surface, & imagine ourselves as being on Jacques Cousteau’s team. Pretty cool to see trout, & make believe they were Great Whites, or some other equally fabulous creature of the deep. I even got my mom to get me a subscription to “skin diver” magazine. I’m sure I was the first & only one in all of Colorado . . . . That was when I was 10 years old.
When I was 15 years & 9 months of age, I had just received my learners permit to drive a car, and I had learned of a scuba class in a town 20 miles away. The course would cost $ 60, & I was on my way! (I actually had exactly $ 60 in the savings account!!) At the very first class, I was told I didn’t need to come back for several weeks, as the initial course work was “water safety & first aid” which I already had. During this interlude, I went to a party, where I imbibed every type of liquor known to man or beast (yep, I was real grown-up!), & upon attempting to leave the party & drive my father’s car home (of course, I refused to let my friend drive) I backed into a fiberglass fishing boat which had been parked nearby. The next morning I discussed the incident with our policeman (Roger), & he arranged ever so kindly to allow me to keep my permit & “Not go to jail” as long as I went to the boat’s owner, apologized for my errant way, & paid for the repair. The patch job for the boat cost me $ 69.12 (my father loaned me the remaining $ 9.12).
I only waited about 29 years to finally take those scuba lessons. You Bet I regret those years I spent without having learned to dive; stuff just sort of got in the way. . . . but, it’s time to make up for it!!
& you know what? Scuba diving is every bit as wonderful as I always knew it would be!!
Now I live in Arizona, & have been diving for only 3 years. I am a newbie; I have only a total of 40 dives. My open water certification was done in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) Mexico; I have a few dives in the BVI’s, 24 in the Northern Channel Islands of California (my personal favorite place to dive of all!), & several here in landlocked (dammit) Arizona, including lakes on the Mogollon rim (elevation over 7000’ msl), Oak Creek Canyon (just north of Sedona), and Lake Powell (for my AOW class). I’m hopefully making a 2-tank day trip to Lake Mead this coming week (I have to be in Vegas for a seminar), & am planning on the “blue hole” east of Albuquerque this summer.
& Mark, I really hope to make it out for a dive or 3 with you one day!!
I’m sure glad that the drinking isn’t such a big part of kid’s lives nowadays (well, at least in our town, & in my own children’s lives), but that’s a whole ‘nother topic. I’d like to think kids are smarter today than, well, than I was!
Anyhow, thought I’d just write a little note about my attempt at growing up, & finding something I love. Some things just come sort of late, & some of us are just slow learners, but I guess no matter when it happens it is still to be enjoyed to the fullest. Good things do come ! ! !
Jeff (in landlocked dammit Arizona)
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