Re: Extremely sad news - Leon Slavin has died

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Posted by tleemay on March 26, 2006 at 23:56:37:

In Reply to: Extremely sad news - Leon Slavin has died posted by Ken Kurtis on March 23, 2006 at 21:34:37:

I've been on the boat with Leon over the past 10 years, well
a lot. He was one of those characters who always had something
nice to say, or an observation about that day's diving that was
sometimes a bit out from left field. As has already been
pointed out, Leon wasn't into new fangled gadgets or fancy gear
that he felt he didn't need. His old Aquashot II disposable
camera housing and strobe was legendary for being the center
of many stories.

One time while at Santa Barbara Island, Leon surfaced a fair
amount of distance from the boat. While that wasn't uncommon
for Leon, this time he was acting a bit strange, looking left,
right, behind, around. He seemed to be acting a bit confused.
We flashed the divers OK sign and he returned it at once,
followed by a signal we had never seen before. He was holding
both of his arms out of the water above his head and was
clamping his thumb to fingers in a "talking puppet" fashion
rapidly, opening and closing his thumb to fingers numerous
times. I looked at Captain Tim and MHK and asked them if they
knew what Leon was trying to tell us. Shortly afterwards, Leon
flashed the OK sign again and dumped his air to once again slip
beneath the water to the world he loved so much.

A bit later Ian, who was working on the boat then, and I
noticed Leon's Aquashot II was floating down the port side of
the GE. I grabbed a gaff and pulled it out. We instantly knew
it was Leon's, so we stowed it hoping to suprise him with his
lost cam.

After the dive, we noticed that Leon was very depressed, but he
wouldn't tell us what the problem was. Perhaps he was embarassed, but we knew it had to be that he thought he lost
his prized Aquashot II and strobe (with macro framer that had
been bent and re-bent numerous times). While Ian ran into the
galley to get Leon his cam, I asked him what he was trying to
tell us with that funny signal he gave when he surfaced at mid -

"I was asking you guys if you could see my camera. I lost it
during the dive". Leon said.

Ian handed him his camera, which he was very grateful to know
he didn't loose afterall. From that point on to today, we
always referred to the open and closing of one's hands above
their heads as the "Leon Signal", indicating "Have you seen my

For most every trip with us since then, Leon would be greeted
with that signal from across the boat. I remember someone even
flashing him the Leon Sign at Chamber evening a few years ago.

I know we will miss him, and his Panama shirts with white linen

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