Sunday, June 19, 2011

This one is for you, Dad!

A Gray Reef Shark patrols the wall at Rock Garden Interlude in West Caicos.  Most sharks are wary of divers and keep their distance.  We encountered three six-foot sharks on this wall.  They made pass after pass, approaching to within 2 feet of my 24mm lens.  Cool!

When I was a young boy growing up on the gulf coast of Florida my favorite TV show was "Sea Hunt". Lloyd Bridges played the character Mike Nelson - and he was my hero! I so much wanted to learn how to SCUBA dive, and be just like Mike!

My Dad always encouraged and supported me in learning new things. He gave me my first camera at age six, and patiently worked with me as I learned the basics of photography. He was a pretty talented photographer in his own right. We moved to Florida when I was in sixth grade. Our family spent many wonderful hours at the Clearwater beach. And I just loved swimming in the surf with the mask and snorkle my Dad bought for me. I learned the art of breath-hold diving, but my limited time underwater was just not enough! I dreamed of being just like Mike with his cool SCUBA gear!

I remember begging my Dad to let me learn how to SCUBA dive. His first response was that I was too young, and that maybe when I got a bit older I could learn. That worked for a while, but when my begging resumed my Dad realized that I was not going to drop the subject. So he told me stories of fishing trips with his buddies out in the Gulf. He described how they often saw sharks circling their small fishing boat. Dad figured those stories would surely discourage me from wanting to SCUBA dive.

As you might have guessed, they had just the opposite effect!

I finally realized my dream when I was old enough to make my own decisions as a senior in college. I took a certification class, and have been loving diving and photography ever since.

So this one is for you, Dad! You are my hero!

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