Monday, June 6, 2011

My First Dive - It Was A Gas, Gas, Gas.

This is what my infamous Gas Mask looked like.

When I was five years old I happened to watch a TV episode of a scuba diving adventure show called Sea Hunt.I was so inspired that I grabbed a war surplus gas mask that I had begged my dad to buy me at the county fair and ventured out into our backyard. We had a large iron cauldron that was filled with water and goldfish. My gas mask had goggles and a long hose attached to a canister. Surely it would work underwater, or so I thought. After putting on the gas mask I heaved myself up on the lip of the cauldron and dunked my head in the water. Not only could I clearly see the goldfish swimming, but I also could see the rust flakes on the bottom of the caldron. Soon enough, water began seeping into the mask. “No worries”, I thought, “I have a breathing hose.” Of course, the gas mask flooded with water and I had to abort. No one was there to witness my first underwater adventure, but I can remember it as if it was yesterday.
From that moment, I was hooked on the idea that one day I would become a scuba diver. While growing up I was drawn to watching scuba diving oriented documentaries such as "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" and the shark diving adventures of Australia’s Ron & Valerie Taylor. These were my boyhood heroes. During my childhood, I can’t tell you how many garden hoses I cut up to use as a breathing hose attached to large 26 ounce Coke bottles. While none of these makeshift devices ever worked, it never dampened my desire to one day breathe underwater. I eventually learned to scuba dive in British Columbia’s Emerald Sea when I was 22. My interest in underwater photography soon followed, as I wanted to bring back images of the things I saw beneath the sea to show family and friends. I actually learned photography and how to adjust a camera’s f-stops and shutter speeds 60-feet beneath the waves.