Friday, November 1, 2019
While at the University of Missouri in 1974, we were required to take a P.E. course. Growing up in Poplar Bluff, we went swimming a lot in the Black River, private lakes, the Current River, Tenmile Creek and swimming pools, so I decided to take swimming for conditioning as a P.E. class. One day, the instructor was absent, so we were met at the pool by Mr. Bill Bush, the director of aquatics at Mizzou. He took us to the classroom and explained he taught a class in scuba diving. He finished the introduction with slides of diving in Grand Cayman in the British West Indies. I signed up for the class right then, and we trained in the University pool and studied scuba theory in a classroom.
When the class was completed, you had to demonstrate your skills in open water to become certified. The choices to do this were in a local quarry, a trip to Bull Shoals Lake or a trip to Grand Cayman. I sold my 250 Yamaha dirt bike to get the basic diving equipment and pay for the trip to Grand Cayman. Five of us drove to Miami, staying one night on the beach and then getting on a plane to Grand Cayman. I had never traveled outside the U.S.; this was my first plane ride.
I was hooked and have been diving now for 45 years in places all over the world, including one of my favorite dives, The Blue Corner in the Rock Islands of Palau. If I had chosen to do the open water certification in a quarry or at Bull Shoals, I may not have become infatuated. One simple decision to take a P.E. course made a huge difference in my life.
Now I've done more than 2,000 dives. Both of my sons scuba dive, and it is a joy in life to experience diving with them. Like many avid divers, I have also become an underwater photographer, which is challenging and allows me to memorialize the journey. Most of my travel is for diving, and I encourage anyone young or old to try scuba.
I took the photos pictured here on my most recent dive trip to Wakatobi, Indonesia in September 2019.