I learned to dive: 1984

Diving was one of the first things I was good at.  In 1984, I took my first diving lesson from Lloyd Bailey’s SCUBA.  Lloyd was teaching from his apartment in the complex we lived in.  My first open water dives were at Crystal River.  After the dive trips, we went to an all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp place.  But I never saw the manatees that made it really famous. Its been more than 25 years since I was at Crystal River, I still remember the clean water, feeding Vienna sausages to the fish, going through the rocky swim-through, buddy breathing (when we still shared an regulator – before an octopus was standard) with someone who ran out of air.

Shortly after the open water diving, I got my cavern diver certification from Lloyd. I knew that diving was for me.  There was no turning back.  It led to becoming a dive master and instructor, diving jobs in Turkey, Florida and Egypt, becoming a certified full cave diver (Bird’s Underwater), and eventually…. 15 years with WWF, WRI and WCS.

Manatees at Crystal River (photo: Bird’s Underwater)

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