I was asked recently why I’d gotten into scuba diving. All my life I’ve been an outdoorsy type person, but I’d spent all my time along rivers, out in the vast forests of the Pacific Northwest and in the Cascade Mountains. I’d spent some time on the coast and around Puget Sound, often fishing in bays
and such, but for the most part never really paid attention to the ocean. My family is so far removed from engaging in what they think is an “extreme sport” that even now, 30+ years later, they still think I’m insane. And that’s pretty much how I felt. Like many people, I’d look out over the waves and simply see the surface of the water never giving any thought at all to what might be underneath. It might as well been a blank piece of paper to me.
Growing up, my neighbor was a diver and very much into watching Sea Hunt and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and to me that was fascinating but at the same time so far beyond what I could ever begin to imagine myself doing that the possibility never entered my mind. At the time, I didn’t even like being in the deep end of a swimming pool. And the gear? At this time in my life I wasn´t allowed to hammer a nail into a board, let alone mess with something as complicated as scuba equipment. None of this was ever a whim as I grew up and worked through High School and eventually into the Air Force where I was stationed near Puget Sound. Forests, lakes, mountains, snow, backpacking, camping, 4 wheeling were at my fingertips
and then there was that salty stuff… Made for some nice photos of islands and ferry boats and such. But get into it? This is the late 70’s/earl 80’s. Have you seen Jaws? And it’s cold. Let’s get back to those large people eating sharks. Seen that movie? The water is murky as well as cold. And did you see the pictures of that Shark in that magazine? So, no… if it wasn’t for being in the right place, at the right time, and a very good friend of mine also in the Air Force at the time knowing how much I hated to be called a weenie and that I’d succumb to peer pressure, I may well still be an aircraft mechanic or doing some other land-based, technical oriented career. Instead I had a friend, a cheapskate at heart, who had finagled a 2-for-1 deal with a local dive shop that I literally ran into, coming around a corner who knew just the right buttons to push.
So, there ya have it. Peer Pressure is my final answer, Regis. And now, 30+ years later, I am unable to count the number of times I’ve thanked Kyle for it in the back of my mind.