Scuba Diving Musings – Where Do Your Underwater Roots Originate?
What first got you interested in scuba diving? What history lies behind your ability to drop onto a reef, and watch as an alien environment opens up to you?
Before my teenage years all things water began fascinating me. One of the first merit badges I earned in Boy Scouts was the fishing badge.
And one summer I spent every day at the swimming pool. I spent so much time in the water that my hair turned green.
I sat glued to the TV every time an episode of Sea Hunt was on.
But I never thought a lot about scuba diving through my teens, twenties, and thirties.
Then during my early 40s I started working with a guy who dove, and belonged to a local dive club called Midwest Divers.
And suddenly a whole new world became a part of my life.
Midwest Divers formed in 1961 before PADI existed, and while NAUI was young. The club created its own training program with a club diving instructor to bring new members into the diving community.
Their entry package offered a certification course along with the first year’s membership. That was my first physical introduction to the sport of diving, and one of the most treasured memories of my life.
Over time the club affiliated with PADI, and the club instructor certified through PADI’s instructor course. They still offered that introductory package. They just made it an official PADI basic open water certification along with a membership to the club.
One feature of Midwest Divers when I joined was that they held a dive weekend every month. During the months of June, July, August, and September the dive events were two-day camping outings with groups of divers jumping into the water all weekend long.
Diving during the other months of the year were one-day dive trips to local quarries.
The January dive usually involved cutting a hole in the ice, and dropping a line through to the water below. The line led the divers back to the hole so they could climb out of the water.
The last few years seen an end to the January ice dive. That event, along with the February dive, turned into a visit to an indoor swimming pool. And December’s dive became a club Christmas party.
We still schedule diving in local quarries and lakes in the other months. Attendance is somewhat lower before spring’s warmth, and after the beginning of fall’s chill, but a few brave (or insane) divers still get wet on those occasions.
Midwest Divers celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011.
Although I certified later in life than some, my scuba diving roots run deep. And I’m a proud member of Midwest Divers.