How I got into diving

When I was growing up, my dad was an engineer for a major oil company and spent a lot of time working in Alaska. He was designing a pipeline anchor system that would work in the frigid and turbulent waters of Prudhoe Bay. While there, he met Jacques Cousteau, who happened to be one of my heroes (along with Lloyd Bridges of the TV show Seahunt). One time he returned with a sleek black neoprene wetsuit top. It had these yellow rubber strips that ran along the shoulders and down the sleeves, just like the ones Cousteau’s dive team wore. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and I wore it everywhere pretending to be a diver. By the time I turned sixteen, I’d bought a used scuba tank and regulator. No depth gauge, no air pressure gauge, no lessons. I’d put it one and dive as deep as the deepest parts of the lake would allow until I’d run out of air, then make a beeline for the surface. The next year, I got the first of my several scuba certifications and dove and spearfished in every lake, river, or stream clear enough to see my hand in front of my face.

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