Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival

Today was super fun!

It started early with a group of us at the dive center heading to Washtenaw Community College to set up our booth for the 28th Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival. For me this has always been a great opportunity to promote Divers Incorporated and the Quarry but for the last three years it has been a fabulous opportunity to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones. This year was no exception.

The day was great. I had a presentation on River Diving that was well attended and the only downside was that I did a horrible job trying to cram 2.5hours of material into 50 minutes. I know people got a lot out of it but it was super rushed and I didnt finish and had to skip tons of material.

The rest of the day was spent in the booth catching up with old friends, Meeting new people, and finally putting a face to a name on many of the people who I know from facebook or other online chatrooms. There were a lot of people there and I am really looking forward to the summer and having an opportunity to dive with a lot of Great Divers. Only 31 Days until the Quarry opens for the 2009 season. AND only three more weeks until scubafest in Columbus. I am looking forward to seeing more of my friends at that event.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Glimpse at Mortality

Today was an interesting day for me.

I got a call that there was a dive center just outside of Cleveland where the owner had died and they were selling off the dive center stuff. Always wanting to help out where I can and to see if there was stuff to get I went out there with a friend of mine named Jim. I went looking for rental equipment, Bank bottles, tanks, lift bags, fixtures and compressor parts, what I got was some stuff I knew that the widow would have a hard time selling and a sobering reminder of my mortality.

The store was a neat little place. Set in a house on a busy street it looked like it was once a pretty cool establishment, not high society but cozy. Inside the dive shop, Jim and I went to work looking for stuff we may need. As I was going through boxes of parts, piles of rental gear, racks of fins, hundreds of accessories and lots of stuff that will someday have a use for someone, I thought of my kids and Jill (my wife for any strangers who might read this) and what they would have to go through should something ever happen to me. I don't think about the mortality we all face very often so it was a kind of shock. What I understand is that the previous owner, Joe, of this store was a guy a lot like me. God love him, he liked being a scuba diver, loved being an instructor and loved his wife and the life that they had made. His heart attack a bunch of years ago didn't prompt him to change his life enough to avoid the stroke that finally took him from our world. A collector like me, Joe had lots of stuff... valuable to him and now being sorted out into two neat little piles that Jim and I would pay his widow for and take away so she could begin to start over.

Terry, Joe's widow and the new owner of this dive center, told us she was getting out of diving entirely, couldn't see herself diving without her husband around anymore. That struck a chord with me. A resonant, minor chord with a flat "a" string. I know if something happened to me I would no longer have any say in what Divers Incorporated would be, or what my legacy would be. It is my hope that Jill would keep diving and that she, and all of my dive buddies, would show my kids, Natalie and Olivia what their Dad loved so much about the underwater world. It is so much of their life already, it would be a shame for them to miss out on what we all love.

Those of you who know my wife would appreciate this. I told her what my thoughts were as I went through the piles of stuff that was in this dive center. The thoughts I have now shared with you and my empathy towards the people involved. Her reply was, and I am paraphrasing, "well, you better just clean up your (stuff) now and throw it all away so I don't have to." Leave it to her to take an emotional thought and break it down to the basic sub particles. Needless to say, I will take her advice and try to sort my life a little more... and take care of myself a little bit more.

So you don't think there will be a sale at Divers Incorporated or you should go dumpster diving behind the dive shop any time soon, I plan on living for a REALLY long time... (a tarot card reader once told me that last birthday I would celebrate would be in 2058 and that's the date I am shooting for. I will be 90.)

I have too much to live for to start thinking about anything else. I'd like to dive with my girls someday... I'd like to teach a few more people how to dive... I'd like to work on my new "bucket list" (my high school one is almost done)... and I have a whole bunch of new stuff I got at this dive shop sale to sort... (I know Jill, more junk.)

Dive Safe, Hug those you love for me, and lets start thinking about summer... winter is so depressing. Only 37 more days until we open the quarry and spring finally starts...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meeting Jerold White

Today an awesome gentleman, eighty years young came into Divers Incorporated with a fabulous set of pictures and stories. His name is Jerold White. It seems that Jerold used to own Whites Skindiving Supply in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 1950's. His stories were captivating. Jerold was an early underwater filmaker having build a housing for his 16mm camera out of harware store plastic. He had also an opportunity to dive on some very historic shipwrecks and some very cool stuff. He told Rob and I all about the days of discovery in the late 1950's when you had to use a grappling hook a couple feet above the bottom to find your wrecks. The name of his dive club was the Ann Arbor Amphibians and they used to do trips with the Ford Seahorses. (if there are any Ann Arbor Amphibians that you know please have them contact me.) I am hoping that Jerold would aggree to come and speak at one of our PADI Diving Society Meetings. We are going to talk more about it this week. He is going to search for some of his old films and if he finds them I am sure we are in for a treat. His still pictures were fabulous.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Keeping it going...

So I haven't decided if this is going to be a daily thing, weekly thing, random thing or something else. I am pretty sure it is going to evolve but for the most part I think it will become an "exceptional day" thing. My life is pretty interesting since that it is usually periods of intense exitement with periods of boredom and sometimes anxiety mixed in. So lets see where it goes.

If you want to subscribe directly to this blog it is going to be part of the Divers Incorporated website as soon as I can figure out how that works. I am also not too sure of the way it appears on Facebook. The actual blogspace is cool, with colors and the ability to put pictures in. ( I am going to put a picture at the end of this blog to see how it looks... if it is less than spectacular I will leave it up for a few days and then delete the picture and put a note about it. Not sure if it will show on Facebook. I am also going to look and see how to make this feed to your page. I know you can do it, I just don't know how.... evolution will figure it out.

Today was an Exceptional Day. Thank you if you were part of it. It started with a training session with the Wayne County Airport Authority Dive Team at the Big Pool at Eastern Michigan University. Thing is I was the instructor. It is a position that was created for me by the people on the team and their chief. We have been working together on and off for four years on the idea and this year it is something we made happen. The group of people I got to teach today are some of the most professional people I have ever had the privilege of diving with. I really enjoyed the day.

To make the day better, we had a busy day at the dive center with people who are interested in learning to dive, divers getting their equipment ready for summer, and snorkelers heading out for spring break! In the evening, I taught a refresher course to two people who have been supporters of my dive center for many years. Getting back into diving after some time off and ready for the trip they have planned next week. Days like today make me really happy with my chosen career. It helps alot when you are SO ready for spring like I am.

Remember to check out if you are looking at this on Facebook and see what my intention was for the page. Thanks for Reading.

Coming soon to a Lake or Quarry near you....

Photo Courtesy of David Haas

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just Getting Started

Since I seem to have recently had a lot of people interested in my diving exploits and I need a place to express my thoughts, I figured I would start a blog. If you like it, keep reading it. I will try to post things that are sometimes random, sometimes enlightening and sometimes downright bizarre... but attempting to be entertaining.

If you don't yet know who I am, here is a simple introduction. I am the proud owner of Divers Incorporated headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have a lot of interest in scuba diving have started nearly 500 people on the journey of exploration to the underwater world. I am currently spending time waiting for summer to arrive so I can get busy with the summer of fun. I LOVE Scuba diving and hope to express my love for the underwater world, for my family, and for the people who I enjoy exloring with to you my blog reader. Comments are expected and encourage, constuctive debate welcome, and most of all a joy of learning and exploring our world is enjoyed.