My grandfather once told me, “to really understand a man you had to walk a mile in his shoes”. So, I guess to really understand a diver you have to dive a mile in his fins. Every pair of fins has a story; exotic and mundane places they have been. Detailing in their wear, the large pelagics they have had the good fortune to swim with, the dark, crystal clear caves they have inched through, the murky Midwest river water they have pushed aside in an effort to save a life or bring closure to a grieving family, the countless moments spent deep within one of hundreds of living and breathing pieces of world history littering today’s ocean floor. These fins are much more than a means of self-propulsion or another piece of dive equipment littering the lockers of the crazy-brave; they are the vehicles for today’s adventurer. Like the horses ridden by the pioneers of the old west, they drive the modern explorer to places only few dream of and even fewer ever experience. In an age when the top of Mt. Everest and the depths of the Mariana’s trench are located at the end of a television remote, adventure can still be found in the stories held within a diver’s fins. D. Hinton
This is the story of my fins…
When I was 8 years old I watched a lot of TV, as most kids that age do. One program I never missed was SEA HUNT!!!! I know now that Mom never missed it either because otherwise, she’d have to sit and listen to every little detail about how Mike Nelson killed a man-eating shark and the shark had tried to attack the beautiful lady scuba diver!!
I remember I told her how much I wanted to be like Mike Nelson and I knew I could learn to scuba dive overnight! I mean come on, they did it every week on Sea Hunt!! Mom listened and reminded me that I couldn’t even swim. Well that was in the fall of 1959 and the next summer she was loading me up in our old Chevy and we were heading to the Tell City pool for swim lessons.
It is truly ironic that nearly 40 years later I would find myself back in Tell City and again in the water at the Tell City pool, only this time I was learning to scuba dive with a PADI Instructor named Dave Faulkenberg.
Almost 12 years and 200+ dives later, my work has kept me busy and I haven’t dove nearly as much as I would have liked. I volunteer as a Firefighter, EMT, work odd shifts at the aluminum plant and head up the Hancock Co. Dive Rescue Team in addition to working as a Divemaster at Blue Meridian.
5 years ago I got into a Divemaster class for the sole purpose of wanting to start a dive team in Hancock Co. After the first two classes got cancelled the third class was a go and the first step to starting a dive rescue team was in place. In the summer of 2008, 3 persons drown in the Ohio River in our area. We responded to both of the incidents along with Perry Co. Rescue (Dave Faulkenberg) and DNR divers. The Judge and Physical Court of Hancock Co. began to recognize the need for a Dive Rescue team in our area. In November of 2009, the Hancock Co. Dive Rescue Team was officially recognized by the state. At that time, we received help from Rick Montague - EMA Manager and Dave and Susan at Blue Meridian assisted with our training and equipment needs.
When I took that scuba class in the summer of 1999, I never thought I would visit places like St. Vincent, Bimini or Walker’s Caye and dive in the beautiful blue waters that I have seen there…but I have and you can too!!
My Mom is gone now but with her help and the help of some good friends, a kid’s dream has become a reality! Make your diving dreams come true…get into Scuba!
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