The SCUBA Group has members with varied diving experience. From curious, I want to learn, to veteran Divers. Divers, please share with us your best memories/experiences while diving. Those members interested in learning to SCUBA dive, please discuss your perception and concept of sport diving and its appeal.
Come On Divers,
Talk to me about your experiences, bcause I am a "Diver Wanna Be". I can only imagine from what I see on TV, but you all are the "Real McCoys". I am awaiting on Ric to help me find a school in my neck of the woods, but in the meantime, anything u could give me a "Heads Up On", would be greatly appreciated. I await patiently, your response, suggestions, comments, recommendations, and encouragement to do what alot of you have been doing for quite some time. As for my perception and concept of sport diving, it is very limited, but the closest thing I have ever done to Scuba was snorkeling. (OK guys, don't laugh at me too long). But based upon that experience alone, gave me a different perspective of God's wonderful creation underwater. I warmly embrace the fact that just like anything else, there are good, bad, and ugly even in scuba diving, but I wanna learn more. God Bless You All.
Ric, U gotta get more people interested in the scuba section, that's all there is to it. I have a story to share with DAP members. My favorite story occurred during the HU spring break scuba diving trip to the Bahamas in March 1991. As you know, I taught scuba diving at Hampton University for a good number of years. The scuba club, the Underwater Explorers (but dubbed by the students as the Kaos Krew) had been going to the Florida springs and keys for about eight years, so we decided to do something different, more adventuresome, with memories for a lifetime. We leased a bareboat Shark sailboat for 18 divers with a boat captain for a one-week trip to the Bahamas. All the arrangements were made months in advance. Selling the trip was easy; the students were ready to go before the ink was dry on the flyer and application. But there was a problem! Thirty-six students, diving alumni and faculty signed up for the trip! Not to worry; we leased a second Shark sailboat and got the university greyhound bus to transport us to Watson Island Marina in Miami harbor. And we had to leave about 10 divers home because there was not enough room on the boats.
We sailed the 50 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Bimini in rain and heavy seas, but got through it in good shape. None of the students complained. I did my homework before leaving, and discovered there was a marina and hotel/night club complex owned by a Black Bahamian family. The name of the nightclub was the Compleat Angler (it does not exist any more; it was destroyed by fire in 2006), and it was a favorite refuge for such notables as Adam Clayton Powell (when he escaped from persecution) and Ernest Hemingway. Mr. Browne, whose first name escapes me at the moment, was a gentle, well-spoken man who greeted us upon our arrival at his marina, appropriately named Browne's Marina.
He bade goodbye to us every morning when we left the marina, and he greeted us every afternoon upon our return. After doing this charade for a couple of days, I had to ask Mr. Browne why he did this. He said, "Mr. Duplessis (he always addressed me by my sire name), my family has been in Bimini since 1939. We have owned the Compleat Angler and this marina since 1941. I was educated at Howard University, and so was my family and sons. We have seen the boats come and go with students on spring break from the states for many years. Mr. Duplessis, you are the first to visit us from an HBCU university, and we honor you for this!"
Wow! That blew me away! Here we were in Bimini on spring break having a good time, and here was this distinguished gentleman reciting history in the making. His words did not really resonate on me until days later, after we returned to Hampton University.
My last spring break trip to Bimini with students from Hampton University was in March 2003, the year I retired. Thre are many other stories to tell. But the fondest memories are the "first" events: the first scuba diving trip to the Florida Springs and Keys in 1984; the first Bimini trip in 1991; and the first North Carolina wreck diving trip in 1989. These memories remain with me as though the trips happened yesterday. And I believe the students who participated on these scuba trips are just as enriched that they, too, did something special, something more than just to hang out on the block at home.
That was a great story about your experience in Bimini with the students at Hampton University and the
Browne Family of the Bahamas. The Compleat Angler Night Club & Restaurant was formerly the home of Ernest Hemingway. In addition to the club and Marina, the Browne Family also owned Bimini's only Power Plant, and a small hotel on the island. The son of Mr. Browne Sr., who managed the Compleat Angler night spot and the Hotel was Ozzie Browne. Ozzie also was the leader of the Calypso Band that use to perform at the Club nightly. Everyone seem to love Ozzie, and I was saddened to hear about his demise several years ago, after tragically being assaulted in Bimini. Several of the Browne family members have since relocated to the Miami, Florida area. In celebrating the life of Ozzie, and the wonderful things accomplished by the Browne Family, I am happy to hear that one of your most memorable experiences was a trip to Bimini and the hospitable treatment received by the Brownes of Bimini, Bahamas.
- Ric P.
Thank you for your comment, Ric. I met Ozzie and his older brother, whose name escapes me, several times. Mr. Browne, Sr. whom I referred to in my narrative, was their father. Both brothers died tragically. I believe it was Ozzie who died in the fire that destroyed the Compleat Angler. All total, we made nine or ten trips to Bimini over the years during Spring Break. Most of the latter trips were made with Blackbeard's Cruises. Ozzie's Calypso group was called "The Calypsonians" (not very original - smile). I am happy to know that the Browne family settled in Miami, your neck of the woods. Perhaps we will meet them again one day.
Great story….That sounds like a great trip; I hope we can bring/restore that annual event through NSU. I think that with your wisdom and know how we can pull it off again and hopefully bring some more HBCUs aboard. Let’s do it big!