Gary Gentile

Ten Questions with Gary Gentile Gary GentileQ. When / where did you start diving? A. I was certified in Philadelphia in 1970. Q. What motivated you to become a diver? A. I used to do a lot of spelunking (cave exploring), some in Pennsylvania but most in Virginia and West Virginia. The grotto that changed my life was Blue Hole, Virginia. The entrance was a sinkhole at the bottom of which flowed an underground river. I lowered an inflatable raft 90 feet down to the water level, and then climbed down a rope into the raft. I convinced two friends to go with me. We paddled along this subterranean passageway, and explored some side passageways that were dry. Half a mile from the entrance, the rocky roof dipped down to surface of the river, blocking farther exploration. The water was crystal clear and 50 feet deep. I figured that if I took a diving course, I could return to Blue Hole and explore the submerged portion of the passageway, and hopefully discover an air pocket on the other side. Immediately upon my return home, I called the YMCA and signed up for diving lessons. After I was certified, I was never able to convince anyone to lower dive gear 90 feet down into the river. I never got to explore the other side of the submerged passageway. In the meantime I discovered wreck-diving. Gary Gentile FishingQ. Where have you been? A. I was an infantryman in Vietnam. I have skied in Austria, Colorado, Quebec, and all the States in the northeast quadrant (except for Connecticut). I have done a great deal of backpacking and mountain climbing in Pennsylvania, New England, the western States (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota, and Washington, among others), and once in Australia. Except for one trip down the Rio Grande in Texas, and another down the St. John River in Maine, all my wilderness canoeing trips took place in Canada (Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories). I have dived off every State along the American eastern seaboard, from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to the Dry Tortugas. I have dived in all five Great Lakes. I have also dived off England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Vanuatu, and off a number of islands in the Caribbean, plus Bermuda. Recently I dived off San Diego, California. Q. What diving accomplishment are you most proud of? A. The Monitor. More important than the dive was winning the suit against NOAA and the federal government. This case not only cleared the way for future generations to dive on the site of the Civil War ironclad, but established the precedent that American citizens do not have to abide by NOAA regulations with regard depth. Although NOAA divers are not permitted to dive deeper than 130 feet, non-NOAA divers may dive as deep as they want. Q.What will the sport of diving be like 20 years from now? A. I speculate that tank diving will yield to rebreather diving. Q. Who do you admire in the diving community? A. Everyone who carries the torch of human progress another step farther. Gary Gentile portaging canoeQ. Do you have any pre-dive, dive, or deco rituals? A. I always spit into my mask, I breathe slowly and deeply, and I blow air rings to pass the time. Q. Do you have any advice for a new drysuit diver? A. Try it. You won’t like it – you’ll love it. Q. Do you know any good dive / fish jokes? A. More than you want to hear. They’re all groaners and bad puns (or so people tell me; I think they’re clever). Q. Where can people find out more about you, your courses, and products? A. On my website: A brief biography is on the home page. Of my 51 book titles, those that are presently in print can be viewed on different screens. The Lusitania Controversies contains the complete history of wreck-diving, including my participation in the activity. Also included is a real-life account of my combat service in Vietnam. Lonely Conflict is a novelized autobiography of my military service.