Q. When / where did you start diving?
A. I taught myself to snorkel in 1967 or 1968 and became a certified diver in 1970. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time.
Q. What motivated you to become a diver?
A. Probably a lot of things, but I think it started mainly with watching Seahunt reruns when I was in kindergarten and the first grade. My mother made me toy scuba cylinders out of oatmeal cartons so I could swim around the house playing Mike Nelson.
Q. Where have you been?
A. One of the blessings I've enjoyed is the opportunity to dive many places. My diving has ranged from popular destinations including Bonaire, Grand Cayman,
the Bahamas, Hawaii, Fiji and Malta to tec destinations like the USS Monitor, some of the remote parts of the Nohoch Nah Chich cave system, the Cortes Banks and Cannonball cave in Missouri. It's a long list.
Q. What diving accomplishment are you most proud of?
A. Like most endeavours, in diving most major accomplishments are team efforts, not solo efforts. Therefore, I try not to take pride (not that I'm perfect
in this) but rather feel privileged to be the "tip of the spear" at times. Probably the most noteworthy of these experiences has been exploring the downstream side of Sistema Camilo with the Cambrian Foundation Akumal Cave Diving Expeditions in 2000, 2004 and 2005. The first year was especially notable because we were putting as much as a 1000 feet of line through unexplored passage on a single dive.
Q. What will the sport of diving be like 20 years from now?
A. The same, only different. Given its simplicity and reliability, open circuit single cylinder diving will be the mainstay for recreational diving. There'll be innovations, but it will be more similar than different from diving today. Tec diving, on the other hand, will change a great deal. I
think you'll see closed circuit become the primary scuba system in tec diving in the not too distant future.
Q. Who do you admire in the diving community?
A. This is a long list because there are many people who have admirable qualities. I admire Drew Richardson, COO of PADI, for his passion for diving and genuine respect and love for people. Although a competitor, I admire Tom
Mount because he shows us that diving is for young people -- but through our health and fitness habits, we get to decide what "young" is. I admire the late Sheck Exley for being the most accomplished cave diver who has ever lived, and for his humility about it. I admire Jill Heinerth for not only becoming a leading-edge, role model diver, but managing to do it front a camera time and again to show nondivers what they're missing. This list could go on.
Q. Do you have any pre-dive, dive, or deco rituals?
A. Sure. I plan the dive and dive the plan.
Q. Do you have any advice for a new drysuit diver?
A. Invest in the best suit you can because you'll get more use out of it than you imagine. Better is cheaper in the long run. It's not hard to dive in a dry suit, but take a course in it so you learn some of the potential problems and how to prevent them -- and to handle them if prevention doesn't work. A course is typically a couple of dives and a lot of fun.
Q. Do you know any good dive / fish jokes?
A. Good ones? Bad ones, perhaps, but not good ones.
Q. Where can people find out more about you, your courses, and products?
A. Check out padi.com, cambrianfoundation.org and sportdiver.com. You can also find my column, Diversed in Sport Diver.