On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Scuba Diving In The Bubbles Of Jacques Cousteau
Despite the horrific loss of life in the earthquake of 12 January 2010, Haiti remains a fascinating place to visit. Our memories of Haiti predate the earthquake, thus are inclined to be pleasant ones. Just as the countries of Europe have rebuilt after World War II, Haiti will come back….of course, with a lot of help. And despite the lingering sadness for a place we called home for nearly five years, we rejoice about the good times.
Scuba diving in Haiti was a lot of fun. Thu was certified in scuba there and the Footloose Forester was her regular dive buddy. He was also her assigned “dive buddy” at only her second open water dive, during her training period. Bill Reddig, her scuba instructor, chose to be the dive buddy and to monitor the progress of Wanda Treadwell, his other student diver; and assigned the Footloose Forester to monitor Thu during the training exercise.
We descended to 115 feet to witness the giant elephant-ear sponge that Jacques Cousteau said was the largest he had ever seen. Thu, the novice diver, showed no fear at that depth. Both she and Wanda were good students and Bill Reddig knew it, otherwise he would not have taken them so deep, so early in their training. Following his lead and his bubbles, our small group then began to ascend to another test site that Bill had picked out. Then at 90 feet depth, Thu gave up her mouthpiece and her air in a buddy breathing exercise that was most unexpected. The Footloose Forester was shocked at her bold action, but reciprocated by giving her his mouthpiece—as he was supposed to do as a dive buddy.
Thu was as fearless then as she was later on, as we hunted for lobsters among the reefs. During one dive, she handed him the dive knife she was carrying and then reached into a coral cavern to pull out a lobster that had backed in and braced himself to prevent being harvested. They are more correctly referred to as langouste in the Carribbean, but everybody knew what you were talking about. The Footloose Forester would normally put speared or stabbed lobsters into his net bag, but this one was too big for the bag. Also, he discovered that he was fighting a live lobster that he thought had been stabbed. It hadn’t! Only later did he learn that she had braced herself on the bottom and reached in with both hands to wrench the lobster from his cranny hole. Of course, the Footloose Forester spent the next 20 minutes wrestling with the biggest lobster she ever caught. When we reached shore, she told him everything, but especially about the things he had not seen as bag man.