Diving Into a New Avocation

If you are in the midst of planning a summer vacation, and haven’t been voluntold to help organize your family reunion (lucky you), maybe consider taking a scuba diving adventure this year. 

We have two folks at FBLG, Joe Press and Keith Ferguson, who have been scuba diving since 1993 and 1989 respectively. With over 600 combined dives, their underwater holidays are enough to convince the most aquaphobic of us to grab a wet suit and make a descent. 

Joe Press

Joe was first introduced to scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico where he participated in a free “Scuba Experience” session offered through a resort. Of course, the free session was designed to entice sweet, unsuspecting vacationers (such as Joe) to purchase lessons, which he fell for hook, line and sinker.

Over the next 25 years, Joe traveled around the world to remote dive locations. His favorite dive destination is Palau, located in the western Pacific 1,000 miles southwest of Guam. Its most notable dive sites are Blue Corner and the German Channel. The water is warm and visibility is good, allowing divers to observe grey reef sharks, white-tip sharks, manta rays, cuttlefish and much more.

There are many reasons why Joe continues to be attracted to scuba diving. One is the variety of destinations and divers he encounters. Joe explains that, “divers are a different breed and while it is always hard to generalize, divers as a group travel easy, are not picky, finicky or pretentious and are rational in their approach to life.” He also considers diving to be a great recreational activity because it requires your undivided attention. Then there is always the sea life, “with many creatures still so foreign to us, it is like visiting another world.”

Currently, Joe has over 400 dives, but still has so many sites he wants to visit. His next trip will be to the Red Sea in November.

Keith Ferguson

Keith began his diving avocation with a six-week long scuba course, where he received a National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certificate. He wanted to remain underwater for extended periods in order to view aquatic life up close and explore the marine habitat.

One of his favorite diving locations is the San Juan Islands off the Friday Harbor in Washington State. With a plethora of aquatic life, the San Juan Islands is an ideal spot for pole spear fishing.

The most interesting dive destination for Keith was the Jules Underground Lodge in Key Largo, Florida. The underwater hotel is five fathoms below the surface and was previously used to study the effects of ambient pressure and solitude on astronauts. Now you can stay at the hotel for 24 hours of underwater exploration and sleeping.

In addition to diving for pleasure, Keith volunteered as an emergency diver for the Spokane County Sheriffs Water Rescue Team, where he was able to enhance his diving skills for swift water, ice diving, deep diving and rescue diving. 

Emergency rescue diving might be a bit of leap for first-timer divers. But who wouldn’t want to give recreational scuba a whirl this summer?