173 and Counting

Diver Dan, Cozumel July 2004

July 2003 I got my first introduction Into the world of SCUBA diving. Mask on, check. Breathy thingy, Check. Depth, 15 foot, I really don’t know, I didn’t check the gauges. Wasn’t really even sure you needed to check gauges. Water temperature warm. But at 15 feet in a lake my first time experiencing diving, I decided I was done. SCUBA diving was not for me.

Later that evening my daughter was getting her introduction to SCUBA diving. Hers was in the swimming pool at Big Bobber resort in Shell Knob. Danielle loved it. She was at the bottom that pool for over an hour, having the time of her life. After that, there was a brief discussion with my wife. I was informed one of us was going to dive with Danielle and it was not going to be her. Using my deductive powers of reasoning I figured out if it wasn’t going to be my wife, then it looked like I was going to learn to SCUBA dive.

Diver Dan diving in ocean in the early 2000's.

After checking the local dive shops I decided my Danielle and I were going to learn to dive with Extreme Sports SCUBA in Joplin. We got signed up, did the classroom portion with no problem. The next week we were at the pool for two nights of being in the water. This wasn’t so bad, I might be OK.

The following weekend was off to the lake. At the lake, we didn’t have the greatest visibility in the world. Unlike my first experience though I felt better. We had classroom and pool time behind us. That helped with feeling more relaxed under low visibility. My air consumption was a different story. “Do you have a propane tank I could fill to see if I could stay down a little bit longer?” Was my first question after diving the first day.

Now over 14 years later and over 2100 dives, I have grown to really enjoy the sport. I got certified August 2003. Before diving in Hawaii in October, I did a few dives in Beaver Lake in September. More of working on the comfort level. November and December I found myself back at the lake, then a polar bear dive on January 1, 2004. Someone talked me into diving in February and March and April, then summertime rolled around and I didn’t miss a month. By pumpkin carving dive time in October I dove every month since being certified.

Diver Dan, Beaver Lake, Safari Hunt 2014

Places I’ve dove include

Hawaii, Belize, Honduras, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Cozumel, Mermet Springs, Illinois, to the blue hole in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on down to Athens SCUBA Park in Athens Texas, Diving at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Tenkiller Lake, Table Rock Lake in Missouri, Swepco Lake in Arkansas and of course Beaver Lake in Arkansas. And that’s just to name a few. 174 months later, I haven’t missed a month of diving.

Sometimes when the wind blows and rain falls and the weather hates me, I wonder who in the world convinced me I had to dive EVERY single month. Sometimes I would say thank you and sometimes they might get kicked in the….never mind, it was my idea.  And I don’t regret it. I have had some great guys and gals that make sure I keep going. So if Brent Reeves, Ric Ogle, Kim Brungard, or Chris “Taco Gringo” Parrish give me a shout we can get March out of the way. No, I did not forget about February, because I will be diving in Cozumel.

And special thanks to Carlene La Due who has had to prod me along on this journey of diving each month.

Jebadiah Claus, Cozumel May 2016

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