photographs document ASF Expedition 2.
me, and Mary wait to board Scuba-Do
before our first excursion on Scuba-Do
with my love
twin brother Al Worden
Mary, Dee, and Lexie
jolly crew of Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Expedition 2
Mary decided that she would
attempt to get her open water
scuba certification once again.I
thought that if anyone could get her through this test that Les Peaker
instructor from April could.
for Mary to have private
instruction from Les. She would fly down
a day earlier than Lexie and me.Les
would have all day to work with her on Wednesday.After
that we planned on all three of us
going out for two dives on Thursday afternoon.
feel comfortable sending Mary off
to face the dragon by herself.Unfortunately
we didn't have much of alternative.We
tried to minimize the amount of time that
Lexie would miss from school.If I
out with Lexie on Thursday morning instead of on Tuesday night with
would give Lexie and a full extra school day.
Mary met Les
on Wednesday morning and paid
him big money.The
fee was to cover her private instruction,
a couple of warm up dives on Thursday, and videographer services on
Saturday.At first Linn was going to
dive alone with Al on Thursday.That way
they could get their game plan down for diving with the rest of us on
and Saturday.After further
consideration they decided that we would just all dive together off of
boat on Thursday.
really anxious to hear back from Mary
after her morning session with Les.I
got a call from here at about in the afternoon. Some aspects
of her open water test with Les went well, others did not. Mary
was exhausted from the process. Originally the plan was for her
to go back
for more testing in the afternoon, but Mary was so tired she had to
pretty disappointed that Les took her
back to the lagoon at Jules’s where she had all the issues with
claustrophobia.I knew she would have
problems there.I hoped that if she got
out into the clear open water, things would go better for her.I felt like Les had let me down.
and I were on a very early flight to Miami.We had to
get up at about in order to get
to the airport on time.I spoke with
Mary before we got on the airplane.She
was about to meet Les for more open water testing.Mary seemed optimistic and I hoped that it
would be a good morning for her.
Lexie and I landed in Miami at around , I turned on my cell phone.Waiting
on the phone was a message from Mary.The
morning had not gone any better.
got water down her air passages again
while attempting to clear her mask.She
also jumped into the lagoon without her buoyancy compensator inflated.That meant that she sank to the bottom.The good thing with that was that she did not
panic.She worked through the hoses and
finally found the one that inflates the BC.
was ready to work with Mary some more,
but she had enough.She thought she
would try it again when we went out on the boat for our warm up dives.Hearing that message was a crushing
blow.I knew that it would not be easy for
Mary to make it through this but I thought Les would get her over the
top.I wanted to be able to share the
experience with her. I knew how much she was missing out on by not
to see the underwater life with her own eyes.
and I were picked up at the MiamiAirport by Linn and Dee of the Astronaut
Scholarship Foundation.They were
driving down to Key
Largo from Titusville.Since Miami was on the way it worked out for us to
catch a ride
with them.I was really thankful for the
lift.It meant that Mary and I wouldn't
have to rent separate rental cars.
first thing we did when leaving the airport
was take a wrong turn.We wound up on
the side streets of Miami and that was not a good thing. Linn tried
directions from a lady in a car beside us.The
lady claimed that she didn't speak English.We
stopped at a convenience store for
directions.The clerk didn't speak English
either!I think Linn’s response to the
“For crying out loud, this is America.”
lesson of the day was that if you don't
speak Spanish; don't ask for help in Miami.We finally
found our way back to the freeway without directions and resumed our
journey to Key
Largo.I was really
anxious to get there to see how Mary was doing.
to the Holiday Inn at Key Largo.I found
Mary seated with Al
Worden's wife Jill in the hotel restaurant.They
were about set to have lunch.Mary seemed
to be doing Okay; at least she put on a
a quick bite to eat, then went to the
hotel room to gather our equipment for the afternoon's dive.We were supposed to meet at the boat charter
dock at .People
slowly straggled in.Al was there. Les
finally arrived with Mary's BC and regulator.
asked the Scuba-Do crew if Lexie and I needed wet suits.They assured us
that no wet suit was necessary.Linn and
Dee showed up.
out to the first dive site.I was really
nervous. Al and Linn did the giant stride
off the boat
to begin their first dive. The plan for the rest of us was for Les to
the water and then for Mary to follow him.Lexie
and I would then follow Mary.Les jumped
into the water according to plan.
standing next to Mary, while she was
bent down working on her equipment.Mary
looked up at me and I saw that she was gripped in mortal fear.She said, “I don't think I can do this.”She looked like she was about to cry.I felt really bad seeing her this way.
this entire process, I tried to
be as supportive of her as she was of me.If
she needed someone to boost her confidence, I
would be there for
her.At the same time, I did not want to
push her into something that she did not want to do.
Mary's fear, I told her that if she
didn't want to dive, that she should stop. It
was no big deal. A wave of relief came over
Mary's face. I had no remorse or regrets when Mary decided not to go in
water.She was safe on the boat on the
surface and that was all that I could ask for.
mind now had to shift gears.I had to
worry about myself and Lexie.Lexie and I
donned our equipment.It was my turn to do
the giant stride off of
the boat and into the water.Doing the
giant stride had really not gotten any easier for me since April.It was a big step to make.I held my mask and regulator with one hand
and my weight belt with the other.
tried to blank my mind and stepped off
into the abyss.It was a relief to me to
actually be in the water once the stride is over.I
grabbed on to the line trailing the boat as
Les instructed.Lexie followed me into
told us to start our descent.We began
going down, but I was having trouble
getting to the bottom.Les went back up
to the boat and got some extra weight for me.
shocked at the diving conditions.They
were much worse than what we had
experienced in April.Visibility was not
as good and there was a strong current. Les took us off swimming into
current.It was really hard work.I struggled to keep up.Lexie
was a little behind me and a little higher.With
her positioning it was hard for me to
pointed out a spotted blue flounder on
the bottom.That was pretty cool to
see.He later told us that it was a
fairly rare sighting in those waters.Even
with the more difficult diving conditions, we
dive.It was good to get our fins wet
again.Views of the fish were
the dive was over we came up a fare
distance from our boat.Fortunately Les
had planned this so that current would carry us back towards the boat.Lest told us to lay on our backs and just
float back to the boat.
relieved when we got on the
boat.I was happy to have the first dive
behind us and to have been able to get reacquainted with the water.
was pretty tired from the first
dive.She really didn't want to seem to
do another one.We got to the next dive
site.I hoped that the current wouldn't
be quite so bad.We did our giant
strides into the water.
four of us followed Les around on this
dive.He was our tour guide pointing out
a variety of sea life.One of the things
I saw was a huge blue parrot fish.I had
never seen one that looked that blue before.
followed Les along, I found myself
right next to Al on his left side.I was
just slightly behind him.At one point
Al swam his left arm backwards for directional control. His hand popped
right in the face.Al signaled his
apologies underwater.To me there was no
apology necessary.I thought it was
pretty funny.How many people can say
that an Apollo astronaut has popped them in the face?Well, Okay all except for that wacko that
Buzz Aldrin clocked.
was staying around near the
surface.She was tired and I think was
having problems equalizing.We kept an
eye on her and she followed us as we traversed the reef.The visibility on this reef was better and
the current was less.
even gave snorkeling a try with
Dee.It was hard for Mary to let go of
the boat's ladder.She did get her face
in the water though which was a big step.I
think some of Mary's fright when we got out to the
first dive site was
a fear of heights.She does not do well
with heights and seeing the bottom through the relatively clear water
was a new
experience for her.It was another sense
finished our dive and I was
thrilled.I was really glad that we were
able to do these two warm up dives under Les's watchful supervision.Surviving on the boat was also a good
experience and good test for Mary.Besides
her aversion to heights, she is also subject
sickness.She was able to prove to
herself that she could withstand the motion of the boat off the Florida
Keys.That was a big accomplishment.
night all of us were going to go out to
were going to be joined by United States
Marine John Smith and his girlfriend Marilyn.John
would be diving with us the next day.His
flight arrangements didn't allow him to
make it in time for our warm up dives.
had a tremendous amount of diving
experience.I was told that he was the
Marine equivalent of the Navy Seals.I
felt somewhat intimidated to be diving with someone of this level the
day.I hoped that I wouldn't make too
big of fool out of myself from my lack of experience.
we got dressed for dinner, Mary, Lexie
and I headed out to the Tiki bar by the pool. We were joined shortly by
and Dee.I was very happy and in a
mood.I just cannot emphasize enough,
how good it felt to have the first two dives under our belt.
little bit, Al and his wife Jill came
out of their room and walked over to join us in the Tiki bar.I looked at what Al was wearing and I could
not believe my eyes.He was wearing the
exact same Tommy Bahamas Hawaiian shirt that I was.What were the odds of that happening?I felt kind of embarrassed.I
was concerned that Al would think I was
stalking him.Al came over and we had a
great laugh over our taste in clothes.I
told Al that we had to be careful or guest at the hotel would mistake
Smith and Marilyn joined us.It was great
to meet John.Getting to know him, my
intimidation went away.He was a fun
guy to be around.As he sat down at the
table, his glasses fell apart. A screw had come out of the frame.I'm all to familiar with this scenario.We looked and by some miracle we were able to
find the screw on the table.
wanted to put his glasses back
together.With her young eyes, she could
no doubt see it better than the rest of us.I
took Lexie and John's glasses and we went over to
the main bar.The light was better there.I helped Lexie get the glasses put back
together.I then gave them to her for
her to give to John.
was thrilled.He promised to buy her
whatever gift she
wanted in return.After a few
photographs, we headed out to dinner.Lexie
sat near John and Marilyn and had a long
conversation with them.It was great to
see her so comfortable with
someone that she had just met.
was good, but I was fading fast.We had
gotten up so early for our airplane
flight. We also had expended a lot of energy on our two dives.I was glad when dinner that night was
over.I was in need of some good sleep
back at the hotel.As we left the
restaurant, there was a beautiful view of the Moon.It was amazing to think that I had just dove
with and ate dinner with one of the very few people in this world who
the Moon close up.
Our dive adventure
continued the next day on Friday. For the account of this
day follow the ASF EXP 2 B link.