|The last dive of the expedition
was targeted for a dive site known as "Pillars Reef". Lexie
and I had also been on this reef back in April. This was one of
the few dive sites in the world to feature pillar corral. Lexie
was still having equalization problems. She asked Les what she
should do. Les told her that if it hurt, she should stop.
Lexie followed his recommendation and chose to snorkel on top. At
this point I felt proud that she was able to make that call and not
force herself into something that would hurt her.
Al and I did our giant strides into the water. I
was feeling pretty comfortable at this
point. I tried to concentrate on keeping
my legs straight. I also focused on
breath control. I had no fears under the
sea at this point. I was relaxed and
focused on become more efficient with my swimming.
coral had to be one of the greatest things that I had seen
underwater. I felt like I was on another
planet. Who could ever imagine what
sights lie beneath the sea.
problem during these dives was when someone would stop to look
for an eel. I was Okay as long as we
were moving. When they stopped, I found
it really difficult to stay in the same spot. I
was really afraid that I would bump into the coral
and erase decades
I also found
on this dive that my mask was getting more water in it than it
had on previous dives. I wasn't sure
what caused this. I didn't panic though;
I followed the procedure to clear it. It
really was no big deal.
Al came over to check my pressure gauge. I
found that I was again down to 800 PSI. It
was time to head back to the boat. Al
came up to the surface with me. I wished
that he would have stayed with Linn, John, and Les.
I knew that I could get back to the boat at
this point. With a dive buddy though,
you should never go off alone.
the boat and finned my way towards it. Al
followed behind me. We got to the boat and
I climbed back on
board. Al chose to stay down below for a
while and explored the area directly underneath the boat.
respects, I was saddened that this would be my last dive on this
trip. In other ways, I was relieved that
it was over. For someone of my swimming
ability it takes a great deal of courage to attempt something like
Dee, and Marilyn were off snorkeling. I
was glad that they were having as good of
time on the surface as we had down below. After
a while, all of the divers returned followed
shortly afterwards by
our gear and made ready for the ride back to port.
Mary, Lexie, and I were sitting on one side
of the boat with Al sitting across from us.
point, Al said to me, ‘Jerry you are amazing.” I
was confused; I had no idea what he was
talking about. At first I thought he was referring to
taking Lexie on all of these trips. I had to ask him what
he meant. He answered, “For someone who
was unable to swim,
to do the things that you do underwater now is just amazing.” I was flattered. I
probably turned red from embarrassment. I
didn't think my accomplishment was any big deal. I
do what I did to impress
people. What I did, I did for me. I
did it for the experience. Although, I
must admit that it made me feel really special to
receive this compliment from someone who had flown to the Moon.
time John came up. He told
me “Jerry you have the second biggest cajones of anyone that I have
met.” This meant a lot coming from
John. John was a former Marine Recon
Diver One. This was Marine equivalent of
the Navy Seals. For him to tell me that
was the ultimate compliment even though I am not worthy of that praise. Nobody
faces greater dangers than the Navy Seals or
Marine Recon One. I have the utmost
respect for people who
serve in our armed services.
explained that the only other person he had met with bigger
cajones was someone he knew in the Marines. This
person had bluffed his way into airborne
training without any prior
airborne experience. The night before
his first parachute jump, this Marine received instructions from his
on what he needed to do for a jump. The
next day with that meager amount of training this Marine jumped out of
I was blown
away by their comments. Most people would
probably call me insane for doing what I did.
Al and John were just impressed. With gaining
the respect from those peers, it just does not get any better.
our adventure crew met up for dinner at Coconuts. It
was a restaurant where we had dined with
Scott Carpenter just a few months before. Al
and his wife Jill were in a little bit of a rush
that night. Ohio State and the University
of Michigan had
big football games that night. They
wanted to get back to the room to watch the games.
caught up with Al. He was
watching the University of Michigan on the big screen television in the
lobby. It didn't matter to me who won
the games that night. I knew that no one
would experience a bigger victory than we did with our diving