SIDEBAR - Who's riding onboard the dive boat

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SIDEBAR# 1 FOR DIVER MAGAZINE ARTICLE (printed in next item below this)

South Florida Diving Headquarters’ Manifest:
A slice of Americana (with a Canuck thrown in)


The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker is so one hour ago. Try three legless vets, three holidaying tattooed DEA divers, a spear totting husband and wife and a self-confessed air points whore.
One morning late in April, the following signed up for a morning of diving.
• Three members of SUDS (Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba). One man lost both legs in Afghanistan. The other two each lost a leg in Iran. They are accompanied by a wife and Captain John W. Thompson, president of SUDS.
The group tries to dive in Pompano once every 3-months. The men don’t talk much, but, the Afghanistan vet, walking in full gear on two stumps cut above the knees, says that underwater he “isn’t disabled”. The trip is sponsored in part by Body Glove.
• Seth Miller is a freelance computer expert and an avid collector of air miles. For almost two years Miller has been buying the cheapest airline tickets he can find that give him the most air mile points possible. The farther he can travel with the most number of stops, the happier he is. And if he gets bumped? Nirvana.
Why does he do this? He is collecting air miles to take his wife first class to Singapore. Unique? He says not. In his travels he meets other people just like him and they swap information about the best deals out there. Check out his website at: www.wanderingaramean.com.
• Spear totting mama. The 40-something couple is playing hooky from work to go diving to catch dinner. They are dropped off a distance from the rest of the divers. They catch nothing let a big lobster live (out-of-season). I overhear them mutter “Hamburger Helper Tonight” as I walked to the head.
• Three Drug Enforcement Agents, one of who is on the DEA dive team. He has a massive tattoo of a hard hat on his chest and smaller one on his arm. They are taking a day-off work, “No Pictures Please”.
• 60-year old Florida retiree wears a Montreal Expo jersey and keeps to himself near the bow of the pontoon boat. At the end of the 2-tank charter he apologizes for being unsocialable … “ I’m seasick prone.”

CUTLINES:
Top left. One of South Florida Diving Headquarters’ four dive boats. Pontoon boat has a head, two engines, easy to mount ladders, Coast Guard approved life jackets, snacks, drinks and water. Pompano Beach boat usually goes out twice a day and makes the occassional night dive as well.
Middle. Members of SUDS left their legs in the car when they went diving.
Right. The South Florida Diving Headquarters’ dive shop dog has acquired a taste for compressed air. Waits patiently beside the tanks for someone to give him a shot.
All photos by Stephen Weir. Larger versions of these pictures can be seen on my photography page http://www.stephenweir.com/gallery1/main.php?g2_page=3

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