There’s nothing like a trip to a dive show to cure a little cabin fever! This Friday I drove down from Unity College (Maine) to Vin Malkoski’s house in Massachusetts. Saturday we headed out, along with Vin’s wife, Dee, and Holly Bourbon, bright and early to New Jersey. Our destination? The 35th Anniversary Beneath the Sea dive show. Everyone kept telling me that this show was bigger than the Boston Sea Rover Clinic, but I still wasn’t prepared for the actual sight and atmosphere of 400 booths and vendors. “Overwhelming” pretty much sums it up in a word.
I met even more new people at this event. Among them was this year’s North American recipient of the Our World Underwater Internship, sponsored by Rolex, Christian Clark (They get FREE Rolex watches, and basically get to do something akin to my internship, but for an entire year! Sadly, I’m not old enough to apply…yet). Our two groups got to have lunch together, which was really fun. He is an extremely accomplished person, and I hope I run into him again sometime in the future (Best of luck with your internship Christian!). Amidst the sea of new faces, I also got to see some familiar ones. Dan Orr from D.A.N. was there, Faith Ortins, and Sarah Long from DUI were there, Rick Simon, a past Scalli Intern and owner of Privateer Divers LLC, and Bill O’Malley from Sherwood SCUBA, who graciously donated two pairs of fins and a pair of booties to me in support of the Frank Scalli Internship. I really can’t say enough about how kind, generous, and supportive everyone is, and I don’t feel like I will ever be able to express just HOW grateful I am to them all. Thank you, thank you to everyone.
While I was at Beneath the Sea, I was able to sit-in on a round table discussion of “The State of Our Oceans,” where an audience got to direct questions they had on the subject to a panel. AND, on that panel was Jean-Michel Cousteau, his son Fabien, and his daughter, Celine. It was a riveting conversation, and I was completely fascinated and slightly in awe of it. After the discussion ended, Holly was able to get me up and introduce me to Jean-Michel!!
Apparently they have worked together before! It was a true honor, and I don’t think I’m supposed to wash my hand after shaking his…however, I got a picture, so I think that nullifies the whole “smelly hand” obligation.
We spent a while longer visiting with everyone at booths, and Holly and I found a few spare moments to shop. On our way out we walked by a NASCAR Racecar: #19, Team SCUBA, driven by Ray Black Jr. Now, I’m not a huge NASCAR fan, but even I could admit that this was one really cool car.
After snapping a few pictures of it, we loaded back into our vehicle and started the drive back to Massachusetts. Tomorrow morning I’ll continue on back to Maine and less than two months of classes! Every day I’m closer to starting my internship! 🙂