As I wrote yesterday I became an instructor in March 1992. March is also the month we opened the doors to Coral Reef Dive Shop. It was the spring of 1993 and I had recently been divorced. I literally drowned my sorrows. Every weekend from that spring through that fall I was over in Destin, Florida diving. It was a sweet deal. I was friends with a dive shop owner there, and when I had classes I brought them to dive off his boat. When I didn’t have students I made dives with my video camera to film the wrecks and reefs out in the gulf. A girl I knew there let me stay in her trailer for free and I would pay Joe for one dive trip a day and captain Debbie would let me stay on the boat and dive the afternoon and night dives for helping load and unload tanks and bouncing the anchor when it hung up. Those are some of my favorite memories and I miss those times. One weekend at the beginning of the summer I was waiting on the dock of the East Pass Marina for the night dive people to arrive and board. I met two people I barely knew from my home town of Slidell, La. Gary and Melanie had just come back from a trip to get Gary’s daughter certified. We began talking and they wanted to start a dive club and asked if I would be interested in becoming the club’s instructor. I accepted and over the next few months we became very good friends and dive buddies. The club never really got off the ground. I think we ended up having one or two meetings. Out of the blue a rumor started circulating around the local dive community that the three of us were going into the dive business and opening a shop up in Slidell. Nothing could have been further from the truth, there were already two shops in town and neither one was getting rich. That’s when it happened, word filtered back to us that the local “experts” were saying we could never make a dive business work. We didn’t possess the expertise, resources or talent to make it work. The three of us worked all that fall and winter of 1993 and in March 1994 Coral Reef Dive Shop opened it’s doors. You wouldn’t believe what we went through to get the business off the ground but that’s a story for another day.

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