SCUBA DIVING SPECIFICS:
I earned my PADI Basic Diver certification in a frigid river near Blacksburg, VA after my stint in the army. During a vacation from guiding in the Galapagos Islands, I earned my PADI Advanced Diver certification off the Florida Keys. Much more enjoyable temperatures. After my year in the Galapagos, I'd hoped to return to lead scuba diving trips. So I picked up my NAUI Rescue Diver and NAUI Divemaster certifications in rapid order in San Jose, CA (diving in Santa Cruz).
During the rescue dive work, I actually had to help rescue a number of classmates who became exhausted in the current and needed to be towed in over a thick kelp bed. For the divemaster course, I completed all the pool work in just a single evening, carrying all my dive equipment on a bicycle four miles.
Unfortunately, the political climate in the Galapagos changed in the early 1990s. Foreign guides were no longer as welcome anymore, and I was unable to return to the islands.