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Bryan
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First Name: Bryan
Location: Wesley Chapel Florida
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Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:23 am

As a young boy in the early 1950's I was fascinated by anything related to water. Every summer my parents would spend a week at the beach and I always had my kiddie mask and fins swimming around in the surf. I would read all the National Geographic articles about Cousteau's adventures. We lived about 30 miles from downtown New Orleans and had to go into the New Orleans to shop. There was a store not far from where we parked the car called Roland's Army Surplus and Sporting Goods. The owner, Roland Revere was a diver and one of the very first to bring scuba gear to New Orleans. He sold U S Divers gear and eveytime we went to the city I would go to the store and stare at all the equipment and get a US Divers catalog.

My brother who was 15 years older than me had built a swimming pool at his home in about 1955, it was the first and only pool in town at the time. I had graduated from my kiddie mask and fins to a real Squale mask, snorkel and Churchill fins and would spend hours in the pool with them. In 1957 I convinced my parents to let me buy a tank and regulator and I bought a Voit VR-2 with green hoses and mouthpiece and a Voit tank with green webbing harness with my odd job money. I spent many more hours in the pool practicing clearing hoses and mask, doing ditch and don, all the things in the instruction manual.

From the pool I went to Lake Ponchatrain which was a couple of miles from home. It was great to be diving in a real body of water even if visibility was only 6 or 8 feet on the best days and only 15 feet deep but it was real diving where I could see fish and crabs and maybe stumble across a long loss wreck or other treasures.

I graduated from high school in 1962 and my brother had a general hardware and sporting goods store and I went to work for him. I put in a diving department and became a U S Divers and Voit Swim Master dealer and put in a compressor and cylinder bank.

In 1967 I bought my first boat, an old 18 footer that opened up new diving opportunities such as the gulf oil rigs. Not being able to rent tanks without a certification card while on a trip to Puerto Rico to visit relatives lead me to taking the YMCA scuba course in 1970.

In 1969 with a new wife and a child on the way the store could not support two families so I took a job with Union Carbide Corporation at its' local chemical plant but I remained part time at the store running the scuba department until my brother closed the store in 1973. I kept the left over stock which included a DA Aqua Master that is now converted to a Phoenix, and the compressor which I still use.

I put away the two hose regulators in the early 70's and made the switch to a single hose. I spent the 70's and the early 80's diving the Florida keys, Destin and the Louisiana oil rigs with a trip or two to Cozumel.

In 1983 my diving buddy at the time and I decided to start a dive charter boat business out of Grand Isle, Louisiana. We bought a well used 1967 31 foot Bertram that we restored and outfitted for diving and named it Tiger Shark after my beloved LSU Tigers. We ran the business until 1988 but with both of us working a regular job plus the charter boat took a toll and we sold the boat. I had become somewhat burned out with diving and working at two jobs and for 9 years I had lost interest in diving. In 1997 my wife and I went on a cruise to the Caribbean for our 30th wedding anniversary and I decided to bring my scuba gear along. That trip jump stated me diving again.

About 4 years ago while surfing the net I stumbled across vintage diving and as they say the rest is history. I dusted off my Aqua Master and other old gear that had been in the closet for 30+ years and met Bryan, Rob, Joe at what was to later be designated Sand Dog 1.

I never had any idea that that first vintage dive in Florida in March 2004 would lead to where we are now.

Great vintage diving to all NAVED members.

Tom Madere

LaPlace, LA

aka Captain

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Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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14020
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First Name: Kim
Location: Erowal Bay, NSW, Australia

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:46 am

Captain,

Thank you for a good read. I find it very interesting to know a bit about the background of regular posters on this forum.

Regards, :)
Kim,
Ocean Trekker, Dangerous When Wet.
"Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men" Douglas Barder.

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1969ivan1
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First Name: rob
Location: CINCINNATI, OHIO

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:37 am

A very interesting read Tom.

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Herman
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Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:20 am

Nice write up Tom and I love the old photos. It's always a pleasure diving with you, hope you make SD this year.
Herman

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8dust
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Location: Nashville's North Shore

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:32 pm

Enjoyed the read Tom, thanks. Will have a few cold ones waiting for you in PCB! :mrgreen:
Freddo
NAVED member #201

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captain
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:32 am
Location: LaPlace, LA

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:56 pm

The first picture shows may 2006 but it is a copy of a 1967 slide photo. That's me on the right.
Captain

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Bryan
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Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:49 pm

Captain took me out spearfishing a couple of years ago out of Port Fourchon LA


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Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

swimjim
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First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:11 pm

Looks pretty awesome Bryan! Nice write up Captain :wink:

Jim

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EHowe
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First Name: Edward
Location: Chicago

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:17 am

Great story Tom. And thanks for making my 1st stage assembly tool. I've used it on 3 regs so far and it works great. Your story of how you got into "vintage diving" makes me think. Would vintage diving exist without the internet? I always say I got just fine without it, (the internet) but its neat how a modern tech can be our connection to the past.
Ed

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simonbeans
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First Name: Allan
Location: Rochester NY

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:06 pm

From one vintage guy to another:
“The only source of knowledge is experience”
Thanks for your experience.
Check out my website: www.vintagescubastuff.com

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antique diver
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First Name: Bill
Location: North-Central Texas

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:28 pm

Good story Tom. It's interesting to note that you and I had the same first regulator and tank rig, and began diving about the same time.
Thanks for sharing your history of diving with us, and looking forward to meeting you and many others in the group.
"I get plenty of excercise just pushing my luck!"

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captain
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Location: LaPlace, LA

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:37 pm

For those not familiar with diving the rigs off the Louisiana coast you have to be at least 20 miles offshore to be in 100 feet of water, sometimes we are 50 miles offshore at rigs in 1300 feet. It is very easy to get very deep very fast.
Most times the water looks muddy brown and you would assume it would be really bad visibility but the muddy water is usually only the first 10 to 15 feet and then you break out into crystal clear water with visibility sometimes 100 feet.
At the bottom if it is shallow enough for you to reach it there is again a layer of muddy water 10 to 15 feet thick.
It is an eery world, it is like twilight on a cloudy day. The vertical rig legs and pipe risers make it like swimming in a forest of tall trees. Fish of all sizes and species inhabit the confines of the rig. The rig is an oasis in an other wise barren sea.
Captain

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JES
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Re: Captain / Tom M.

Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:09 am

Captain,

Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself with us.

Your last post sure does bring back memories of being stationed in New Orleans and being able to dive and spear fish on the oil rigs. 8)
NAVED Master Diver #108
'Anima Sana In Corpore Sano’

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Vintagediver
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Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:28 pm
Location: Benzonia, Michigan

Re: Captain / Tom M.

Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:58 am

I really enjoyed your writeup Tom, and also the pictures. I could definitely relate to the comments you made at the end in regards to stumbling across vintage diving on the internet; not all that many years ago. Who would have ever dreamed that vintage diving and the vintage community would have ever grown to what it is today? WOW; VDH, NAVED, VSS, vintage dive events, parts that are now available, and best of all we now all know about each other and have developed some great friendships. I by no means hold the vast knowledge in regards to vintage equipment that many others in this community do, and I've turned to the message boards many times for assistance to make repairs, adjustments, etc, and I'd like to say THANK YOU Tom for all of your help you've given me over these years. Hopefully I'll someday get the opportunity to meet you at one of the dive events. Terry
The friendship of many has been inspired and created while together we've explored beneath the waves the wonders of God's creation.

NAVED Member #137
Member of The 2016, 2017 Sea Hunt Forever Dive Team

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DaleC
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Location: Left Coast, Canada
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Re: Captain / Tom M.

Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:10 am

Great write up Tom. Thanks for all your help and advice over the last few years.
NAVED #203
#20 International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons

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