I was NASDS certified at 14 years of age through the Ski and Dive Shop in Alexandria, Va., and dove consistently up and down the east coast for the next several years.
My dad was a career Marine, and our family eventually moved to the island of Puerto Rico in 1972. While I pursued a degree in biology, my friends and I got wet all throughout the island, including Culebra and Vieques.
One of the coolest dives took place in 1975. I led a diving expedition to "la Laguna Negra", the Black Lagoon, in search of the garadiablo, an underwater skate-like creature deemed "extraterrestrial" by Alfredo Garamendi, who claimed to have encountered and captured one.
The lake had very poor visibility (could barely see my extended hand), and was a VERY scary dive! Didn’t find anything but a diver’s knife.
There are several underwater caves all around the island, and we explored a variety of them. Did some night diving as well.
I married in 1978, returned to the mainland, and abruptly stopped diving to raise four children.
Now that they’ve grown up and graduated, I’m fully back in the swing.