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Jason McAnear

JMac's Adventures- Diving and a Creator's Quest- II

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The true beginning of the Quest began in Oahu, 1991.

I had spent the previous ten months participating in Desert Shield/Storm while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. As an Arabic Crypto-Linguist it had been my job to listen in and translate enemy transmissions, usually in support of other Allied units. A bit stressful for sweet twenty-one year old me. I remember coming out of that a very different person. While not quite PTSD, I did have a difficult time transitioning to the many new character traits I picked up. The innocence was wasting away among the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
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Upon returning to Kaneohe, Hawaii I was introduced to the brother of a fellow Marine, Tom Chester. He's off in Japan now but we still keep in touch. Tom..... Tom recognized in me a need. So many of the values I had always carried were gone. Replaced with alcohol, women and a drive for self-destructive behavior. An emptiness I was filling with whatever or whoever happened to be available. I was the crazy one. One day Tom suggested I and my fellow rabble-rousers try Scuba Diving. He was a NAUI Instructor and took it upon himself to begin a healing process in many of us. Though not his stated purpose, hell, we were just going to do something different for a weekend, I figured out his motives years later.

I can never thank him enough.

You Divers all know the exhilaration, excitement, and awe which accompanies your first Open Water dive. The original memory of a Moray encounter.The adrenaline driving you to get out past the surf and find that pod of dolphins you saw playing from the shore. Yes, I had all of that too but what I did not realize until much later.... was the utter peace. Still to this day I cannot understand exactly how the process works but no matter what life events are occurring or mental and emotional chaos is unfolding at the surface.... just like a positively buoyant BC, it never descends with me. Not even a stray thought of whatever stress lurked all day in my all too focused mind has a chance of going to depth within me.

The non-diver may never experience this. Sensory overload and deprivation seem to occur simultaneously when I dive. The weightless, soundless (almost), limited vision world we experience as Divers simply cannot be described.... it must be experienced. The days of diving in Hawaii, while I won't go into hyperbole and say they "saved me", did have a calming effect of sorts. They also set me down a path which would take twenty years to be clear enough for me to see... and follow.
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