My first dive in saltwater

It was about 1956 and was a water safety instructor at a boys camp on Cape Cod. My Dad had bought me my first scuba tank and regulator for the 6 month ago Christmas present. I was dying to use it. I lived in the mountains of north-west Pennsylvania and had only used it in a YMCA pool, and in the Redbank crick. On a day off from the camp, I drove to Provincetown on Cape Cod and down to the marina where, after some serious looking and begging, I found a guy who was going diving by himself. He took me in a wooden boat with an outboard motor out to a spot he had chosen. We dropped anchor, the water was very calm, and he handed me an onion bag. This is a small bag about a foot long, red, and a mesh like material like thread. The holes were about 5mm square. He told me to watch him and do what he did. Into the water we went…backwards off the gunnel (sp) into the briny deep. The visibility was about 10 feet and the water had a greenish color. The bottom was about 20-25 foot. I watched him to see he was picking up scallops. I had seen scallop shells but never the live thing, and when I found one and reached for it….it opened and closed rapidly and swam away from me. Ha. I thought that was only seen in cartoons and didn’t know it was real. They even have blue eyes around the edge of the shall. I started gathering them, and in the gloom of diminished visibility, I saw something that was larger than a scallop. I swam along the bottom to it with my arm outstretched as if to grab a scallop before they swam away. Instead of swimming away, it raised its arms and legs wide as if an attack mode. It might as well have been the creature from the Black Lagoon. I had never seen a spider crab and it freaked me out for sure! I didn’t mess with it, not knowing a thing about them. For sure, when we got back on the boat he laughed and told me all about them. Then, he showed me why we were collecting scallops. With his knife he deftly opened the shell and cut out the muscle that pulls the top and bottom together…and ate it….raw! It was my first sushi and I never heard of sushi. In fact, it’s only been in last maybe 10 yrs that I heard of sushi. I’m now a big fan of it, but I always recall the name of the bad critter one can get by eating raw seafood. Diphyllbothriam latum is a fish tapeworm that can be passed to a human. To this day, I remember that word that I first heard in about 1962.

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