A Tale of a diver's Destiny
The vintage Canadian Club "Hide A Case" ad that started it all.
Some people think it's sentimental, but I am a firm believer in destiny. I came of age in the '60s, just as scuba diving was becoming available to the average Joe.
One afternoon when I was six or seven I was playing on the beach in La Jolla, California, when to my utter astonishment, two rubber-clad men strode out of the surf with steel tanks attached to their backs.
The thought of discovering the sea stirred my imagination and I dreamed of what lay beneath the surface: Captain Nemo? Mermaids? Atlantis? James Bond?
Not long after that, I saw an ad in a magazine that showed divers burying a "treasure chest" in a hidden location in the Bahamas. As a seven-year-old it ignited my fantasies about buried treasure and the ocean.
Unfortunately, school, puberty and the sudden realization that girls weren't so bad after all got in the way of my treasure-
hunting plans and I forgot about my dream until one fateful day when I was 25.
My friend Lorna invited me to join her for a week at her holiday home on Harbour Island, a magical little hideaway off the tip of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. I remember being struck by the beauty of the palm trees, pink sand and incredible blue water.
After a few days of snorkeling and hanging out on the beach, Lorna suggested that I try scuba diving. All of my long-forgotten childhood dreams came welling up and I could hardly contain my excitement. PADI resort Valentine's Dive Shop was right next to her home, and I immediately signed up.
As I began my first decent into the turquoise-blue sea, I was overcome. I remembered the adventures I had imagined as a child and reveled in the fact that I was now a diver more than that: an explorer.
Other diver inspired ads from Joel's era.
Later that day Lorna and I decided to go to the local watering hole to celebrate my accomplishment. As I sat under the palm-leaf roof I told her the story of La Jolla and my childhood dream of diving. I explained how that magazine ad from so long ago had sparked my imagination about buried treasure and scuba diving.
Lorna suddenly began to laugh, as if my story was the most absurd thing she had ever heard. I started to regret telling her. When she realized I didn't understand why she was laughing she motioned for me to turn around. Directly above my head was a framed page from a magazine. It was the same ad that had inspired me as a child. As it turns out, the "treasure" was actually a case of scotch and had been buried for the photo shoot at the Devils' Backbone the exact spot we dove that day. Seems that my fate was to learn to dive in the very spot that had triggered so my interest when I was a child.
That was 20 years ago and now, as an advanced PADI diver, I have had the good fortune to dive all over the world, thanks to the PADI Diving Society. I know I will never be Jacques Cousteau or James Bond, but I enjoy diving as I never imagined I would and the best part is that my children are now living the same fantasy that I had at their age. I never did find out what happened to that case of scotch. Perhaps that should be my first real treasure-hunting expedition.
It's certainly worth investigating.