Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuff Stuff!

Jeremiah and I go back all the way to 1978.

I had just started working with a small and now defunct Swiss dive travel operator and had embarked in POM on the Little Red Ship on my way to Fiji, a memorable trip in many ways and my very first foray into the South Pacific.
I remember Jeremiah being a sinewy, bearded young Biology student with an inexhaustible store of energy and enthusiasm. When I and a friend went walkabout and promptly got lost on Tikopia, it was he who headed the search party that found us perambulating on a beach surrounded by a bunch of statuesque Polynesian warriors. Now I know better, but then, having just escaped a bloody tribal war in the Trobriands, I was firmly convinced that I was about to become the guest of honor at their next supper, if you get what I mean. Never has anybody been welcomed with more relief, and remembered ever since!

When he wasn't directing the diving and the excursions (and searching for stupid greenhorns), he would abscond with Ron to conspire about the construction of a Shark-proof wetsuit made from the same stainless steel chain mail used by professional butchers.
The rest of course is history.
Ron ended up getting himself a chain mail suit which turned out to be too small and was promptly gifted (an Ozzie euphemism for "slapped on") to Valerie who thus became the world's most famous piece of Shark bait.

I kinda lost sight of Jeremiah, then saw him and his newly patented Shark suit pop up again when Howard, Marty and Bob started baiting Sharks off San Diego.
Those were the glorious days of Chuck Nicklin's Diving Locker and of some boats called, if memory serves me right, Bottom Scratcher and Sand Dollar. I remember Howard showing me his first fantastic pics of Makos and Blues, Mola Molas and Basking Sharks and later on, schooling Hammerheads, Manta riders, Marlin and humongous Whale Sharks from Baja. Out there, everybody seemed to be busy wrestling sharks wearing Jeremiah's suits. And remember the infamous Shark Tagging Competitions? Glorious times!

Back to Jeremiah, I believe I once discovered his name on the rolling credits of some noisy but otherwise, heroic movie featuring some intrepid Marines, Navy SEALs or the like, wasting a huge amount of ammo and bombs in order to kill and being killed for the greater cause of mankind. This was the 80ies and the bad guys were good old fashioned commies, funny accent and all. Might he even have been one of those? Frankly, I don't remember - but it sure was intrepid!

Then -and talking of which-, here pops up this picture, I believe by Chip Matheson, featuring him being dragged along by a Great White through some murky water in South Australia!
Although nobody really knows who is the first diver to have gone cageless with a Great White (it may be Giddings or it may be Ron - my vote obviously being for the latter), this is probably the very first time anybody has been crazy enough to go ride them.
Now That's what I call cojones!
thinks me, and u even know the guy...

It is Jeremiah who finally managed to find me.
Having heard about our Shark feeding activities and being the proud owner and developer of today's ultimate Shark protection gear, he decided to swing by our booth. Imagine his surprise in finding out that we knew each other! Talk about it being a small world!

So far, our feeders' protection has been a couple of good old-fashioned steel mesh butchers' gloves that Ron and I bought in Sydney some years ago. They work with the smaller Sharks and we're not about to willingly test them on the Bulls, or God forbid, Scarface or the like - knock on wood!

But having conferred with Jeremiah, help may be on its way.
Whether a partial HardArmour or my favorite, his newest unobtrusive Waterman Pro, we sure will give it a try! Not literally, mind you, as anybody who has seen the footage of that Blue jerking around Valerie knows all to well not to go messing around with the big guys. But it will be nice to have some additional protection!

Tuff Stuff by a Tuff Guy - what better could we ask for!

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