Kamakaze Divers Beginnings
As 18 year old “men” on a continuous journey to find and experience new and exiting ways to kill stuff, we jumped at the opportunity to spearfish. Mad Mike, my buddy Alex’s dad and our somewhat fearless leader as young boys, was a man with a story for a whole nother day. He had been filling our heads with tales of grandeur about all the fish he would jump in and shoot with homemade spearguns on the oil rigs. “Oh yea man all you gotta do is dive down about 30 feet under the merk layer and shoot all the damn grouper and snapper you want”. Tantalized by the idea we rummaged through Mikes old stuff and sure enough put together an old BCD (bouncy control device), a 2 stage steel regulator, some masks, fins, snorkels, and even an old JBL speargun. A quick trip to the dive shop for some tanks and we were on our way to the Louisiana coast to become spear fisherman!
The next morning in Fourchon we all jumped in the 21 foot bay boat (affectionately named the Sea Rat) and headed out to the oil sucking dragons in South Timelier 80 block. As we suspected it would be, a nice green brown layer of calm gulf water awaited us at our first stop. “We’ll guys I guess this is it… at 30 feet it will clear up and all the snapper and grouper I want to shoot right?” “hahaha yea bra that’s it you got it!” Encouraging words to hear from the crazy old man whose minimal instructions has brought you to the edge of a boat in 200ft of water ready to plunge head first into a dark abyss in pursuit of sea monsters! Well, what you gonna do at that point, right?
Down I went through the merk, bubbles bursting from every gasket and tears in the old hoses and BC that were keeping me alive. Falling through the silty water foot after foot into the dark abyss, my heart was pounding adrenaline saturated blood through my body, I was nervous but my mind was surprisingly clear. This was a new emotion, a whole different life experience; I was in underwater kill mode!
After descending for what seemed like an eternity the water went from luke warm to cold…I had made it to the twilight zone. I would later understand this to be the thermocline. In addition to a sharp temperature change, this is usually where the fresher silt laden water from the top mixes with the clearer high salinity water underneath. The turbulent eddies and clear to chocolate blurry swirls filled my mask as I transitioned into the kill zone. Bammm! Clear water and holy crap look at all the fish! Now I had been fishing the offshore oil and gas platforms for many years at this point but I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined this!
There was life everywhere! I mean all shapes and sizes, big fish, little fish, crabs, shrimp, coral, jellies, shit that I didn’t even know existed. Every inch of the steel rig legs were covered in creatures and growth. It was an entire underwater ecosystem…I was in a whole nother world!
After a quick look around in amazement, my attention quickly focused in on a huge school of snapper. Ok, baby game time. This is what you came down here to do. With the rubber bands already pulled back the safety went to fire position. A few smooth fin kicks towards the snapper school brought a beautiful red eyed scaly sea monster into my sights. With arms extended, a gentle squeeze of the trigger rocketed the sharp tipped cold steel shaft into the scaly body. Whammm!! The game was on and, I was hooked!
Fortunately, the rest of the crew eagerly shared the excitement and passion for the adrenaline packed underwater hunting adventure and, we spent the rest of the day plunging into the murky Louisiana water filling up the boat with a smorgasbord of critters. With ear to ear grins and salt on our lips we knew we had done something that would change our lives forever…we had become spear fishermen!
Our willingness to go full force into the deep after sea creatures with some old tattered dive gear and little to no formal dive training had apparently bought us a little street cred with the old guys, and that evening over some beers and fresh fillets, Mad Mike muttered a few words that seem to have stuck with us, “Y’all are some Kamikaze Divin’ Motha F%$&*@S”. So, as the sun set on the beautiful Fourchon Louisiana marsh that fateful summer day, the Kamikaze Divers were born.