BILL WATTS

In 1959, I moved from Great Neck Long Island to Pompano Beach with my family. My Dad and I had a great love of boating, first on Long Island Sound; then, the waters off Pompano Beach & the Keys. We always had a boat and I was intrigued with snorkeling and fishing. The Florida waters were beautiful and the reefs pristine in the day; tons of fish, “big” fish, and lobsters were everywhere. The Keys, well that was like going to another country.

In 1960, I purchased used scuba gear. A double hose regulator, 72” steel tank with pack, and a weight belt. Gauges… no gauges or computers back then. You basically stayed down until you ran out of air, pulled the J-valve and started to ascended. Was it dangerous; absolutely, but what an adventure. All through middle school and high school, I kept up with my love of the ocean. In the mid-sixties, I was off to FSU to study biology. I got caught up in college life which kept me away from the ocean.

After graduation, I moved back to Pompano Beach, met my wife Beverly, bought my own boat and started fishing and snorkeling, but very little diving. Certification was required by then to purchase air and my old gear, well, way out-of-date.

In the ‘80s, a friend reintroduced me to diving; single hose regulator, BC, gauges and certification. I was hooked! In 1987, we were off to Cozumel. My first real overseas dive trip. It was amazing! Day dives, night dives, had to figure out how to capture it all on film. My first camera, a 35mm Sea& Sea point & shoot, provided a ton of fun and the ability to share my adventures with friends and family, but the quality wasn’t quite there yet. Both the equipment and my underwater photographic abilities needed improvement.

In 2002, I met Guy Harvey during a charity fishing tournament in Boca Raton. I showed him a video of a trip I had just taken to Belize. Guy was fascinated with the schooling Cubera snappers & whale sharks. He told me that if I ever wanted to go back to count on him.

We were off to Belize the following spring and have traveled together many times since. It has been a true-to-life fantasy adventure. We’ve been to Cocos Island, Galapagos Islands, Silver Banks, Grand Cayman, Guadalupe Islands, and the Bahamas. I have had such a wonderful opportunity to increase my knowledge of equipment and to improve my skills as well. My first digital camera was an Olympus 4 mega pixel. I took it to the Galapagos Islands for the first time; then, I graduated to an Olympus 350. Now I’m shooting a Olympus E-520 with twin Inon Z-240 strobes.

I have a passion for underwater photography and hope to continue to improve my skills here in the club.


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