Life, Love, Water…

by Gary Greenfield, Director

It was 1957 and we had just moved into our new house in the suburbs of Miami, Florida. I was three and my brother was two. I don’t remember climbing between the bars of the wrought iron fence that was newly installed to protect us from drowning in the pool nor do I remember swimming in our new kidney shaped swimming pool but I do remember climbing back through the iron bars to excitedly run into my parents bedroom to tell them that my brother Greg and I had gone swimming. I’m sure my parents about had a heart attack and how we survived that ordeal I will never know but that was the beginning of my irresistible attraction to water.

My second significant memory of water was at seven years of age when my father bought me a little boat powered by a two horsepower outboard engine. Being but a novice with limited boating skills, I promptly sunk that boat in the middle of our neighborhood lake. For as long as I can remember my father owned a boat and we spent every weekend with him deep sea fishing in the Atlantic or skiing in Biscayne Bay or diving the reefs from Miami to Key West and beyond to the Caribbean Islands. When I wasn’t boating, I was surfing at South Beach and when I wasn’t surfing, I was sailing my Hobie Cat in the beautiful blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

In college, I studied ocean biology, underwater photography and seamanship along with many other ocean related courses. As an honor student at Miami Dade Community College, I was chosen to participate in an ocean research cruise and at the end of that semester, I convinced my father to take a family vacation to Japan for Ocean Expo 74 so that I could learn the latest advances in Japanese ocean technologies.

Throughout my youth, water was my life and then, for some inexplicable reason revolving around a spiritual crisis, at the age of twenty one, I opened an atlas of the United States. As I viewed the beautiful pictures of the various states, I read about a place called “God’s Country” and decided that my next adventure would take me there… to the forests and mountains of North Idaho. Thus began a new chapter of my life that would last thirty years and in which water would have no part.

to be continued…


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