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Bonding with the Ocean
Personal Account by Ben Rose

Sometimes, when I look back on my life, I know that I was born to be a part of the great oceans. The water of this world is my passion and I have been blessed with a life in and near and under the water. Long before my family immigrated to the Bahamas, I loved to fish in the brook at the bottom of our garden in Britain. To my motherís dismay, I always came home wet, always swore that I hadnít been in the brook, and always got caught because I would put my shoes on backwards. When I first came to the Bahamas, I was unable to swim but the water and its endless motion fascinated me. I would run in and out with the waves, like a charging dog, and it was not until my old man threw me in the salty brine that I realized the ocean would always be a deep and nurturing part of my life.

My upbringing on Hog Island was uniquely tied to the sea. My brothers and I spent our days on Paradise Beach, fishing, swimming, and exploring. I spent hours in the tidal pools, with a big jam jar. Mumís strainers went mysteriously missing from the kitchen as I used them to net the critters for my jar. My first aquarium was an old washtub filled with sergeant majors. I changed the water religiously every day.

At fifteen years of age, I put a scuba tank on for the first time. My parents certainly couldnít afford one for me, some of the homeowners on Hog Island bought the rigs for their kids and this gave me the opportunity to putter around with it. My first job was in the aquarium at Paradise Beach and I was able to use my very basic scuba training to go down and attempt to rid of the sea grass in eight to ten feet on the beach. I receive no formal training until 1965, when I first came to UNEXSO and did my guideís training.

Aquariums have always figured largely in my relationship with the sea, much to the dismay of my wife, Judy. There is just something about the vibrancy of the living ocean that draws me to it. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending an hour (or more) with some new divers on one coral head, looking for the tiny creatures that make up its world. I think that seeing this microcosm makes one view diving in a whole different way. You should try it some time; I swear it will change the wave you dive.

About the Author

Ben Rose: UNEXSO Guide and Marine Expert

At an early age Ben Rose knew he belonged in the ocean. He came to UNEXSO in 1965 already with amateur experience in diving. There he learned to dive with sharks. He has expanded his knowledge of sharks to expert level. He started a marine identification program, identifying and categorizing species of fish in the Caribbean. He is an avid writer, sharing his experiences through personal accounts of diving history and diving with sharks. (Read more accounts by Ben Rose)

Ben Rose

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© 1993 Originally Published in Historical Diver Magazine
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