The Wonder of the Deep
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“The Wonder of the Deep,” New Era, July 1981, 21–22

The Wonder of the Deep

When Richard Boyd took his first scuba diving class, he didn’t realize that one day it would greatly influence both his vocation and his Church calling. Becoming a certified diver enhanced Richard’s job at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where he was already working as a welder and mechanic helping to maintain some of the rides. With his new skills, his previous maintenance work on land was replaced by more interesting and challenging underwater work on the 20,000-Leagues-Under-the Sea ride.

Of course, when he* became Explorer adviser in the Orlando First Ward, the young men were interested in diving and so together they earned the tuition and attended scuba classes. Seventeen young men (including Bishop George Parkhurst) finished the certification course. To celebrate their success they went diving off Singer Island near Palm Beach, Florida. They made two dives on Friday and two on Saturday, each about 35 minutes apiece in water 60 to 80 feet deep.

The beautiful underwater world that each person on the trip got to see seemed like another universe. Once the young men slid into the water, they merged into a world of brightly colored coral, sponges, sea anemones, sea fans, and hosts of small tropical fish. They also got to meet many marine creatures including the small, harmless nurse sharks, the more dangerous moray eels, and barracuda, grouper, snapper, and other larger fish.

Brian Solomon, 17, found it hard to believe even after he had seen it. “The part of the trip that sticks out in my mind is how beautiful ocean life is. No matter how many pictures you see, it doesn’t compare with what you can see in person. Observing some of the sea life close up was something I’ll never forget. Imagine swimming along and then looking down and spotting a four foot barracuda making eyes at you!”

Dale Strange said, “As we descended to the bottom we began to see the coral and the animal life. Time seemed to fly so fast in that world that an hour could seem like just a few minutes. It was all new and unreal to me even though I have always been interested in the ocean.”

Besides giving the boys something to learn and master together, the classes also gave them greater appreciation for their leaders. Brian Solomon summed up the feelings of the group: “The classes and the trip were great, but our experiences with our leaders were even greater. Each one of them did his part and more. I wish everyone could meet them and feel their spirit.”

  • Richard Boyd is now Elder Boyd serving in the Idaho, Boise Mission.

Photos by Mike Gilbert

Far left: The divers swam in about 65 feet of water and traveled in and out of the reefs

Left: Looking out of an underwater cave. Both fish and lobsters are often found in caves

Below: A spotted moray eel peers out of his home among coral, orange sponges, and sea fans

Left: Getting ready to take a picture of a huge barrel sponge

Above: Grunts scavenge for their keep

Right: Rocky Gasque holds an egg-bearing lobster. Thousands of tiny orange eggs are attached to the bottom of this female’s stomach