Category Archives: Diving

State #20, Arkansas, Scuba Diving and American Beaux Arts

Riddle me this, where can you combine diving and visiting a flamboyant arts community, including a parade with a crocheted fire truck? Key West, right? Could be. But if you want to combine those experiences with a haunted hotel that was once a sanitarium –you’ll have to look to the land of Waltons and Clintons.

Crocheted Firetruck, Eureka Springs 2016
Admit it, you thought I invented the crocheted firetruck detail out of whole cloth, didn’t you?

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to be exact. One of the multifold beauties of travel is that it challenges you to rethink your preconceptions. Northern Arkansas is green, peaceful and offers hot springs and cool freshwater diving. Visit the Crescent Hotel , whether you stay, take the truly gruesome Crescent Ghost Tour , or relax in the New Moon Spa. The remodeled spa is actually just down the hall from a morgue; you see, the hotel had a past life as a sanitarium run by a notorious and actually murderous quack: Norman Baker). More history on the Crescent Hotel; thankfully it is again a beautiful hotel, and not a sanitarium decorated in purple and gold.

While I didn’t stay at the Crescent Hotel, I enjoyed the Inn at Rose Hall, owned and operated by Mill Valley emigrés. Check out the Grotto and (Literal) Wine Cave that has seating by an actual cave.  Cave restaurants must be a thing in this part of the world.

On to the Northern Arkansas diving: Beaver Lake has a dive park north of the dam. A beautiful park all around. Nota bene: bring dive shoes with treads as the smooth rock formations at the entrance are slick and slippery. If you need gear or practice in a heated pool, C and J Sports can provide both.

Diving: it saves you a bar tab! (To be honest, I wish we could tell you it was a wild night at the dive shop… but the cork had leaked, so I am afraid all I had for my efforts was a bottle of  Patron Lakewater.)

After you’ve dived Beaver Lake, if Eureka Springs has only whetted your appetite for art, you can drive west on U.S. Highway 62 to the small town of Bentonville, about 30 miles from the Oklahoma border and home to the only art museum in the nation since 1977 to be founded with a major endowment (a major endowment is defined as more than $200 million –Crystal Bridges had $350 million).


Crystal Bridges is an inversion of what you would expect to find in green and rolling ArkHoma. Alice Walton, heir to that purveyor of globalized goods, gave this part of the nation a museum to display four centuries of American art. The museum is forever free to the public.


I walked through the galleries in reverse chronological order, which is probably a statement on how I apperceive existence, but for the purpose of this writing was a cool way to appreciate this collection. My retrospective began in the late 20th century, with cowpats of melted aluminum and an oddly poignant oblong of green candies.

“Untitled” by Felix Gonzales-Torres, 1991.

You could interact with the died-young artist by taking a candy and eating it, which was intended to show both transience and regeneration. It seems that non-representative art needs contextualization; part of its meaning is its point on the x-axis of technical development and the intellectual background of its creator.

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! “Landscape” by Mark Tansey. 1994.

Traveling into the past, art becomes more representative. Portraits meld from abstract to glowingly representative to flat and cracked. Landscapes unscroll from steaming and industrial through mythic representations of the West to the primitive use of placing things in the background above the foreground to show distance.

“Blackwell’s Island.” Edward Hopper, 1928.

Crystal Bridges makes a statement about the universality of fine art. Hundreds of millions of dollars of beaux arts are displayed here, in a small Ozark town of trees and country roads, free for all to admire, rather than sequestering sculpture and paintings in the echoing mausoleums of a megalopolis.

“The Old Arrow Maker.” Edmonia Lewis, 1872. 

I liked the interaction of form and content in the above marble, an artistic medium developed by empires dead for centuries. The content is people who, like the Etruscans, came under an empire.

A guest book at a wedding? Directions to the next way station? A “No Trespassing Sign?”

Finally, I visited some indigenous art work, not contained by Crystal Bridges and south of Fayetteville. Before there was U.S. Highway 71, people were travelling by foot and leaving their version of road signs and blogs. The “Indian Shelter” is a natural scoop in the rock along a trail in the modern day Ozark National ForestOzark National Forest. It’s unmarked and underneath a winding mountain road. Where exactly? You’ll have to ask the owner of the Locke Mountain Cabins –I can’t give out all the secrets in one blog post!


SelfieCorey is not quite an international woman of mystery, but is hard at work becoming a regional person of interest. Previously both a Classics Major and an Army Major, she is currently travelling where the road will take her and leaving digital footprints at Upcoming reports may include improving trails in Muir Woods, diving from a liveaboard in the Bahamas, flying military Space-A across the Pacific Ocean, and taking a month long cruise to Antarctica on a refitted Russian research ship. You may also check out some older writing at or email at

State #14, New Jersey, Beneath the Sea of Secaucus

Does it surprise you that the largest consumer scuba and dive travel show is located not in Florida or Hawaii –but in Secaucus, NJ? I attended in 2010, in dreary March, and it is a delightful coral island in the concrete ocean that feeds NYC. I have not actually dived in NJ, but I included a photo to show the type of gear you need to retain body heat in the cold water.

NJ cold wx dive gear

Staying warm, dry and topside, you can easily spend a weekend at Beneath the Sea, between shopping for gear and destination travel and attending the presentations.  You can travel vicariously to Palau, Socorro, Raja Ampat, Belize … in the space of four booths. You can admire award winning photography (my attempts usually blur the tail of a fleeing fish that had been doing something amazing right before the shutter snapped), and you can hear first-hand about expeditions to dive with hammerheads or beneath the Antarctic ice shelf.

There is something special and egalitarian about the dive community. To a large extent, love of diving is the only price for platinum membership. The people who have done the most are often right there on the floor, staffing booths and fielding questions from new Open Water divers.

New Jersey, despite its northern latitude, has made significant contributions to the dive community. When I first became excited about diving, I began filling up my bookshelf on the subject and found some great reads about diving on the Andrea Doria and the mysterious U-869. Also check out an incredible story about commercial diving beneath Manhattan: on 9/11.

What I did not know is that NJ also offers fresh water diving in the Delaware River. If you have a double life as a diver and furniture maker, this is the place for you: the cold water has preserved submerged timber that now has salvage value and is ideal for musical instruments and beautiful furniture. During the lumber boom over a century ago, many of the logs sunk during transport and are now the only source of old growth hardwood. Plus underwater train wrecks.

NJ not in NJ
Also not in NJ, nor will you see this diving in NJ, but I did take this picture of a Christmas tree worm on coral with friends from NJ, so I guess it counts for the purpose of this article.

On my travel list: the Jersey shore. No, I do not want to exchange fisticuffs with Snoopi and J-Ello. I would like to visit Cape May. Anyone been? Check out the photo on this page: much more Pensacola than Paterson. And yes, of course you can dive Cape May. There is even a wreck of a concrete ship. Built during WWI when metal was scarce, the Atlantus actually floated and actually crossed the Atlantic. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Next state … either Delaware or Arkansas. I can’t decide. Delaware makes sense for geographic progression, but I will be in Arkansas this week, so I can include more pictures. Either way, I have made it through about 28% of our beautiful and heterogeneous states! Thank you for reading.


SelfieCorey is not quite an international woman of mystery, but is hard at work becoming a regional person of interest. Previously both a Classics Major and an Army Major, she is currently travelling where the road will take her and leaving digital footprints at Upcoming reports may include improving trails in Muir Woods, diving from a liveaboard in the Bahamas, flying military Space-A across the Pacific Ocean, and taking a month long cruise to Antarctica on a refitted Russian research ship. You may also check out some older writing at or email at

A Diary that Interests the World

2014-07-16 16.26.32
Leopard shark and giant sea bass share the Aquarium of the Pacific.

I I write a lot for work.  Mostly emails. Functional documents, too: operations orders, course of action decision briefs, training schedules … public affairs guidance … talking points … speeches … the occasional article.  Intermittently, I keep a diary for naval-gazing and the odious self-improvement.  But I have never written a blog.  So before I started posting here, I asked myself “what is a blog?”

To start, I poured over the internet (source of all truth) to define the nature of a blog.  The definition that fits my purpose is: “a diary that interests the world.”

Bear with me as I pull out my English major skills and deconstruct this statement.

Diary: it’s daily and personal.  My diary is a first person account of things that have happened to me and my thoughts about them, or things that I have made happen, or thoughts I have about things that have happened.  A blog is different than a diary; it’s public, so I won’t include here minutiae or naval-gazing, both of which are appropriate in a diary but certainly don’t interest the world.

Interest the World.  As a life-long public affairs practitioner, I analyzed my audience while determining my comms plan for “Green Sun.” Who IS my audience?  The answer: I have no idea.  The whole world surfs the internet. So part of my work here is defining an audience.  To define an audience, I had to define my subjects.  I selected three: Diving, Human Rights, and Military and Veterans Affairs.  (of course I kept the wonderfully nebulous category of “Unclassified.”)  And “Diving” is more all-encompassing than just trip reports from Catalina Island.  I plan to expand that category to an issue that affects us all: our one ocean.  We live on a blue planet, and if the oceans die, we die with them.

So that is the focus of the Green Sun blog.  Thank you for your time in reading this, and please feel free to comment.


Kansas City Dive Shop Teaches Quadriplegic to Scuba Dive

For Immediate Release                                           Contact:  Christopher May, 816-260-2419

January 23, 2015

We sell fun!

What: There are no limits when you have drive and determination. Shantelle Rockman is a highly functional quadriplegic who will soon become a certified scuba diver. Brian Huff from KCMO’s Divers Equipment and Repair will instruct Shantelle in the Scuba Schools International (SSI) Open Water Course, the entry-level course needed to become a scuba diver.

Divers Equipment will host this remarkable event in their 55,000-gallon heated indoor pool.

Brian’s SSI open water instructor certification has been supplemented through a partnership with the Dive Pirates Foundation, an organization devoted to enabling the disabled to scuba dive. The course of instruction will include basic skills such as mask clearing, regulator retrieval, and how to operate the Buoyancy Control Device (BCD). Shantelle will also have to pass tests on treading water and swimming, which she does solely with her hands.

Shantelle suffered a spine injury during a surgery and is paralyzed from the chest down. Through the modifications
made to the Open Water Course by Dive Pirates Foundation, Shantelle will be able to enjoy the wonders of the deep.

Who: Student: Shantelle Rockman was first introduced to scuba in 2010 at the Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., as
part of her rehab from the surgery and subsequent paralysis. Shantelle met with members of Congress in June 2014
to advocate for the passage of bills pertinent to those with disabilities.
Instructor: Brian Huff was first certified as an Open Water Diver (SSI) in 2005 and became an Instructor at Divers
Equipment in 2007. He has been a Dive Pirates Instructor since 2013.

When: February 7, 2015, 9 a.m. to noon.

Where: Divers Equipment and Repair Service, 11109 Hillcrest Rd., Kansas City, Mo., 64134. (816) 763-5678

Media welcome to attend. Shantelle and Brian will be available for interview. Photography encouraged.

Please RSVP to Christopher May, 816-260-2419

Dive Pirates:

Diver’s Equipment and Repair: