John Rawlings wrote:How did Helena make it out of the CSSR? Did she swim to Italy from Yugoslavia as you did, or did she have her own wonderful "escape" adventure? How did all of you manage to link up later? - John
dwashbur wrote:Okay, tell us more about the mermaid....
Tom Nic wrote:Wow Wow Wow....
Jan, thank you so much for telling some of your story. What a fascinating and amazing life.
Sorry to resurrect an old drumbeat, but... We've always thought you should publish a book of your PNW diving pics, and we still do, but now we've got to add request for an autobiography! Posterity demands it! ...and we humbly encourage it.
Joshua Smith wrote:Oh, Jan- please believe me when I tell you that this is FAR from "boring!" What an amazing story!
Jan K wrote:spatman wrote:airsix wrote:Jan, you have to tell us your stories!!!!!!!
hear, hear! we want details, man, details!
Once upon a time ...
I know it sounds corny, but it was the little book called "The Silent World" which is responsible for my
obsession with diving. Unfortunately, growing up behind the Iron Curtain in a country without a single
mile of coastline connected to any sea, it was not exactly the most conductive place to realize dreams
of swimming with sharks, diving wrecks... But I dreamed, we dreamed. There were enough of people
who did not take the disadvantages too seriously and we tried to do as much diving as we could. With
what we had. To give you some idea about availability of dive gear, look to Cuba. Same political system.
Some of the gear is pictured in previous panels. In 1968 there was a brief period of time, when some travel
was possible, and my brother another club member and I got permit to vacation in Yugoslavia. So one
dark night, we put some of our training to use and swam around the border to Italy. We had our wetsuits,
masks, snorkels. The patrol boat's search light was looking for boats, not swimmers, as we went far from
shore. And we made it across. Refugee camp was our new home. The food was not that great, so we
walked down to seashore to spear some fish. That was when a boat run over me and I spent two months
in a hospital ( my jaw was cut by the prop in two places, lost more then half of my teeth). Waiting
for paperwork and recovering, left Italy on passport for refugees, landed in New York in the Land
of the Free at last !
So that story behind this panel:
I hope this is not boring you, not much diving story in this one ...
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