It is with a heavy heart and even heavier hands (he's been nudging me to do it for awhile) that I am here to announce that John Rawlings will be leaving the ranks of the Moderators and joining the NWDC Jedi Council.
As many of you may already know, John's illustrious diving career sadly came to an end last year
. For those of you who do not yet know him well, suffice it to say that John has been an ambassador of Pacific Northwest diving for many, many years.
As a Photojournalist and Writer for Advanced Diving Magazine and AtlasOmega, his stories and photos have inspired and transfixed countless divers and non-divers from around the Pacific Northwest and the world. John has also made his mark as a technical diver, investigator and underwater explorer, being the diver to discover wreck of the Warren Car in Lake Crescent
, solving a 72 year old mystery
about a couple that had seemingly vanished into thin air, way back in 1929. That wreck still serves as a dive site for those with the training and ambition to reach it today, including a number of adventurous NWDC members
. John Rawlings was also one of the first (*the* first?) Northwest Dive Club member to dive a closed circuit rebreather.
It's one thing to do many incredible and admirable things as a diver and photographer, inspiring others with your actions. It is much, much more to share those things directly with your fellow divers and the local community as a mentor, a role model, and most importantly as a friend.
I still remember a NWDC BBQ I hosted at the Newsvine HQ back during the Summer of 2006. John brought his KISS rebreather unit, underwater camera and some tech diving gear. We were all like little children with oooohs and aaaaahs, as he took the gear apart and explained in detail what each thing did, why and how. That was the day I decided to become a tech diver, set out to learn to dive a CCR and became determined to take my photography to the next level. Can you say copycat?
We've all humped John's leg at one point or another (Josh Smith especially
), and John has only ever been kind and willing to let us. Okay, maybe that was a bad metaphor, but you know what I mean.... the guy has given us so much. He has given me so much. As a young paduon learner/baby tech ccr diver/aspiring photographer I followed in his footsteps. It was both a tremendous milestone and the greatest honor to eventually work alongside John on this story documenting the deep Shipwrecks of Vancouver Island
, which we co-authored (both words and photos). That kind of golden opportunity is bit like playing a game of 2-on-2 with Michael Jordan as your partner, while listening to a rap song that you freestyled alongside Snoop Dogg, except that John is much paler and a few inches shorter than either MJ or Snoop. Okay, I'm just babbling now.
Please everyone join me in thanking John Rawlings for his many years of service and steady hand as a Northwest Dive Club Moderator, but most importantly as a local hero, ambassador and friend to the Pacific Northwest diving community. I sincerely hope that John continues to visit us here often, as I know that his many friendships and poignant commentary and insights transcend the act diving itself, wholly and completely. We all still have much to learn from him, regardless of whether it's in the water or not.