This is Part II of the series. To read Part I, click here.

I lost my virginity in Acapulco, Mexico on my 16th birthday. It’s a funny story but one that I mostly left out in my first book, The Red Circle. So much ended up on the cutting room floor. I’ll tell that story soon enough but more about my scuba diving now.

I learned how to scuba dive without any pool sessions; it was all open-water Pacific Ocean dives from the start. Pretty soon I found I preferred diving without a buoyancy compensator, a kind of inflatable vest with an air hose plugged into it that most divers wear. I thought it was a crutch. To me, it was like the difference between swimming in a full suit of clothes and swimming in a Speedo. So I never used one. I also found I liked going down with two tanks, instead of the single tank most sport divers prefer. A second tank adds significant weight, so you have to be fit enough to handle it, but you get more bottom time and can swim serious distances. Sport divers typically just drop straight down and goof around for a while. Serious hunters mean business and wear two tanks.

By my second summer on the Peace, I had logged over 200 dives and was equipped with twin steel 72s (72-cubic-foot-capacity scuba tanks), no buoyancy compensator — just a single- and second-stage scuba regulator and a large speargun.