Great Blue Under:
When Hardy had to give up climbing, his love for adventure never
faltered. He moved to Florida, traded in his ropes for tanks, and immediately began
working toward Dive Master status.
Let me tell you the story about "Johnny Flounder." It seems a friend of mine
named George symon told me this story. George had planned to go up to North Carolina, from
Daytona beach, Florida, for some diving. He made plans to meet some of his buddies from up
north in New York. In doing so he asked if he could bring a friend from down here to join
John is a known underwater hunter but George asked him not
to bring his spear gun because the diving they were going to do was on wrecks down
deep. John agreed and went up with George to meet his buddies.
Neon will never go out of style down here
The guys chartered a
boat and had such a great time, they decided to stay another day. Well, they couldn't get
the same boat to take them out the second day so they hopped on with a group that was
going out on a boat called the "Gunsmoke." This boat was used to catering to
mostly beginner sport divers and then along come George and his friends. They are all
wearing double tanks ready to do some decompression diving on a u-boat out there when the
Capt'n changes everything.
The captain told the guys that they were slightly
intimidating to the other guests on his boat. This didn't phase them much but what changed
everything is when he told them they were not going to the u-boat but another boat that
was pretty much rubble. This didn't set well with this crew but they didn't have much
choice in the matter and decided to make the best of it.
Once they were in about 10 minutes, John swims up to
george and points to George's rig. George had a hammer and chisel and all John
wanted was the chisel. So George gave it to him and then watched as John hovered in the
water and with lightning-fast reflexes stabs a pretty large flounder. George starts
laughing so hard that he just about spits out his reg. Well, John was holdin on to the
fish he realises he doesn't have a place to put it. Then he opens up his wet suit and
stuffs the fish in. This just take George back so he gets his other friends to watch john
do the very same thing again. After everyon got the laugh they needed they went off on
their own to leave john to his new found sport, stab fishing.
When the day ended everyone was back on board talking about
the plesant dive experience they had. But John wasn't aboard yet. As John came aboard
there were three girls sitting next to the rails and when he stood up they said they must
have started getting sea sick because of the rough seas that day. They said it looked like
to them that John's wetsuit was moving. Just then John lets out a billowing laugh and says
that was the best diving he had done as he opens his wet suit and one of the flounder had
bitten on to his necklace and wouldn't let go. Once John got the fish off his neck he
opened his suit further and blood was just pouring out with all kinds of guts and slime.
The girls really got sick then and John kept pulling flounder out of his suit for a total
of seven in all.
This story made it back up to New York and down to FL and
earned him the nickname "Johnny Flounder."