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  1. #11


    He was quite the character. Back when character meant something good, not how stupid, ignorant and rude you can be on the internet.

    "Is this thing on?"

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    southeast of disorder


    Finally a CDF thread worth reading. Thanks Kelly.

    "Cave diving is for grown ups. Make grown up decisions."

  3. #13


    Steve once traveled to Ohio in the early years when he started doing Nitrox courses to teach a course at one my stores. He had a plane to catch in Dayton and he was finishing the on site training at Gilboa Quarry. Sunny day early in April and I remember him saying " just another crappy day in paradise". I did not get him back to the airport on time and he missed his flight back to the Sunshine state and the Desk Attendant at Delta in Dayton asked why he missed the flight and Steve commented as he looked at me "Poor Driving Habits". Steve took me on a DPV dive at Manatee and I used one of his older Farallons. I accidently ran a piece of wood through the prop and snapped the props right off. We were about only 200 feet in and Steve turned and ask in his unique facial expressions that he had and then I new he wanted to know what the "F" I did? He then communicated with a hand signal that It was cash or credit to get towed out. Great times and life long memories. I'm glad some you have shared your memories. Safe diving to all.

  4. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by OutlawCaver View Post
    I recall making a dive at a place called Uno. I was a bit nervous so I asked Doug Hand about the upcoming dive. He said "Geesus Vince, my mother has been in Uno".....lmao.
    A Doug Hand's mother reference. Classic!

    Ken Sallot

  5. #15


    I love reading threads like this. A lot of these stories are all I have to go on, since I got started in Cave Diving later in life. I heard some stories from Orlowski during my cave class, from FW at the midwest workshops (Usually because I am always asking for stories). Another great time is on surface interval getting refills at Cave Excursions listening to Bill's stories.

    Insert something witty and creative here_________________________.

  6. #16


    I was fortunate enough to have met Steve while at Ginnie and ended up completing my apprentice and full cave course with Steve as my instructor. I completed that course in September/October of 2000. What an incredible time we had !!! Steve had a serious side when he was in "instructor mode" but when it was time to play he definitely was a consummate prankster and we were more than happy to reciprocate. More than once he looked at the 3 of us in his course, shook his head and said "damn rednecks !!!"

    On our first trip to Peacock, we drove by the small sign with the picture of the alligator and the words "Swim with Caution" Someone piped up and said, "Look they got an alligator named Caution !!! And we are gonna get to swim with him !!!! Cool !!!"
    Then there were the early morning trip to Cave Excursions to get gas for the first dives of the day. Not a soul stirring around Bill's and we were backing up and filling tanks !!! I had to ask, "Hey Steve, are we gonna get shot for this??" Steve just grinned and said "Ah he is an old guy that doesn't hear too well, but he is never up before 9." And he let that joke play out until after we had left the scene of the crime. I had no idea but Steve had slipped the money for those early morning fills in the red box that still hangs on CE's wall. The jokes like that continued the entire course.

    Then there was the new 100W "Ginnie Light" that I bought the day before the course started. Three or four dives in it just quit !!! Well I was more than a little sideways about the light issues. Once we were out of the water and I was letting the explicatives fly, Steve just calmly said relax ... we will take care of it !!! Back to the store we went !!!! Steve did ask me to let him handle it (probably a dang good idea too), he took the light in talked to the store manager (I think it was Connie at that time) and got the light replaced !!!

    His little fill station out in the woods was something to behold !!! I always felt as if it were this huge secret that was never to be spoke of. It's great to know Steve was able to share that with so many of his friends.

    When I got the news that he had not returned from a dive, I was crushed !!! But after some serious soul searching, I knew from his teaching, Steve had not let the loss of some of his close friends deter his pursuit, he would not want his passing deter our dreams either.

    I still remember the course vividly, I remember the hard learned lessons he taught us during that week and I try to not only apply them to my diving, but to my everyday life as well. As Steve would say "It's just a stinkin' hole in the ground, and it's not going anywhere."

    I have nothing but fond memories of Steve, and I don't like the fact that he left us all so soon. I still have a few trinkets that he passed along to me during that course, and I still have his Mini-Ox O2 analyzer that I purchased at the CEE Gear exchange after his passing. One other thing I will always cherish is the NACD and NSS-CDS Full Cave cards with him listed as my instructor !!!!

    Rest easy my friend !!!

    TJ (2)
    When I get out of cavediving, it will be to learn how to use a walker FW

  7. #17


    Thanks for posting that TJ.
    Come to think of it, I have some of his items I purchased also. I will have to see what I have left.

    "Is this thing on?"

  8. #18


    I am glad I could post that Jay !!! The stories from those days with Steve could go on for hours, some of them were humorous from the onset, some are much more funny now than while they were taking place. (think, of some of the under drills we have all experienced during training). More than once during the post dive debriefs I heard the comment, "Had that been a true event, you would have most likely not made it out of the cave alive". or something similar. I don't recall ever seeing Steve raise his voice or verbally abuse the 3 of us during the course. He made his point in a very calm, succinct manner and for us that seem to sting just as much as if he had called one of us a stupid SOB that had no business owning dive gear.

    Oddly enough, my apprentice and full were actually scheduled with another cave instructor and because of some issues they could not teach the course and had Steve fill in. It isn't that I have any issue with the other cave instructor, but I think the course worked out very well with the swap. I am a better person and diver for having met, and trained with the man. It's that simple !!

    One other thing I would like to add, even after the course was over. Steve never once bragged about his experience or his accomplishments. it wasn't until I read Bernie Chowdhury's book "The Last Dive" that I began to understand who Steve Berman was as a diver. I knew he was a cave diver instructor, but I had no idea that he had accomplished much much more !!! I spoke with him in April of 2001 via telephone, and I asked him about the book and I got the feeling that he was slightly embarrassed by the notoriety he was receiving from the things Bernie had written about in his book. Maybe it was just the pain of what happened to Chris and Chrissy Rouse, but I took it as him being a very humble soul. At the end of that conversation, we had promised to get together for some cave dives on my next trip down. I am sad to say, those dives never happened.

    TJ (2)
    When I get out of cavediving, it will be to learn how to use a walker FW

  9. #19


    I think we would also be remiss if we did not mention he and his wife's support of Karen. We wouldn't give it much of a second thought today but it was a big deal back then.

    "Is this thing on?"

  10. #20


    I don't know anything about the man, but I appreciate his cartography... just recognized his name on the Ginnie map I was studying.


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