We all come from the sea. But we are not all of the sea. Those of us who are, those children of the tides, must return to it again and again until the day we don’t come back, leaving only that which we touched along the way. – Chasing Mavericks 2012

Photo by John Nussbaum

Joe Thomas 1947-2015

Joe Thomas spoke softly. He lured the unsuspecting closer to him, and then very quietly and with great dignity, he’d murmur a wisecrack that left people gaping, their mouth opening and closing like guppies. He was an intelligent man with a keen wit, a dry sense of humor and an appreciation for a well-played joke. I will miss sparring with him.

Some people and places are so intertwined they seem inseparable.  Joe was the face of Ocean Divers, piloting the Santana in his pink Crocs and skittle-colored clothing combinations. He shared his love of the sea with many, including me. He patiently answered all my questions regarding local dive sites, Key Largo history and even how to weather storms–all for my novel. He finished by suggesting my fictional captain wear pink Crocs. I asked him if I should name him Joe. He shrugged, but his eyes crinkled as he smiled.

Joe taught people to dive, helped others obtain their captain’s licenses, worked hard and enjoyed life. He left it too soon.

Captain Joe Thomas died on Monday night and Key Largo is in mourning, but somewhere beyond, the pool’s open.

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