Meet The Walrus

My name is Neal Knisley, a native Californian. In fact, native to Southern California's Orange County. I have always loved the outdoors, hiking, camping, skiing, sailing, and kayaking. California is a wonderful state to enjoy the outdoors. Mild winters, and long summers allow you to enjoy outdoor activities virtually year round. A couple of years ago we rang the old year out with a New Years Eve dive. Then started the new year off with a dive on New Year's Day.

I got into diving when a friend of mine from work, Charles, introduced me to free-diving around 1980. Charles and I free-dove the shores off Laguna Beach, California for almost two years before I decided to take the plunge, and get certified. I completed my final certification dive on October 30th, 1982, and became the proud owner of my very own PADI Open Water Diver C-Card.


Me on the Charisma off Santa Barbara Island, 1984. 
(I was still a slim good looking dude then)
dummy line for spacing

Charles on the Charisma off Santa Barbara Island, 1984.
(Egad, is that a horse collar he's wearing, really dating ourselves now)

Charles and I continued diving regularly off the shore, and the local islands over the next several years, logging countless dives. Then, as so often happens, the work environment changed. We both found ourselves caught in the economic downturn of the late 1980’s. Working for companies in different locales, finding time for diving became harder and harder, as job and family demands took precedence.

Then, as luck would have it, and two jobs later, I found myself working with an old college buddy, Randy, who had recently become certified. So, after a 7 year hiatus, Randy, one of the founding members of the Abyssmal Divers, coaxed me back into diving. Boy what a laugh they had when I showed up with my 15-year-old equipment, and rental wetsuit (I swear wetsuits shrink over time). The rest is pretty much history. My gear has been replaced, although I still use my trusty old Aqualung Conshelf XIV regulator. But I am considering a new “high tech” model in the near future.

Unfortunately, my wife experiences claustrophobia when she attempts to don a mask, so I've never had a family dive companion. That is until a couple of years ago, when my oldest daughter, Aly, and several of her friends were certified. Now we can hit the water together, unfortunately not as often we would like, since she has started her own family. Maybe my grand-daughter, Laynie, will be a diver too?


Aly, Molokini Crater, Mauai, Hawaii, 2001
Safety stop aboard the Maka Koa, Mauai Dive Shop