Jeffrey Steven Frisbie

Jeffrey Steven Frisbie (Jeff) has been a long-standing member of our Association, having been raised in our “active Frisbie atmosphere,” a nephew of Aunt Nora Frisbie – my #1 brother, our Dad would say. He and my sister-in-law Marie Deegan Frisbie have been married 28 years come this July. Jeff makes his living in the Silicon Valley of Northern California developing medical devices in the fields of interventional neuroradiology, cardiology and venous disease. Connected to his meaningful research is his opportunity to work with – and assist – various doctors around the world who are striving to meet patients’ needs to the utmost. Jeff has assisted a few doctors with writing medical journal articles and teaching text. Jeff is unassuming (he won an 8th grade dance contest when absolutely no one – including his own family – knew he could dance – and I learned this bit of info from our Mum just a few years back!).

Jeff served six years during the Vietnam War in the Navy on a nuclear submarine, once sitting on the ocean floor off the coast of Vietnam. He is full of inquisitiveness, adventure, and talent, is a great son and brother, which sets us on our journey to get to know him (this guy has taken up surfing in his late 50’s!).

I interviewed Jeff regarding his unique Scuba Diving life experiences. Jeff relates: “I first became certified in 1968 through the YMCA in Salt Lake City when attending the University of Utah. My childhood buddy Roy and I made some dives around Southern California, usually off of Laguna Beach and Catalina Island. After the early 1970’s, I did not dive again until 30 years later when in 1997 my wife Marie was certifying with her girlfriend. In 1999, I qualified as an Assistant Scuba Diving Trainer. I participate certifying new divers in Monterey, CA, with my buddy Bill (an independent dive instructor who also organizes and generally accompanies dive trips), and also Bill’s daughter.” Jeff has virtually not taken his flippers off since his 1997 recertification, having put in 800 dives or more, locally and around the world. Jeff has a few of his numerous, striking, and at times miraculous underwater photos stored on a public website:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/j_frisbie/sets/72157604990017489/

This roaming reporter invites anyone interested to enjoy them – you will be amazed!

Jeff says: “One of my loves and deep interests is swimming with sharks – the docile kind, [he assures me].” I asked Jeff what draws him to sharks. As he mulled this over, he said: “The close contact gives me a greater insight and appreciation for the species. I think that the fears instilled inside of most of us about sharks are unwarranted, with of course the exception of a couple of species, like the Great White. Sharks are likely to be found in a reef environment with high wall drop-offs. I frequently spot several species when diving in Cozumel (an island in Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula) and La Paz, Southern Baja California. I also often encounter them around the Channel Islands near Santa Barbara, San Clemente island off the coast of San Diego, CA, and Catalina Island near Los Angeles.”

“I love – and have deep respect and reverence for – the Manta Ray, which can span 10 – 15 feet wide. Their graceful somersaults and twirls are a very humbling and spectacular sight. While watching these animals, one becomes aware how clumsy we truly are. It is thrilling to realize that we diving humans are able to be in this alien environment anywhere from ½ hour to 1 hour air tank time.”

The deep sea’s own life energies and communities of “marine denizen” – as well as the camaraderie shared with other divers – keep Jeff’s flippers on his feet and his head and eyes many, many feet below water’s surface. “The Pacific Ocean especially offers wonders, such as the first time I spotted a Lion Fish. The shape of their fins is spectacular! There are a number of Lion Fish species. I experience great wonder and awe as I visually partake of the fish kingdom, the variety of colors, different shapes, and marked patterns. I challenge myself to identify each. As I get older [and this reporter would imagine because of seeing such a volume of fish], it seems to get more difficult to remember categories, so I keep a fish I.D. book for reference both pre and post dives.” [How interesting, a fish I.D. book – like a bird I.D. book.]

I asked Jeff if he is ever able to touch any fish. His response: “It is common sense and respect to not harass underwater sea life, and this is reinforced prior to dives. Closeness to the fish brings such a myriad of feelings. The Lingcod and Cabezon are often sedentary fish. It is an interesting challenge to see how close I can get without disturbing them. Occasionally, the Cabezon will allow touching without swimming away.”

“I strive to fit in one to two major group dive trips each year. There are usually 10 – 15 people in a dive group, generally the same people each trip coming together from various locations. The camaraderie is great! It is nice to have friends to share experiences with after each dive, to compare notes.” These trips take him around the world, and often include a 3-4 day land pre-dive excursion to mingle with the culture, getting to know the citizens of the countries where they are visiting. “I have been blessed to visit: a) Indonesia; b) Ecuador and its off-coast Galapagos Islands in South America, which are known for their whale sharks (a true shark), the largest fish – ‘premiere’ – in the world; c) Hawaii; d) Belize in Central America, which included a land trip to Guatemala; e) Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific, which included a jungle river trip, stopping in very small villages along the river bank.. I was uncomfortable, however, visiting these villages for the sole reason that I felt they were being exploited by tourism, that we weren’t really “seeing/getting to know” them. I felt as if we were imposing upon them. I might mention that our original Papua trip plans included touring the Highlands, but active tribal warfare in that area interrupted our itinerary at the last minute [thank goodness]. During the Papua trip, we also visited a small portion of the Queensland rain forest, which is along the Great Barrier reef in Australia; f) A portion of one Palau trip was diving in Chuuk Lagoon (formerly known as Truk) in Micronesia. This lagoon is known for the dozens of Japanese military sunken ships from WW II sitting on the ocean floor. While very interesting, this dive became historically poignant.”

For Jeff, “Diving is go great! I use a diving light in day dives because, of course, as one goes deeper beneath the sea, the darker it gets, and I love exploring all the nooks and crannies, taking pictures or just watching in awe and wonder. I love to just sit on the ocean bottom for a few minutes, reflecting on what’s around me and what a gift diving technology is with its life-sustaining support and gear.”

We will miss Jeff at this year’s Reunion because August 2008 will find him off to the Solomon Islands and Fiji: “Not only will I be scuba diving, but hopefully surfing, land nature, and water rapids excitement!” We look forward to your sharings and pictures, Jeff, upon your safe return. Thank you for bringing our underwater sea world closer to us, giving us an insight to its realm of possibilities, wonder, and beauty through your bravery, gifts, and abilities, and an insight of you. Our thoughts, prayers, and encouragement travel with you to bring you safety, joy, and fun. Readers, don’t forget to check out that photography website….and be sure to view the whale shark pics – the ratio in size of man to whale shark is astounding!