In memory of Laurence Walker.
About 20 Ks off the Surin Islands is a place named after the only “Farang” (white foreigner) ever to be in charge of the Thai Navy; Richelieu Rock, one of the top 5 dive sites on earth. So now you can imagine the location, a rock in the middle of nowhere.
Some years ago my young mate Eric, a highly trained exponent of working in dangerous environments was relaxing of an evening, and being no longer interested in the party on board the boat, not to mention having had a “few”, decided to take a paddle around Richelieu Rock on a small sea canoe, just to chill, as one does, late at night, in the middle of nowhere.
As he had rounded the rock, losing sight of his “parent” boat, an “still chillin”, he looked down into the crystal clear water only to be confronted by the torch lights of 3 or 4 divers on a night dive about 7 or 8 meters below him. Eric being the type of character he is, stripped off, and decided to go down for a visit.
For every diver, their first night dive is very special, I mean “spooky” special, for above you is the eerie light of the moon beams trickling down and giving the water that mysterious, scary sparkle, with only the beam of your torch to give you a vague sense of reality.
At this point a very fit, agile, naked, young nutter, who is running short on breath on a “free” dive, decides to “buddy” breathe, and from behind, taps an unwitting diver on the shoulder and “signs” for air. At this point the rookie takes off, fins a flappin, in the direction of the other divers forcing Eric to the surface for air, extremely pissed off, “The ***** wouldn’t give me any air”.
Years later when retelling the story, in my bar, as an example of inexperienced divers, I remembered a story my pal Laurence had once told me, about the “Ghost of Richelieu Rock” the details of which are written up in his (MV Phoenix) ship’s log. It tells of where four divers, including an instructor, all confirm seeing a “white” ghost which just appeared out of nowhere then disappeared.
For by the time the shocked divers surfaced, Eric was well on his way back to his “mother” ship, which being on the other side of the rock would have been invisible to the traumatized divers.
Eric Roth – The Ghost of Richelieu Rock.
Laurence Walker – Gone but not forgotten.