Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

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Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby kathy » April 14th, 2016, 11:11 pm

I was home in Florida recently visiting my parents. My dad was a spearfisherman for many years in Florida, the Keys and the Panhandle, as well as in Alabama, Louisiana and as many places as he could while he was in the military and traveling as a ships' doctor on a cargo line. He has some incredible stories, and interesting old guns and gear to go with them. I would like to record him some time but he's a little shy and also has earned himself the right at age 83 to a raunchy vocabulary, undetectable exaggeration and a cheerful political incorrectness, none of which he wants documented. SO I do what I can to sneak stories out of him bit by bit. On this trip I got down the details and some photos of a few things, will try and share here if there is interest.

This gun is pretty neat. Here's 3 generations holding it and it STILL is bigger than all of us combined. Maybe I will get to use it one day??

I don't know if people are interested in the more detailed photos, I have some if you want to see closeups. Basically the story goes like this [forgive me any place where I got a detail wrong, heh I am my fathers' daughter] : My dad and his friends were making guns like this at home, except without a lot of fancy bells and whistles. They would go to Mobile Steel Company and buy scraps of steel and cut what they wanted with hacksaws. They found a speargun plan in an issue of Popular Mechanics (I've looked through archived issues online but haven't found such a plan, anyone seen this before? Would have been 50's or 60's) and took it to a medical supply company they knew [they were orthopedic surgeons and worked with this company frequently] in Mobile that made beautiful prosthetics and braces and crutches out of stainless steel and wood. At this facility they had access to much more sophisticated milling and machining equipment as well as experienced machinists. My dad and his friends had these machinists make them 3 of these guns, and the machinists were really into it and even improvised and added a crutch tip as a loading butt - so awesome - which is still sturdy after all these years. This is 5 laminas of glued marine plywood, making it completely waterproof and won't warp since the laminas are facing different ways. All the metal work is hand machined. The muzzle is extra-impressive, with a single piece of metal that is inset and outlines the entire cutout for the bands. It isn't clear where they departed from the plan so I think it would be fun to find those plans and compare because it sounds like they may have modified at least 1 of the guns rather than follow the plans verbatim.
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Nate Baker » April 15th, 2016, 5:28 am

Great post! Absolutely, post those detailed gun photos!

And more about your father's spearfishing life!
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Alex Ray » April 15th, 2016, 6:15 am

Nate Baker wrote:Great post! Absolutely, post those detailed gun photos!

And more about your father's spearfishing life!


x2!
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Bill McIntyre » April 15th, 2016, 6:24 am

x3
email me at wsbhtr@cox.net
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Bamz » April 15th, 2016, 7:43 am

Bill McIntyre wrote:x3

what Bill said X3
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby dam » April 18th, 2016, 9:46 am

That is rad! I'd like to see more of the gun, please. And whatever story you throw at us. You don't have to worry about offending anyone except Bill. He's a bit sensitive.
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Robert Watson » April 18th, 2016, 10:46 am

I love the picture. Three generations of spearos?
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby manoamatt » April 18th, 2016, 8:51 pm

It's an Addict gun, famous with the San Diego crowd.
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby kathy » April 22nd, 2016, 7:13 pm

Glad you all enjoy these, @manoamatt, amazing. So cool, thank you for sharing that! I am going to try and print those out and send to my dad.

Here's a few closeups.







Here is another fun one - his Hawaiian sling. "This was for clear water. In Alabama you couldn't use this except maybe in a bay or something. Orange Beach, Alabama, maybe in semi-shallow water. This was a clear water weapon - Key West, Miami, Soldier's Key, Ragged Key. This sling was hand-made out of a segment of bamboo, tube like you'd find at a dive shop, and the metal cup at the end to hold the proximal end of the spear, which was something you could find at dive shops in Florida. You would wrap this yourself, hiding all the knots under the rest of the string. Favorite shot with this - coming up on a big grouper in a cave and aiming right at his head"




You may have noticed the yellow paint all over it. My dad's memory is kinder, when I asked him to see what he would say about the yellow paint, he said he thought maybe it was because some one spilled yellow paint on it. Actually, it was yellow because my dad did not like to get dive gear mixed up with other peoples' gear, so he would put all our gear in a pile and spray everything, even the masks, with yellow spray paint so we could tell which was ours. I remember scratching yellow spraypaint dots off my mask...a lot...with my fingernails when I was a kid.
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby kathy » April 22nd, 2016, 7:14 pm

Robert Watson wrote:I love the picture. Three generations of spearos?


Ummm and hahaha no not quite, just 3 of family. Thinking right now this little one is going to be a Theater or Drama major :eek: instead of an ocean explorer despite our best efforts... :ugh:
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Donzi Paul » April 22nd, 2016, 10:02 pm

Great post Kathy, :greetings-clappingorange:

Please always keep his guns in the family and pass down the stories to the kids. Yes, as previously stated classic addict gun design. I'll start a separate thread in the history section on 8 or so very old Florida guns in my son's vintage collection that you can show your dad.

Cheers, Don
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby kathy » April 23rd, 2016, 9:21 am

Thank you! I really like your history and old gun stories you've shared too, that would be so epic to see some more, when you have a chance.



As for fish pictures, a lot of them have been destroyed by 40-odd years of no air conditioning and too much sunlight but there's a few. People just didn't take a lot of pictures back then :) like we do now. Here's one. I *think* this is a warsaw grouper (?) and will get some more details and share them next chance I get:

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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby Donzi Paul » April 23rd, 2016, 3:16 pm

Nice fish, Thanks Kathy.

Cheers, Don
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Re: Florida / Gulf Coast Tales

Postby GreasyGar » May 28th, 2016, 6:21 am

This is awesome!
More please!
Thanks,
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