|Kelvin Questel with his scuba rebreather.|
I visited him in his scuba shop on North Grant St in Wooster and found that he was in the process of making repairs to a scuba regulator. From what I could see the thing had about 200 small o-rings, springs, clips and other parts. Questel assembled it with ease as he spoke with me.
“ I had been studying marine biology in college and made a trip to the Bahamas. While there I became interested in scuba diving . I came home and signed up for a class and six weeks later I was a certified diver” Questel told me.
Questel was not satisfied with being certified, he went on to become a scuba instructor and advanced even further. In May 1986 he became a instructor trainer. A certification that allows him to train others to instruct the art of scuba.
“ I find myself teaching between 35-100 people per year” Questel said. He told me that the majority of his students are basic divers…not instructors.
What’s the largest misconception about scuba?
“The danger of it, people do not understand how safe the sport actually is. There are rules you must follow and if you do that this is very safe. Diving is very methodical”.
“I have trained may people to dive including paraplegics. I feel that anyone can learn this” Questel told me. I was surprised to learn that there are several are thousand of divers here in Wayne County.
Why dive? “To see Gods creation and to see peoples faces light up” Questel said.
Kelvin made it clear that there is a whole other world waiting for discovery under the water.
No discussion about diving is complete without asking about sharks, so I did.
In addition to diving Questel is also an underwater photographer. As he opened his laptop I saw hundreds of underwater photos and many of the photos contained sharks.
“They (sharks)are common in some waters and you expect to see them. It is important to understand that all marine life are wild animals. To stay safe it is best to simply observe”
Questel said his small but fully stocked store was created as a way to provide quality equipment for his students without sending them out of town or to the internet.
Most people are somewhat familiar with conventional scuba tanks but not surprisingly Questel has something special. It is called a rebreather.
Explaining how it works I came away understanding that the system is a closed loop system. As you exhale, your air is captured and scrubbed inside the unit. A computerized sensor determines if the scrubbed air requires any additional gasses added. If so, this is done from small tanks stored within the unit. It appears that this is a more efficient way of diving compared to the conventional tank of air worn on the back.
Speaking of the rebreather, Questel said it was his system of choice when diving and using it allows him to stay in the water longer than when using a conventional tank.
Questels “day job” is that of managing the Wooster City Cemetery. As the cemetery manager he said he handles all administrative duties from payroll, the sale of lots, and virtually everything involved with the day to day operation of the cemetery.
A licensed funeral director and embalmer Questel said that when he was hired some officials felt that he was over qualified for the job and would never stay.
“That was 24 years ago” he said with a smile.