Thursday, February 22, 2024

Local diver finds treasure beneath the surface

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CHELAN – Black Diamond native Doug Morgan has always found himself compelled by high adventure and helping people. With a recent foray into diving, he’s found a true passion in the depths of Lake Chelan.

Morgan moved here full time in 2016 and spends his days working in the tree industry. He has served in the military and as a volunteer firefighter, received his pilot’s license last winter, and is an avid outdoor enthusiast, enjoying hunting and fishing.

Together with his wife, he has worked through the years to offer many types of community support. Among these efforts, they work to provide free lunches to community members in summer, and, in the colder months, they donate firewood to those on fixed incomes, as well as money toward taking families Christmas shopping.

Between commitments to work, family, and the generous efforts he’s engaged in, his life is full.

Despite a busy schedule, however, he’s always looking for new ways that he can be of service. In recent years he’s found himself adding yet another giving practice to his repertoire—diving for lost treasures.

Morgan always enjoyed snorkeling and initially felt compelled to learn how to dive to be more active in water, so he sought formal diving lessons from professional diving instructor Van Ford, of Wenatchee.

Then, what started out as just a hobby quickly lent itself as an opportunity to be helpful.

Reflecting on how this began, Morgan remembered first starting out with an idea to try to clean up stray debris from the lake bottom.

“I realized I could go down and clean up underwater and take some garbage bags down with me,” he said. “I’ll try at least once a day to fill a garbage bag with beer cans, flip-flops, towels, sunglasses, you name it.”

Over time, Morgan began hearing people requesting community help with locating items lost in or near the lake, and he decided to be of service.

Morgan has been diving now for four years with a log of over 750 dives—more than 50 of which were for the purpose of trying to find lost items for people. These items vary in nature, but jewelry, glasses, and cellphones are among some of those prized possessions Morgan has helped reunite with people.

“It gives me a purpose for being down there more than just swimming around and enjoying myself to see people’s reactions,” he shared, “Finding stuff for people is just another way that I can incorporate my hobbies into giving back.

While Morgan does not charge for this service, people often donate toward his oxygen expenses.

Morgan currently dives about 200 days a year spanning all months, and dives primarily by himself. There are a number of skilled divers in the Chelan area, and Morgan enjoys diving with others and sharing in the experience as well.

“You’re not supposed to dive by yourself. It’s really frowned upon in the diving community–but, when you have such a passion to do something…you just end up doing it by yourself,” he explained. “I try to be smart about it. I don’t go do 200 foot dives. I try to keep my dives shallow.

“I try to wear clothes that if something did happen I’d be found easily,” he continued. “I try to dive in areas where there’s other people so if something happens there’s somebody close by.”

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media

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