Introducing the Marathon Diving Club

by B. N. Sullivan

I wrote last week that I had just returned from a reunion with some long-time friends, all of whom had been members of a dive club in Athens, Greece many years ago. The name of the club was the Marathon Diving Club, and it was organized by a couple of American men who were living and working in the Athens area at that time. (The image on this page is a patch bearing the Marathon Diving Club emblem.)

The founders of the club had learned to dive while serving in the U.S. Navy, and had continued to dive for recreation. The idea for a club arose as a way to attract and train other sport divers living in the Athens area, and thereby increase the pool of potential dive buddies.

Marathon Diving Club emblemThe club name might be a head-scratcher at first. It does not imply that we did marathon dives! Rather it reflects the fact that the focal point for many of the club's early activities was an area known as the "Marathon coast" - the region on the eastern shore of Greece's Attic peninsula, near the site of the ancient Battle of Marathon.

In the early days, most of our organized dives, and some of the club's training activities, took place at beaches along the Marathon coast. The club also had a small facility located at Nea Makri, a little town situated on the Marathon coast. The facility (more like a little shack!) was where we stored pieces of communally owned dive gear. It also housed the compressor that filled our scuba tanks.

Recreational scuba diving was a relatively new sport in the late 1960s and early 1970s when we first met and began diving together, and it was almost unheard of in Greece. As I recall, there was only one dive shop in Greece at that time, and it was in the port of Piraeus. Certified training for new divers was non-existent there, so the founders of the Marathon Diving Club put together a training program of their own.

The club's instructors all were -- or had been -- U.S. Navy divers. I have no idea exactly how many new divers were trained over the years by the Marathon Diving Club's instructors, but it was a good number. What amazes me, when I think back, is just how good that initial training was, and how many of the divers trained by the club's instructors stayed with the sport for years -- even decades (including yours truly).

I'd like to thank my friend Lorna for unearthing a Marathon Diving Club patch -- in mint condition, no less -- and bringing it to last month's reunion. Lorna's husband was a founder of the club, and was my first dive instructor. You'll meet him in the next regular post (right after Wordless Wednesday) , when I write about the Marathon Diving Club's training program for new divers.


  1. Very nice info Bobbie, I bet those were some fantastic times, the thrill of the first dives in a exotic location must have been amazing.

    Wonderful story and post !

  2. This is Lorraine
    Leonard and I were transferred to Athens after having our training in Beirut, Lebanon. It was a real treat to meet up with an active group. With our husbands traveling all the time it was great to be able to have active weekends and still be together with the children. My husband talks about his first camping trip with the group. I won’t go into all the details but one of the members was a sleepwalker and in his sleep could walk over the sand burrs with no problem. Then there was the time the men and the kids went by themselves and one member sprayed his son against mosquitoes when the kid complained that it burned another member read the can and it was not OFF but Oven Off. The motto is that you can’t leave the men by themselves!

  3. Sorry, I clicked before reading the bottom of the page and no I am not green house pathology. Lorraine

  4. @ Bernie - Yes, they were fantastic times. Stay tuned for some of the club's most amazing stories. For openers, see Loraine's first contribution above.

    @ Lorraine - I remember when you and Leonard moved to Athens from Beirut. Those of us already in the Club were amazed that people who already knew how to dive had arrived and joined the club.

    That story about the OvenOff is priceless. I think I'll repeat what you said in a later post so it doesn't get buried in the comments!

    Please continue to add your details as we go along. Very glad to have you on board to help tell the story.


    P.S. No worries about the sign-in name thing. You are anything but green house pathology -- more like ultra green thumb! ;-}


We welcome your comments and invite your questions. Dialogue is a good thing!

Bobbie & Jerry