More than seventy percent of the world is covered in water! Join South Carolina Wild as we learn how to SCUBA dive and observe aquatic environments in a whole new way!
South Carolina Wildlife magazine recently joined a father-and-son world exploration team from Camden to learn the basics of SCUBA diving. In this special South Carolina Wildlife Video Spotlight, Tom Mullikin and Thomas Mullikin Jr. introduce us to SCUBA diving and encourage us to explore natural treasures found right here in South Carolina.
In a tribute to his son, Mullikin says, “It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far to travel, train, and explore nature with my son and to see him work to protect the natural beauties of our state and nation and in far off places around the world.”
Together, they have logged dives in all five oceans and scaled four of the seven greatest peaks, with Denali, Vinson and Mount Everest yet to climb.
You can travel along with Tom Mullikin and Thomas Mullikin Jr. through the pages of the SCDNR’s flagship magazine South Carolina Wildlife magazine and www.SouthCarolinaWild.org. Visit www.globalecoadventures.org for more information about their work and treks around the world.
Tribute to a Son
by Tom Mullikin
Nearly eight years to the day since SCUBA diving off Normandy, I was again in France; this time SCUBA-training in the warm waters off the coastal city of Cassis with members of the French Foreign Legion. My earlier dive in the English Channel (or as the French prefer, La Manche) was to gain perspective and understand some of the challenges my father faced in World War II as part of a little-known special reconnaissance unit, Rogers Raiders, of the U.S. Army’s 407th Infantry Regiment. [Please see story here]
I learned a great deal from my father about both the importance of a sense of patriotism and the criticality of never quitting on a mission. Dad learned the hard way in the mud and the blood of D-Day and following battles across France and into Germany. He was a hard man and tough on his children. But he loved us, and his undying loyalty to our nation and belief in all of our people was palpable. He and his generation built the greatest nation on earth.
Unlike the cold dark waters of northern France, the training off Cassis in the warm clear waters of the Mediterranean – the south of France – was where I would also enjoy watching my son, Thomas, Jr. (grandson of the great WWII warrior), train with France’s famed Legionnaires.
Thomas, Jr. (who I often refer to as “Best Friend”) and I have, for years, climbed mountain peaks and recorded dives in oceans around the world, and I have seen the strength and knowledge of what I objectively believe is one of the physically and mentally toughest outdoorsmen of his generation. He’s truly an unusual young man, and that’s not simply ‘father talk.’ I’ve watched Thomas perform next to some of the best-trained soldiers on earth; whether they be Legionnaires in the south of France or our own special operators in climbs and dives around the world. He often far surpasses his equally fit contemporaries – soldier and civilian alike – in swimming, diving, hiking, and climbing (Even fighting; he’s an accomplished martial arts instructor with a black belt in traditional karate.). And pound for pound, Thomas is one of the strongest young men I’ve ever known, at 130 lbs. able to carry twice his weight over great distances.
Thomas is a Master Naturalist. As such, he is – and has always been – committed to educating others about the environment, all the while participating in and providing safe albeit extreme outdoor sport opportunities. Above all, he and I are protecting some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world.
This year alone, Thomas and I – working through our environmental non-profit, Global Eco Adventures – will certify numerous new “Ninja Divers” and marine enthusiasts, lead expeditions in Alaska and South America, teach classes in the Galapagos Islands, sponsor doctoral research on shark migration and lead unprotected shark awareness dives, continue our Adventurer Program for young enthusiasts and Boy Scouts, teach our “Rising Stars” both in classroom and on kayaks and initiate a new program for veterans. We’ll have more on all.
It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far to travel, train, and explore nature with my son and to see him work to protect the natural beauties of our state and nation and in far off places around the world. I know my father is looking down with pride that all he fought for is being protected by a different type of warrior, but a fighter just the same. One who – as a Master Naturalist, world traveler and adventurer – strives to protect our planet’s natural beauty and vital natural resources.
Thomas’ and my training in the south of France – specifically Cassis – provided yet another opportunity to enjoy one of the most uniquely beautiful places on earth. With the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and the stunning cliffs of “Lea Massif Des Calanques” (part of the Calanques National Park), we both were awed by our Lord’s work. The history of this beautiful venue was also worth noting. During the height of the Roman era, Cassis was part of the maritime trade route established by Emperor Antonius Pius. The coastal city served as a major trade hub and launching point for destinations in North Africa and the Middle East.
Though our training days in France were full, we managed to find time to plan the preliminaries of our fourth annual EcoBall and Earth Day celebration which will begin in our historic hometown of Camden, S.C., and culminate in the Global Eco “Ball” in the world’s number one tourist destination, Charleston. As part of this forthcoming weekend event, Thomas will lead a kayak excursion down the mystical, meandering Wateree River from Camden to Charleston. We’ll have more!
Co-founder of Global Eco Adventures, Tom Mullikin serves as Commander of the South Carolina State Guard, managing partner of Mullikin Law Firm and research professor at Coastal Carolina University. He is recognized as a National Geographic expert where he led an expedition from Denali to the Prince William Sound and was recently inducted in both The Explorers Club and Royal Geographic Society.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.