Ever since I moved to the Tahoe Basin, I've heard stories about the local diving opportunities in the lake. A veteran of dozens of dives throughout Southeast Asia, SCUBA is one of my favorite activities. During the last three years, I’ve been trying to manifest a friendship with a local who can act as dive ambassador and liaison to the greater Tahoe area.
The other day, I met “the guy.”
Slowly beginning my morning run, I rounded my house and jogged past my neighbor’s across the street. As I made my way past his house, I saw a mountain of gear in the midst of drying, staging, packing, etc…A multitude of tanks, fins, weight belts, and wetsuits hung and lay in disarray—even a mini-zodiac dive boat sat in the mix.
I was intrigued…
My momentum carried me past the house, but I quickly doubled back and decided to meet the owner of all these toys. I knocked; the door swung open and there stood locally famous Ed Knapp--the Tahoe local who’s logged dives and made house-calls for the last forty years straight!
Our meeting and conversation turned warm in an instant, and it was clear that we were kindred spirits with much to talk about and share. And share we did; inviting me into his home, Ed was practically overflowing with stories and local lore from his many years of exploits in Lake
Ed Knapp has all kinds of stories:
• stories about lost treasure
• stories about hunting long-lost freshwater jellyfish
• stories about diving Fallen Leaf Lake and seeing the ancient tree trunks that span twenty feet in diameter, pre-dating Christ...
Ed Knapp has a lot of stories, but the coolest thing he showed me was his treasure collection.
Not treasure in a literal sense--Ed has been a hobbyist antique collector for the entirety of his diving career in the Tahoe Basin. Before the turn of the last century, most garbage was barged into the middle of the lake and then shoveled overboard, meaning that the floor of Tahoe holds a multitude of forgotten objects that were once trash, but now offer a window to the past.
I mean—the guy has it all. Old soda bottles, canteens, vials—you name it. If it was made out of glass in the 1800’s, Ed probably found it in the lake, and now has it on his shelf. The two coolest pieces were not glass, however, but ivory and ceramic. The ivory piece was an ornately hand-carved Chinese opium container.
The ceramic was, in my opinion, the crown-jewel of Ed’s entire collection.
Handing it to me, it just looked like any unassuming tea-cup that you might find in a restaurant—then Ed confided that he’d found it in Emerald Bay, and that it was one of Ms. Knights original tea-cups from Fannette Island!
I was blown away! The number of questions that I had for Ed kept multiplying—and just like that, sensing my enthusiasm, he invited me out for a dive the following day…