I met Chas it 1994 on the small island of Kuredu in the Maldives. I swear he looked the same then as he always did. A tall, bald, smiley goofball. That was Chas. His kindness, his soft eyes, his big hands, and his easy laugh.
We became friends diving together. He talked to everyone, he was generous and gregarious. He made friends with the dive instructors, with Sylvie, with me. I think he was already a Dive Master at that point, but I can’t be sure. He was a great diver. Slow breather, good on air, good lung capacity. Chillaxed. Unphased. Great buoyancy. Patient.
There were no alarm clocks on the island, and this was before the advent of mobile phones. Chas was an early riser (always was) and the first dive was early in the morning. At my request, he would wake me up every morning by walking to my hut and hollering “ACHTUNG BABY” at the top of his lungs. (He probably woke up the whole island, certainly most of the honeymooners in the vicinity. He was already smiling at that time of the morning.)
It is hard to express how much I loved Chas, and how much I will miss him. I wish I could be there with you all today – especially with you, Evie. I know you will get through this – but I wish I could be there with you.
Chas never met my baby girl. Her name is Evie. But he and HIS Evie sent her clothes. We think of you both every time she wears them. I love you.