A conversation with Gene Dold
Face it: Doesn’t our dashing dive travel specialist look like popular culture’s most beloved secret agent?
No wonder, years ago while he was in Grenada convening with dive professionals, a local lady kept staring at him. Even her children would occasionally run up and touch him, then skitter away and giggle, without saying a word.
Finally, a dive shop owner – the lady’s husband – told the stranger what all the fuss was about.
Cue the signature James Bond 1960s cinematic theme music.
“They think you’re Sean Connery,” he said.
But really, he’s Dold – Gene Dold.
“I didn’t know what to say at first,” Gene recalls, with a good-natured laugh. “Sean Connery has a reputation for being kind of a jerk. Maybe it’s because I started cutting my beard a little bit shorter back then and it grayed out a little.”
The tactile similarity ends there. When Gene speaks, his accent reveals his time spent in Madison, Wisconsin, not Connery’s Scotland. And while Gene may possess the legendary super-spy’s cool factor, he’ll take his chrome ’05 Road King Custom Harley Davidson touring bike over one of the flashy, tricked out sports cars Connery drove while playing Bond.
“Motorcycle riding is one of my real passions,” Gene says. “I could pick up and drive to Wisconsin right now if I wanted to. You won’t get blown around when a truck passes you on the highway and you can comfortably take another passenger with you.”
From the time Gene first revved up five years ago after getting his motorcycle endorsement, he has logged about 28,000. But whether he’s in the open sea or open road, Gene says he loves being around people who share his passions – as he has experienced for decades in his worldwide diving, from Bonaire and Cozumel to Chuuk (Truk) and North Sulawesi, Indonesia, and his cruising the highways near his Cape Coral, Florida home. Gene sees some definite parallels between diving and motorcycle riding.
“Both are equipment intensive, your margin for error is slim and it requires training,” Gene says. “But both give you the opportunity to explore new and different places. Dive travel isn’t just about looking at cool fish and corals. Just like motorcycle riding, it’s about history and local culture and people. Both force you to learn about your environment.”
And just as he’s a safe diver, don’t expect Gene to pull off any James Bond-style maneuvers on his bike. “No way,” Gene says. “I regard myself as a bit of a klutz.”