Monday, August 24, 2015

Scuba Bio

   Sam asked for us instructors to write a bio and send a photo of us for the Skin n Scuba website, and here's my contribution. It made me reflect on what an incredible journey diving has been for me over these last 5 years, how much fun I've had, how many amazing people I've met, and all the creatures I've seen. The ocean is truly worth protecting and we can't afford to lose it. That was one thing I understood much better after this summer's trip to Hawaii with Ocean Matters. The photo above is me with my first Open Water student, Connor.
   "I was raised in the Midwest, and there is little doubt that the absence of a nearby ocean fueled my desire to explore the seas. 
While I’m happy to be under the water anywhere, my favorite dive destinations include Cozumel, the Cenotes of the Riviera Maya, Roatan, and Hawaii’s Big Island. 
There is a lot of ocean out there, so stay tuned…   the Galapagos Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the South Pacific are high on my list.
I may be small in stature but I have a huge passion for diving with gentle giants: manta rays, turtles, dolphin, and sharks… especially whale sharks. 
   What I love most about being a PADI Scuba Instructor is the opportunity to help people of all ages appreciate & understand the marine ecosystem. 
The corals and creatures I’ve seen while diving gave me an entirely new appreciation for life and I just love to share it. 
Divers have a unique perspective on the world and can be influencers for good: encouraging everyone to be better stewards of our seas so that the next generations of divers may enjoy it as much as I do.
   Working with youths is a particular joy—there is nothing like helping them into the gear for the first time and encouraging them to take their first breaths underwater.
I chose to train with and work for Sam’s Skin n Scuba because of their focus on education and safe diving practices, as well as the fun and camaraderie.
   In addition to being a Scuba instructor, I’m a professional artist, and my love for all things scuba & the ocean influence my work. 
Every dive amazes and inspires me, whether I’m watching the tiniest shrimp walking along a strand of wire coral, being surrounded by a large school of grunt with their scales glinting in the light, or studying the pattern on the flippers of a sleeping green sea turtle.
I often draw and paint the creatures I’ve seen on dives and would love to teach underwater sketching someday. Who’s ready?"

   Here's a shot that Chad H caught of me, super jazzed after watching 14 eight- to nine-foot Caribbean reef sharks:
   And here's a shot that the photographer captured of me in Chac Mool, the cenote named after the Jaguar God of Rain:
   "The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul." — Robert Wyland
And just for fun, a total Scuba LOL: