Tell us your origin story!
was born and raised in the Sunshine State. As a teenager, I was adopted into a scuba diving family. When my new family asked if I wanted to obtain my open water certification, I didn’t hesitate to say, yes. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to swim. So, I taught myself and was certified shorty thereafter. From that moment on, I knew diving would always be a part of my life.
What caused you to make the leap from amateur to dive professional?
During the years raising four children, my love for the ocean was put on hold. When my two oldest were ready to obtain their basic open water certifications, I jumped on the opportunity to take the Advanced and Rescue courses at One World. This reminded me how much I missed diving. I enjoyed getting to know the staff and owners then eventually joined the retail team. Diving became a part of my everyday life. As a result, I decided to continue my scuba education and now teach classes alongside those who taught me. In my opinion, I have a pretty good gig going;)
Favorite dive destination?
I don’t believe I’ve experienced my favorite dive destination yet: There’s a lot of ocean calling my name. Thus far, Apo Island in the Philippines was a highlight with the brightly colored soft and hard corals. A favorite in the Caribbean was the Bahamas, with crystal clear waters and the multitude of sharks. Currently, at the top of my list, Galapagos. Everyday brought an aquarium of sea life. Just when I thought the diving couldn’t get any better, it did. The last day of the trip when Orcas surfaced next to the dive boat, I was overwhelmed with emotions. It’s so very special to be able to share the underwater world, if only for a brief time, with so many incredible critters.
What is your “must have” piece of dive equipment?
A must-have piece of dive equipment is an easy to operate dive computer. I’ve seen divers who have no idea how to actually use their own (or rental) computer. It’s safest to dive with a computer but it’s vitally important to understand the computer’s functions and operations. In addition, purchase a signaling tube (SMB) for each diver. A SMB is not part of standard rental gear. It is an inexpensive piece of equipment that allows a diver to be visible on the surface of the water. Also, I’d encourage every diver to purchase DAN insurance. Please don’t go diving without it.
Any advice you’d like to offer divers new and old?
If learning to dive is on your, “I will do it someday,” list, move it to the top. Life is too short to put things off. If you are currently a certified diver, never stop learning and improving your skills. In my opinion, every recreational diver should work towards becoming a Rescue Diver.