Tell us your origin story!
How did I get into diving, having been born and lived my entire life in Colorado? I took up sailing - racing catamarans. That became bareboat charters in the Carribean. That led to snorkeling and a desire to see more underwater. My undergrad major was Zoology and it was all so amazing. The first hurdle was to become an actual swimmer, as in comfortable and capable in the water. A couple of thousand laps at the Y and I was ready for Open Water. Certified at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM in 1994 at the tender age of 48 and then to Belize for my first ocean dives. First dive - I was hooked. Advanced. Rescue. There had to be more.
What caused you to make the leap from amateur to dive professional?
My career has been teaching, and becoming an instructor was the way I could get more involved in the sport. I also felt that my unlikely path would be an advantage - I'd been there. I followed the usual progression of Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, then Instructor and had the chance to work with a number of different professionals, most skilled, some not so much. In every instance, I came away knowing a bit more beyond the core. I got my instructor's ticket in 2000 and have been teaching for most of the time since.
Favorite class to teach?
My favorite course - that's tough. I enjoy Snorkel and Discover Scuba a lot. There's this overcoming aspect that is simply great. People find out they CAN do it after all. My favorite specialty is Underwater Naturalist. It allows me to slow down divers so they get to see so much more on their dives. Plus, I'm a sorta bugs and bunnies guy anyway.
Favorite dive destination?
For many a year, Cozumel has been my go to repeat dive destination. That may be changing, however. We have found Kona, Hawai'i to be our new favorite. Belize is great, the Caymans as well, but Kona on land and underwater suits us very well indeed. Our next adventure is likely to be a land/snorkel trip to the Galapagos. Have to see it with my own eyes. A related question I'm often asked "Where was your best dive?" I've seen some amazing stuff diving but nothing tops the 4 days of snorkeling with Humpback Whales off the Dominican Republic at Silverbank. Nothing.
What is your “must have” piece of dive equipment?
My "must have" dive accessory is a camera. I dive for the freedom, the feel of adventure, the life I get to witness. Images allow me to relive that. I remain a diver who takes photos, not a photographer who dives.
Favorite non-diving activity?
When I'm not involved with the underwater world, I am doing Astronomy and photography, sometimes both at once. Both have been lifelong passions since my early teens.
Favorite post-dive treat or beverage?
It's a sterotype but a beer and something local for a meal is tough to beat.
Any advice you’d like to offer divers new and old?
Go slow. Look close as well as far. Do what you've been taught. It's always OK to NOT dive if you don't feel ready.