Posted by: Katie | April 16, 2012

Florida Scuba Diver


In 2004, my brother, Brian, went to the University of Central Florida (UCF) for a degree in Finance. Living in Florida, it is difficult to avoid the recreational activities that are not available in Wisconsin. During his time at UCF, Brian became interested in snorkeling as well as scuba diving; he had quite a few dive trips planned with my father (who also become a diver), but bad weather prevented these dives from happening. During a trip to Grand Cayman, Brian, Dad, and I were able to dive in the crystal clear waters – and dove 100 feet deep at one point. It was an amazing experience and we also enjoyed snorkeling around a reef that was near our hotel on the beach. Last year, we returned and though Brian had a broken thumb and cast, we were able to find a device to keep the cast dry, so he could snorkel. At the end of our vacation, we went deep sea fishing and, even with a broken thumb, Brian was able to catch a Blackfin Tuna that put up a fight – strength like that is rare and it was an impressive sight to see him reel in the fish with little help from others.

1. Did you go to the beach a lot when you were in Orlando? Is this what caused your interest in scuba diving?

Orlando is located in central Florida so I didn’t go to the beach as much as one might assume. My real interest in scuba diving came from my interest in fishing and swimming. For me, scuba diving takes what I enjoy about fishing and swimming and combines it into one activity.

2. Are you Padi Certified for Open Water? What was the training process like? What things did you have to do?

 I am actually certified by NAUI as opposed to PADI. The difference between the two certifications tends to revolve around coursework and training. NAUI courses tend to be longer and the training more rigorous. By having a more in depth training NAUI hopes divers will be better prepared for certain situations and as a result will experience a more enjoyable diving experience.

As for my training process it was equivalent to taking another 3 credit course. It lasted over 3 months and we would meet biweekly to discuss scuba techniques and safety procedures. Additionally, I had to complete a certification examination at the completion of the course and I participated in five mandatory open water dives. I learned a lot over the training course. I would say the main thing I took away was how important it was to check to your equipment to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable diving experience.

3. At UCF, you were the president of the Scuba club and got to go cave diving. How did that come about?

I had been in the club for two years and going into my senior year we needed a president. I knew a couple of the members fairly well and they thought I would make a good choice for president. After thinking it over for a couple of days I decided to run and found it to be a highly enjoyable experience.

4.How was the experience of cave diving? Did you see anything interesting or was it too difficult to see?

I was only certified for open water diving. So my experience with cave diving is minimal. I did a lot of diving in aquifers that would lead into caves, however with the open water certification the recommendation is that you always can see daylight when you look up. Hence the name open water certification. Probably the most interesting thing I saw when cave diving was fossilized whale bones within a aquifer.

5. Roughly how many times have you gone diving and what have been your favorite things you’ve seen?

I have probably been on about 30 dives in my lifetime. I don’t really know what my favorite thing that I have seen would be. The best thing about diving is every dive is a different experience. Even if you are diving the same reef it can be vastly different if you go in the morning as it is to the afternoon.
6. At one time, you and a friend dove in the shark tank at Disney World’s Epcot. How was the experience of swimming with sharks?

During my senior year, the dive club went on a dive at the aquarium at Epcot. The sharks within the tank were white tip reef sharks. It is an experience that I would recommend to any diving. It allows you to see a diverse species of fish in a controlled environment.

7.  We went scuba diving at Grand Cayman Island a few years ago. Would you go back there or would you like to scuba dive at a new place?

Grand Cayman has some of the best diving in the world. I would go back and dive there in a heartbeat.

8. Would you consider getting more advanced certification or are you satisfied with open water diving?

Currently, I live in Wisconsin so I have not pursued any other certifications. If I move to an area where diving is more prevalent I would definitely consider furthering my certification credentials.

9. You also enjoy fishing. In Grand Cayman, you reeled in a black fin tuna while having a broken thumb. Not many could have that strength with a broken thumb – how did you manage to overcome the difficulty?

It wasn’t that easy because the fish was hooked on the side instead of through its mouth. Fish are much easier to reel in when you pulling them by the mouth as opposed to dragging them sideways. I guess the main motivation was out of fear of my dad and brother making fun of me for not being able to reel in the fish.



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