I have been scuba diving since 1992 when I got certified in the cold waters of Lake Chalan. Initially, I was certified by PADI and had some limited experience in Seattle which was a few hours from where we lived at the time. Right from the start I loved diving but an ocean was not readily available where we lived in Washington, and work/family did not allow for a lot of time away.
In 1994, we moved to the Bay Area of California which was within a short drive of Monterey. I started to dive more when we moved there but stopped for several years until 2000. That year saw changes in my life, and I decided that I had to make diving a priority in my life. I dedicated myself to start diving at least once a month. This lead me to become an assistant dive instructor under SSI and then finally an instructor for a short time. I was an instructor until about 2010 when I got tired of teaching and decided to get back to recreational diving. Even after I stopped teaching, I still was dedicated to diving at least once a month and have kept that going most the time each year.
I have around 1000 dives, and about 75% of them are in Monterey. I usually go out diving on one of my favorite local dive boats in Monterey – either the Sanctuary and Beach Hopper II. I do about 30-50 dives a year. A majority of those are in cold-water – around 50-60F. For a long time, I dove with a wetsuit, but most of my diving is in a DUI drysuit now and had wonderful with puppy paws (see photo).
Once a year, I take a trip to the Channel Islands in Southern California with the Northern California Rainbow Divers, an LGBT diving club in the Bay area. We usually go out through Truth Aquatics in Santa Barbara. It is like diving camping – very rustic, but all of us are there to dive all day.
Other favorite places in order of what I enjoyed most (links are to my collection of photos on Flickr or Google of these trips):
- Vancouver Island – I have made two trips there and amazed by the abundance of life. The water is colder than Monterey (46-50) and not for beginners, but the conditions make for a proliferation of life.
- Fiji – this was a dream trip for our 25th anniversary
- Cozumel & Cancun – I’ve been here a couple of times now, and the drift diving is spectacular
Nearly all of my dives include photography, which is another important passion of mine. Below are some of my favorite images and you can see more on my underwater photography page.