SNEADS FERRY, NC April 11, 2015 – As a child, very little made me as happy as being on the water. My most fond and cherished memories involve my love for salt water. I grew up on the Intracoastal Waterway off highway 101 in Beaufort, NC and most of my days were spent ankle deep in marsh mud playing with periwinkles or canoeing with my father.
I learned to swim at summer camp at Camp Albemarle, sail at the NC Maritime Museum Sailing School, and surf at the Buddy Pelletier Surf Camp in Atlantic Beach with none other than Buddy himself. All of these things considered, you would have wondered why I never got into scuba diving much sooner than I did, but timing can be everything and 2014 was the year for me to become totally underwater obsessed.
My dear friend, and dive master, was having trouble finding a dive buddy and so I decided to go for it. In late August, I took my very first open water dive class and as soon as I put the gear on and went under, I knew that I never wanted to come back up. I was hooked!
My philosophy is that in order to truly enjoy something, you must get to know as much as you can about that something. Immediately after becoming Open Water certified, I signed up to take the PADI Advanced Open Water certification at one of my favorite dive shops in NC, Olympus Dive Center, and then the same day I finished that course I started the Rescue Diver class, which is by far my favorite class I have ever taken – including many years of college and specialty certifications for continuing education.
At the same time that I was wrapping up the Rescue Diver course, I decided to take the PADI/Project AWARE Shark Conservation class. I’ve always adored sharks as well as all marine creatures, but never had the opportunity to be up close and personal with one, with the exception of a baby shark that I saved from a surf fisherman (another story).
One of my very first experiences diving with sharks was at the Caribsea Wreck, just off the coast of NC. I knew there would be sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, there and I was really excited, but I had no idea that there would be hundreds! It was like nothing I could ever use words to describe. It was absolutely breath taking. I was, am still, mesmerized by their grace and beauty.