I was more motivated to become a tech instructor, because I’m a woman.
Take me through you dive story. When did you first start?
In 2008, Salcombe, England. I didn’t know what to expect but saw loads of hermit crabs and spider crabs, it was like a carpet of them!
And your open water?
My job was teaching different outdoor sports, rock climbing, kayaking, caving, etc and so scuba diving already appealed. Then, my ex and I were making a decision about where to go on holiday and we couldn’t agree.
So we had a holiday at home and learned to scuba dive. We were lucky to have an instructor who lived 20 minutes away.
When did you go pro?
In 2010. By then I was already living in Dahab and teaching rock climbing. Being a Divemaster in my spare time seemed like a good back up when I didn’t have rock climbing students. And then I quickly did my instructor development course. I’m an instructor. I’ve taught for all my adult life. It’s what I love doing. It was a natural progression.
Now you are tech instructor- that’s what you do predominantly?
Still do a bit of rec- but mostly tec. It’s a challenge. You take someone who is already competent in the water and push them a little bit more, get them to see what they are capable of. That’s really awesome.
So why tec dive?
I’ve always had a sense of adventure. This is just the next step up for exploring underwater.
I originally wanted to be able to learn to tec dive because I wanted to be able to go on 2-3 hour dives with my camera without needing to worry I would get in a situation I couldn’t handle. If you are a photographer, you should make tec diving a priority. I wasn’t at the time that interested in being the deepest diver.
Now, I’m happy that we get to go somewhere others don’t get to go, somewhere few people have seen and few people have taken photos
I get to share that with the people back at the surface and those who don’t dive quite so deep.
The question is “what’s down there?” For me it’s about the topography.
So you’ve been to the bottom of the blue hole.
Oh yes, of course.
Is it boring? Is it just a hole that is blue?
It’s never boring. When you are going that deep even if there were nothing to see, you still need to focus.
Just being at the bottom looking up at the arch is phenomenal. At that point it’s 50 meters above your head. And then you can see the surface 100 meters above you, just a tiny light trickling down through.
It’s absolutely amazing.
How would you compare to rock climbing?
It’s a very different challenge. With rock climbing, you know where you are going and you are adapting and using whatever you need to get there.
With tech diving, there’s a plan. You follow the plan. It’s step by step all the way through.
Do you think anything is different about your point of view in tec diving because you are a women?
When I made a joke to my instructor about wanting to be a tec instructor, he said, ‘Oh no you have to be able to help people out of the water. It’s really heavy stuff.’ and I was like ‘Right. Tec instructor it is.’
What are you looking forward to in your career?
I’m really want to do my cave courses. After what happened in Thailand, I’m considering doing them in England. I want to train for serious conditions. I like the challenge and being prepared.
I’m also learning to use a rebreather at the moment, so I see myself becoming a rebreather instructor at some point in the future.
Do you still use your rock climbing?
Funny you should ask, last few days I was rigging a zip line across two buildings in Cairo for a movie. Years ago I was contacted by production, asking us to do an advert in the Sinai involving rock climbing. They needed someone to teach the actor to rock climb.
and then it was like ‘oh so you know ropes, can you rig this?’
and then it was ‘can you do another job?’
<at this point we got off topic>Working on movies… man I’d love to be a stunt diver….
Actually, I did a shoot in a massive pool with a massive green screen in Cairo. I was a safety diver.
They had a mock dive boat with green screens behind and one of the actors was supposed to finish up in the water, which is why they needed the safety diver. I ended up sat in my twinset
sitting on the side of the pool for hours. Eventually, they ditched the shoot. Not so glamorous.
Still safe to say you’ve had a pretty cool career. Best dive?
A two hour dive on my rebreather around the Thistlegorm with my camera and my buddy. We dove it in a way that by the time we circled to the top of this massive wreck, which sits at 16 meters, we no deco by so we took our 3 minute safety stop because it felt wrong not to.
And, of course, the dive I did to 150 m. You go down and out from the arch to hit that depth. I had support, but for the deep section I was alone. Turning round and looking up at the arch 100 meters above me was amazing. The blue arch looks tiny and then here’s me; I’m just this tiny dot surrounded by this massive dark sea. And I’m the only person here. It made me feel wonderfully insignificant.