Scuba Diving

As most know, scuba diving is my passion and I do it as often as I can. I get asked about it a lot so I thought I'd answer some frequently asked questions in this post. 

I am a master scuba diver. I started diving five years ago and have about 80 dives under my belt. 

In order to attain MSD you must have five specialty certifications and 50 dives as well as rescue diver. There are many to choose from but I have the following: peak performance buoyancy, equipment specialist, deep diver, wreck diver and enriched air diver (nitrox). I am an open water and advance open water diver as well. I also have National Geographic diver certification.

I have been diving in the following locales:

Turks and Caicos (certified here)
Cayman Islands (Brac and Little)
Florida Keys (couple of times)
Morehead, NC (sharks!)
Houston, TX (master diver)
Playa del Carmen, Mexico (cenotes)
Taveuni, Fiji
Barbados (several times)
Virginia (quarry)

I was most disappointed in Fiji. There were surges and plankton and it was really swift drift diving which does nothing for me. And, it was SO expensive. I probably won't go back there. My favorite has and always will be Barbados. The sea life isn't in abundance and there isn't a lot to see, the hurricanes toss everything around, but the viz goes on forever and the people are some of the nicest I've ever met. I also go in the off season when there aren't a lot of tourists diving so it's me and the dive master that finds the best stuff!

A little back story (I have this post all turned around): I decided to dive in order to confront my terrifying fear of the water. When I was little my family and I would go to Galveston and camp out. We had a camper and we took baths in coolers; that was the life! Anyway, one day when I was about eight or so I was in the ocean and a crab bit my toe. I'd already been a little wary of the dark, murky Gulf water, but that pretty much sealed the deal. I FU-REAKED out. I decided that ocean water and I didn't get along and that was that. UNTIL I went to Turks. Wow. That is when I decided that I needed to confront my fears in the beautiful, transparent waters of the Caribbean.

I signed up, took the class, did my pool work and got ready for the big water tests. This is where things go a little south. Got my gear on, went down about 30 feet and promptly decided that I was claustrophobic. I'd never really had that problem before and wasn't familiar with it so it succeeded in exacerbating an already delicate situation (my sanity). I immediately found the inflator button, miraculously, and proceeded to shoot to the surface like a bullet. Fortunately they hired some really amazing people, one being the dive master who dragged me back down, forced me to make eye contact and got me calm enough to breathe. I need to send her a thank you card. I surfaced, went to a doctor for the chest pains caused by breathing in so deeply I almost collapsed a lung and got the okay to go back out again. And so I did. And so here I am. 

I love diving.

Nikki Irish