Born and raised in landlocked Indiana, it has been a goal of mine since childhood to escape the freezing winters and exchange them for a life of fun in the sun by the ocean! Not knowing exactly how to get there, I decided to major in Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management at Indiana University. In order to graduate with my degree, one of the last requirements was that I participate in a 14 week long internship in my field of study.
With my major, I had many different possibilities going forward with selecting an internship, but only one goal in mind: Intern somewhere I would love to work and a location I would love to live in. As a result, I got in contact with Ricardo Taveira, the owner of Hawaii Eco Divers on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, whom I had the opportunity to meet the year before while I was on vacation. I went for a dive with Hawaii Eco Divers on the west side of Oahu and knew that I wanted to dive every day for the rest of my life, hopefully in Hawaii! Taveira had mentioned interning with him while I was on vacation, so an internship with him was the only option I planned to pursue. With one phone call, I spoke to Ricardo Taveira and discussed my options. Everything worked out with my over the phone interview and following paperwork for my university, and so it was confirmed: I was really going to North Shore Hawaii for my dream internship, with an environmentally conscious company, on Oahu.
One of the big pull factors with interning at Hawaii Eco Divers was their commitment to the environment and ocean conservation and preservation through education! I am very passionate about protecting our planet and trying to save it from climate change, so Hawaii Eco Divers was the perfect company for me to intern with, given that all of their tours are based on ecotourism principals and are environmentally conscious at all times. Upon arriving, I was only open water certified for scuba diving, but I had completed all of the advanced certifications bookwork, I just needed to do the skills and get signed off.
In my first couple weeks, I finished my advanced certification and began working on my rescue diver certification with master scuba dive instructor Loren Kearney. This is easily the most rewarding and challenging dive class I have ever taken! I am very confident in the skills I learned and my ability to manage an emergency situation regarding diving accidents. Rescue training is something that I will never forget. The next step in continuing my certifications was to become a dive master.
Before I could be a dive master, I needed to learn all of the ins and outs of running your own scuba tour company. I learned so much about dive equipment, booking dives, sending confirmation emails, selling dives to customers, determining which dive would be the best for customers, basics of running a dive shop, filling tanks, cleaning and maintain equipment, ordering equipment etc. and I still have more to learn! The requirements for becoming a dive master are long and strenuous, but the resulting career path and reward of following your passion and dreams is more than rewarding!
I am very grateful for the opportunity to train with Hawaii Eco Divers, and I am even more grateful that my internship turned into a full time job, in my dream location, doing something I always dreamed of doing, scuba diving and educating people on the importance of ocean conservation and preservation as well as educating them on the unique species endemic to Hawaii!