SCUBA STAR: Mersi, 20, is one of the only Indonesian female Dive Master currently working in Labuan Bajo, Flores Island – more commonly known in the scuba world as Komodo, famous for its crazy currents and magical mantas.
One of our GTS Facebook group moderators, Weeze, first met Mersi on a liveaboard in Komodo last year – her massive smiles, enthusiasm and dancing were infectious – underwater, it’s a great way to pass those safety stop minutes! In a region where scuba diving is dominated by men training to be a Dive Master it was not a usual, or easy path for Mersi to take. Weeze was inspired and humbled talking to her, learning about her journey taking her to where she is today – a confident, friendly, experienced and inspirational dive guide.
Thinking about becoming a marine biologist? Here at GTS we have interviewed a fellow GTS member and marine biologist, Rachel Hale from the UK, to tell us everything there is to know about marine biology a marine biologists salary, the steps to getting the right education to head into marine biology and much more.
Have you always dreamed of owning your only dive centre? Buying a place in an exotic location and taking people out diving every day. Well, just like many other Girls that Scuba Sophie Keningale had the same dream - and managed to make it happen in Gran Canaria just a few years after leaving school! We find out her story here!
The Abingdon Co is the epitome of female empowerment. We met this awesome group of women headed up by Abingdon Welch back at the DEMA show in Las Vegas, Nov 2018 and have been lucky enough to spend the few months since testing out their beautiful dive watches and getting to know more about what they are doing in support of women in STEAM industries.
Here at Girls that Scuba we believe in highlighting women in the scuba dive industry who don't usually get the recognition they deserve. We did a mini series on our Instagram account showing women - who didn't have a big following to constantly recognise them - doing amazing things within the ocean and we've been doing this since the day we launched this website in the form of "Scuba Stars". And we are delighted to feature another bad-ass scuba girl making a difference. Let us introduce to you Flossy Barraud:
Christine Grosart is qualified as a full and sidemount cave diver through the Cave Diving Group (CDG) and IANTD and holds Cave 1 and Trimix certs with GUE. Through her diving career she has supported divers such as Rick Stanton in pushing the limits of caves including the Fontaine de Truffe and the Marche Pied. Chris has also successfully headed up cave diving exploration of her own and currently has the end of the line in two caves in France and has pushed the dry cave beyond sumps* in a third and has the end of the line in a Izvor Licanke, Croatia. In 2009 Chris broke the women’s cave diving depth record from a solo dive in Wookey Hole (UK).
Her day job sees her working as a front-line Paramedic and an Offshore & Dive Medic, regularly taking a helicopter to work on the gas platforms and vessels in the North Sea. She also owns and is cave leader of WetWellies Caving in the UK. In her free time she volunteers as Secretary, Trustee, Underwater Photographer and diver for Ghost Fishing UK.
*Sump: a hollow or depression in which liquid collects, especially one in the floor of a mine or cave.
After such notable achievements and more than a lifetime’s worth of work, it was high time for Girls That Scuba/Girls that Tech Dive to catch up with Chris for an honest, funny and in-depth interview to get some insider information on trail blazing, realising aspirations and kicking ass in the diving industry.
Girls that Scuba is home to many Mums that Scuba and we wanted to start highlighting more mums that have managed to continue their passion and also turn a business into it. We recently met Laura Tryrrell owner of Cabo Private Guide at our GTS event in Los Cabo who spoke to us about her journey as a mum in the scuba dive industry.
I think I was about 6 weeks pregnant when I found out. Actually, I think I had just come back from feeling particularly nauseous during a deep dive specialty when I decided to take the test. Or 3 tests actually. A few phone calls to family and friends later and I realised my life had changed completely. Of course it was daunting but I was cool with it; I was lucky to be in relationship with a great guy and my 35 year old ovaries had been screaming at me to grow a human for a few years by now.
But I’m a dive pro. What path does my life take now?
Lombok, in Indonesia has been in the news a lot this week, and for something no one ever wants to hear. The magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit, alongside a smaller (but still huge) one and after-shook has turned lives upside down. There are tons of news stories and social media posts on what happened and the devastation it left, but we are here to concentrate on the positives, and to celebrate and honour the scuba dive community who have literally dropped everything to provide aid and help for locals who have lost homes.
We always knew the scuba dive community had that special spark about it, but how the community over in Lombok have acted and responded is not only admirable but heartwarming. Here we celebrate those making a difference.
Throughout this article we will be sharing multiple GoFundMe pages where you can donate to help everyone on the ground right now rebuild homes and lives. It is imperative we don't stop donating and spreading awareness.
For news and pictures on the actual earthquake please visit here, we are dedicating this article to the scuba dive communities efforts and tireless love and support to islands they call home.
Girls that Scuba has not even celebrated it's 2nd birthday yet and is already attempting to break records all over the world. Through the power of the female community we managed to get 48 women together in Gili T, Indonesia and try and attempt a world record, but mainly, to have as much fun as possible during a day packed full of female scuba power!
Gemma Smith is a female scuba dive role model of our time; a technical diver, caver diver, Elite Instructor, PADI Ambassadiver, expedition leader, and the first woman ever to dive at the world famous Antikythera Shipwreck - which yielded some of the most important ancient sculptures ever to be found on the seabed. At only 27 years old she has achieved more in her diving career than most will in their lives and has been a constant inspiration to all - no more so than the Girls that Scuba community who have followed her expeditions and stories from the beginning.
On March 14th 2018 Gemma was involved in a car accident - without even being in the car - while walking along the road in The Faroe Islands. What happened next changed her life forever.
We speak exclusively to Gemma about her accident, her diving background, the support of the community and what it is like being a female in the technical diving/recreational diving industry.
At Girls that Scuba we aim to encourage and empower more women to start scuba diving and when we heard Belinda's story about getting through hard times by starting to scuba dive we wanted to share it to motivate and EMPOWER. So, that's what we are doing; here's Belinda's story.
On Girls that Scuba we’ve heard it all; stories involving bodily functions, dive boat slip ups, lack of toilets(?!) and many more in between. And because we are a friendly sharing bunch - who knows how to laugh at ourselves - we thought we'd share some of these with you! Before we put you off, please remember, diving makes us incredibly happy! We all agree that the experiences you are about to read are worth it for what we gain in return; our love and passion for scuba diving!
Dear wetsuit manufacturers,
My name is Hannah and I’m a twenty something travel addict who is head over heels in love with scuba diving. I love marine life, I love the relaxing feeling of being totally submerged in the ocean, and I love the comradery with my fellow ocean lovers. My happiest days are gearing up on boats in the middle of Komodo National Park, or off the coastline of Indonesia’s islands and I dream of diving and snorkeling around the world in places like Silfra, Iceland or Manitoba, Canada with the beluga whales. But, with all my scuba destination dreams and goals there’s something that is holding me back.
You see, while I may be like every other diver in terms of my passion for the underwater world, I always stand out. Why? Because I’m bigger. Curvy, voluptuous, plus-size, even fat if that’s how you want to say it. This shouldn’t be a problem. After all, people come in all shapes and sizes. However, in this industry it is; because apparently, in your minds, my ‘above average size’ means that I shouldn’t be diving.
For most people the first breath taken underwater is truly life changing. Whether its experiencing the marine life, overcoming a challenge or doing something that few get to experience; there is something that happens on most people’s first dive that fundamentally changes them as a person. It was exactly the same for me, I was completely hooked after my first DSD and before I had even started my Open Water Course, I was already had my mind set on becoming a Dive Pro.
Nearly every diver I meet has dreams of being an instructor and travelling the world. This is all very well and good but let’s face it, not everyone can or wants to teach. So what else is out there? What other jobs are there where you can work in diving but without the repetition of doing DSD after DSD, OW after OW? Without all the customer service? A mine clearance diver do I hear you say? Sounds interesting; I wanted to find out more!
It's one of our passions here at Girls that Scuba; finding women who are making waves in the professional dive industry, and there is none quite like Richa Malik - a tech diver and instructor from India who quit her job, and faced many questions by her stereotype-keeping Indian colleagues, to pursue her career as a scuba instructor. Your passion is infectious girl, we hand the spotlight over to you...
We first heard Amber's story a few months ago when a video of her was shared to our Girls that Scuba group, and it was one of our most interacted posts. Scuba girls from all around the world offered Amber their support, love and encouragement, and in return Amber's motivation and fearless attitude inspired us all to work even harder to achieve our dreams. Now, we have the honour of speaking to Amber and hearing more of her incredible scuba story. Over to you, Amber:
*Read to the bottom to see how you can support her*
When a member of our GTS community came forward to talk about how she achieved her dream of scuba diving after being diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Lymphoma in August 2008 which started from her elbow and then spread into both sides of her groin, we all read with a small tear in our eye. A tear for happiness, for bravery and for a woman, who we didn't know, but we are now connected to through the love of the ocean. Gabrielle, 50, kindly shares more of her story with us here.