I was a high school teacher, now I work in visitor communications in the Parks and Wildlife Service in WA.
Pipefish have been my major interest, passion and obsession over the last 15 years or so. Most of my non-RLS dives I head off on a pipefish bash, camera in hand. I still threaten to write up my records or formalise the study. I did actually launch the study one windy year at Rotto when everyone else gave a presentation on their projects and I had to knock something together. I was last and showed it on my notebook after we got back from the pub - citizen science, pipefish ID and distribution from photographs.
I love being underwater and learning about the things I see, I don’t mind counting things either and enjoy the challenge of navigating to a spot, laying the tape, discovering what there is to find and getting the details entered.
I had been with Reef Watch in SA before moving to WA in 2007. I heard something might be coming up so I kept my ear to the ground. I joined RLS at the first WA training in 2008. I had offered to volunteer with Fisheries but the best they could do was point me toward another volunteer. Paul Day and I both signed up, trained together and dived together. 11 years later we’re still going! We’re pretty different but this RLS thing we share seems unshakeable.
So many memories! I remember thinking one day on the boat at Ningaloo, planing home on a flat sea, that RLS had enabled me to go places I wouldn’t have been and do things I wouldn’t have done and I felt so thankful and satisfied. Doing the Abrolhos Islands on Reef Dragon and sailing home to Perth was pretty good. Totally absorbing.
I learned to snorkel in a little sandy pool on Yorke Peninsula when I was about 5 but was a late starter with scuba, getting my ticket nearly 30 years later. It has now been 25 years. My BC, regs and black ally (tank) are all about 20 years old. So much water, so little time. I love Oyster Rocks and Brubudjoo north of Coral Bay, a couple spots off Port Hedland I may never see again and Port Hughes Jetty.
See Q1 , i.e. Pipefish!