For some, learning to dive started as a fascination with the ocean or stemmed from a relative who was already a certified scuba diver — the team behind Scuba Diving magazine is equally infatuated with the underwater world and uniquely drawn to the sport for different reasons. We sat down with the editors and creators who bring Scuba Diving magazine to life each month to find out why they learned to scuba dive and how they Live Unfiltered. Read on for more of their inspiring scuba stories.

Candice Landau shows off her scuba fin art.

From a Land-Locked South African to a Scuba Diving Magazine Content Manager

Like many South Africans, I have in some sense always been a child of the water. Growing up, I spent many afternoons in a swimming pool. I swam laps at school. I came home and submerged until I was cold then got out and lay on the bricks to warm up. When I was warm, I got right back in. I’d imagine myself an explorer, a world-record breath holder, and a scuba diver. I was a true water baby. If you’d strapped a tank on my back and put a regulator in my mouth back then I’d be a marine biologist today; no doubt about it.

Unfortunately, living in landlocked Johannesburg, scuba diving was never on my parents’ radar. I only learned to dive at age 29, years after my parents, my sisters and I immigrated to the U.S.A. No one else in my immediate family had tried scuba diving so I had very little to go off of. Living in the equally landlocked city of Eugene, Oregon, it wasn’t until I drove past a dive shop that an interest I’d had in the recesses of my mind, rose to the surface again. Maybe I could learn to dive. It couldn’t hurt to ask, could it? Braving my trepidation (who learned to dive in Oregon?!), I walked into the dive shop and inquired. It was simple. A month of pool and class sessions and then an Open Water checkout weekend. I signed up immediately.

Since getting certified I have never looked back. Diving has fulfilled something I think I was always searching for. It allowed me to become an explorer; it channeled my desire to learn obsessively (I take every dive class from every dive agency I can); it gave me access to a diverse community of people; and it put me in touch with an incredible, alien world that somehow most people on this planet still don’t realize they have access to. I became a scuba instructor to share this joy, and I took a job at Scuba Diving magazine because I cannot imagine not wanting to work in the dive industry every hour of my day.

If you’re the type of person who has ever written “scuba diving” on your bucket list, or if you love water, learn to dive. I can guarantee you won’t regret it. And, to anyone who says they can’t dive in cold water, that’s where some of my favorite diving takes place! So, whether you’re in Canada or Florida, find your nearest dive shop and inquire. Perhaps your journey will be just like mine. – Candice Landau, Senior Content Manager

Robby Myers tests out new scuba gear at Alexander Springs, Florida.

Visiting Hawaii as a Teen Left its Mark on Now ScubaLab Director

The first time I encountered a coral reef was on a family trip to Maui as a teenager. During a day sightseeing trip out to Molokini Crater, I was awe-struck by the myriad of colors and creatures laid out below me – far below. It may have been only 60-some feet (18-some meters), but it may have well been the Mariana Trench for a high school snorkeler. The visibility was crystal clear, and I could see scuba divers all the way at the bottom, investigating something on the sea floor. Unfortunately, I was too far away to make out much more beyond their scuba tank and soon resumed my surface-level exploration. Back on the tour boat, the divers were excitedly sharing images and videos of what held their interest at depth; a playful octopus. Confirmed in my suspicion that there was much more to see at depth, I was determined to learn to scuba dive.

That opportunity wouldn’t come until almost four years later. When signing up for college classes at Indiana University, I came across the perfect elective — a scuba certification course. Despite its location in a land-locked state, IU has its own underwater science program, and I was immediately hooked. I took several advanced diving courses with the university, which involved biology classes in Grand Cayman and surveying pirate shipwrecks in the Dominican Republic. I have been diving ever since! – Robby Myers, ScubaLab Director

Ariella Simke dons her gear for a dive with her dad.

For This Associate Editor, Diving Has Always Been a Family Affair

I remember watching my parents disappear under the water on a night dive when I was a child. Stuck on the surface with my babysitter, I tried to comprehend what I was seeing. They would emerge an hour later, smiling, chatting, and refreshed. After several more years of their adventurous stories, I finally came of age and was offered the opportunity to get certified with my older sister as my buddy. I have always loved animals and nature, and for me, diving was a chance to get close to the animals. I was a pretty tiny kid, and kids’ gear in 2003 was not what it is today, so I had some struggles finding the right fit, but over time I became more comfortable and confident in the water and looked forward to every dive. Diving has been a family activity for many years, it continues to bring us together, allow us to travel, and encourage us to reconnect away from our busy lives. – Ariella Simke, Associate Editor

Kristin Paterakis ready for a dive with her underwater camera rig.

Once Fearful, Now an Accomplished Diver and Underwater Photographer

I have always been fascinated by the ocean, frequenting the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Maryland coast as a child. I dreamed of being a dolphin trainer or marine veterinarian – basically, wanting to magically grow gills and “be part of their world.”

I gained my first glimpse at life beneath the waves while studying abroad at The Island School in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas, at the impressionable age of sixteen. As others may be ashamed to admit, I struggled. Breathing underwater felt so foreign. Having my first “confined” dives actually in the ocean with stinging jellies, burning saltwater and the (now recognized as irrational) fear of sharks, almost made me quit. But I persevered.  

I was entranced with learning more through visual observations and personal experiences with the undersea environment. My fear and discomfort came from a place of wanting to understand more and communicate my knowledge with others. During my subsequent dive training and travels, I found a void of compassionate and patient instructors. This motivated me to become a dive professional while pursuing my Master’s degree in the ever-so-tropical destination of Denver, Colorado. I strive to inspire those timid divers, just like me at 16, that the discomfort you may face can subside, and it is 110% worth it! Now, I continue to teach and educate others through visual media as a Content Creation Specialist with Scuba Diving magazine. – Kristin Paterakis, Content Creation Specialist

Stay up to date with the latest scuba diving travel stories, dive gear reviews and news from the dive industry by visiting or subscribing to the magazine.

Or, join PADI Club to receive a free subscription to Scuba Diving magazine (US only) as well as a multitude of other benefits, including 20% off PADI eLearning courses, 20% off PADI Gear and a free DAN Prepared Diver course. And, as an added benefit to joining PADI Club today, new members have a chance to be featured in Scuba Diving magazine in two months’ time.

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