September certified with PADI in March of 2000, dive professional since 2003 and she hasn’t looked back. As an Course Director, she teaches pool and class for Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Deep, Night, Navigation, Multilevel, Peak, Emergency First Response, Naturalist, Photography, Altitude, Dry, DPV, Boat and O2 specialties. She can certify you to be an Adventure Diver, a Master Scuba Diver, a Dive Master, an Assistant Instructor or an Open Water Instructor.
She also manages an active Seals program for kids during the winter months. She organizes classes, keeps the paperwork up to date and remembers everybody’s name. She’s got a daytimer that would make your head spin but if she meets you to teach or dive, she is ready and organized.
Born and raised in Calgary... A rare breed.
I got certified back in 2006 with The Dive Shop, it was something I always wanted to try. Right from the first breath underwater I was hooked and knew I would be an instructor one day.
I became a Divemaster in 2007 so I could further my education and start working with students. When I became a PADI instructor, I was the youngest in Canada at the time.
My favourite courses to teach are ice diving, full face mask, wreck diving, and tec diving.
In 2012, I moved to Bonaire to teach in the warm tropical waters. My first dive there I jumped in the water and a pod of dolphins came swimming by! A little baby dolphin came up and swam in between my legs before going off to join the pod, first time I actually cried underwater!
Several years ago, I worked with all the scuba shops in Western Canada as a Representative for Sherwood Scuba, Akona, Genesis Scuba and several other brands.
Now I work for the full face mask company, Ocean Reef, as the Training Development Coordinator for all of Canada!
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to live from Nova Scotia to Alberta, born in Ontario, but definitely consider Alberta my home. I grew up with a genuine love for the water. I was always mesmerized by the ocean and the calmness I felt being in the water.
After meeting my now husband Sean, we embarked on a weekend date of learning to Scuba dive. I was hooked from the moment I took my first breath underwater. Thus began a whirlwind of new experiences. We were open water certified in 2009 completing our open water dives in Lake Minnewanka in a wetsuit, which very quickly led to drysuit diving. Advanced Open water completed weeks before our wedding in 2012, and we were off to Scuba Club Cozumel where we began to collect certification cards on our honeymoon.
The next step came soon thereafter with Divemaster in 2013. Both my two children and Sean’s daughter were eager to try Scuba, so at age 13, 12, and 10 they learned to dive in the cold waters of Lake Chaparral. Christmas was on the horizon with a trip to Roatan, it was worth every penny to watch their faces and hear their stories as Christmas morning became about turtles and moray eels. Our Instructor course followed in 2014 with the help of amazing mentorship. Master Scuba Diver Trainer was achieved in October of the same year. Being a teacher, it was a seamless transition to teaching scuba, but it was much quieter under the water than in my regular classroom.
My favorite courses to teach involve kids. The Seal Program has developed into a bit of an obsession with creating my own AquaMissions: Shark Tales, Ice Age Meltdown, Jedi Training, Ghostbusters, and Pirates of the Deep. But my most rewarding teaching moment was watching a new enthusiast, who could not even swim when we started, eventually jump off Oil Slick Leap together in Bonaire, as a fully certified diver.
My most favorite place to dive has to be Bonaire. So much so, that during the pandemic I painted rocks yellow and put the names of my favorite dive sites on them to include in my backyard landscaping. This is how the sites are marked for divers in Bonaire.
When I am not diving, being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a furmom, and teacher, I am found coaching club U17 Women's Volleyball for Canada West, working for Stampede, watching movies, and enjoying my four legged 140lb Great Dane Ayra, rightfully named after the character in the Game of Thrones.
I love my scuba family, the friends I have made, the travel and experience we have shared. From deep, to wreck, to sidemount diving, I continually learn from those around me. I am grateful to be able to experience the underwater world , to see every turtle, dolphin, shark down to the elegance of the drum fish, octopus, or blemy. Come give it a try with us!
Jean-francois bolduc (french jeff)
Meet French Jeff!! French Jeff was born in Quebec in a small village much too quiet for him.
Q: When did you get certified and Why? A: It was by pure chance, during a trip to Mexico that I saw two divers getting equipped to explore a cave that the idea of scuba diving came to me. On my way back from this trip, I contacted a dive shop and said: I want to go cave diving. They laughed. So I started my open water course and a few minutes later I decided to become a diving instructor.
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: 6 months later, I had my Divemaster card in hand and I moved to Alberta, with, of course, no idea how to speak English. That's when my adventure with The Dive Shop began! After a year of teaching DSD and refresher courses, French Jeff took the plunge and became an instructor.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to teach? A: Night diving is my favourite course to teach (just because it's very nice to camp and dive at the same time with friends and Nala the dog...), and also conducting a Divemaster program is pretty cool. I is a gear addict too.
Q: What has been your favorite dive experience so far? A: My most memorable diving experience is probably the Giant manta ray's night dive, in Kona and the sea lion dives on the West coast.
Q: What’s your favorite food/drink? A: My favourite food is anything Sabrina, the Italian instructor of the Dive Shop can cook!
Q: What’s your favorite activity OTHER than diving? A: Other than diving, woodworking is another great passion. Love the tools, they are like gears!! And travelling the world with my wife and my dog in the minivan too!!!
Q: One little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: Finally, a fact about me... Without a scuba mask in my face, ocean and lake water are my worst fear (I cannot swim in small waves... too scared). But as soon as I have a mask... nothing will stop me to go in the dark water, wreck or cave!
French Jeff est né au Québec dans un petit village bien trop calme pour lui.
Q : Quand avez-vous obtenu votre certification et pourquoi ? R : C'est par pur hasard, lors d'un voyage au Mexique que j'ai vu deux plongeurs s'équiper pour explorer une grotte que l'idée de la plongée sous-marine m'est venue. Au retour de ce voyage, j'ai contacté un magasin de plongée et j'ai dit Je veux faire de la plongée en grotte. Ils ont ri. J'ai donc commencé mon cours de plongée en eau libre et quelques minutes plus tard, j'ai décidé de devenir moniteur de plongée.
Q : Quand êtes-vous devenu un Pro (Divemaster/Instructeur) et pourquoi ? R : 6 mois plus tard, j'avais ma carte de Divemaster en main et j'ai déménagé en Alberta, sans savoir, bien sûr, comment parler anglais. C'est alors que mon aventure avec The Dive Shop a commencé ! Après un an d'enseignement du DSD et de cours de recyclage, French Jeff a fait le grand saut et est devenu instructeur.
Q : Quel est votre enseignement préféré ? R : La plongée de nuit est mon cours préféré (juste parce que c'est très agréable de camper et de plonger en même temps avec des amis et Nala le chien...), et aussi le fait de diriger un programme de Divemaster est assez cool. Je suis aussi accro à l'équipement.
Q : Quelle a été votre expérience de plongée préférée jusqu'à présent ? R : Mon expérience de plongée la plus mémorable est probablement la plongée de nuit de la raie manta géante, à Kona, et les plongées des otaries sur la côte ouest.
Q : Quelle est votre boisson/nourriture préférée ? R : Ma nourriture préférée est tout ce que Sabrina, l'instructeur italien du Dive Shop, peut cuisiner !
Q : Quelle est votre activité préférée AUTRE que la plongée ? R : En dehors de la plongée, le travail du bois est une autre grande passion. J'adore les outils, ils sont comme des engrenages ! Et aussi voyager dans le monde avec ma femme et mon chien dans le minivan ! !!
Q : Un fait peu connu à votre sujet que vous êtes prêt à partager ? R : Enfin, un fait à mon sujet... Sans masque de plongée sur le visage, l'eau des océans et des lacs est ma pire crainte (je ne peux pas nager dans les petites vagues... trop effrayé). Mais dès que j'ai un masque... rien ne m'empêchera d'aller dans l'eau sombre, dans une épave ou une grotte !
I was born in Scotland, moved to Canada in 1971 to Toronto then Calgary in 1975. Been here ever since.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I got certified in 2007 after a trip to Cuba where I was snorkeling on the surface and saw a group of diver below me. Thought that it would be way better if I could stay down longer to look at all the cool things. Next thing I knew I’m diving in Egypt and getting my mind blown. It was like being in a National Geographic video!!
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instrucor) and why? A: I became a Divemaster in 2011 as I enjoyed helping the new divers. Then it was on to Instructor in 2013. I also achieved my Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating in 2013.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: I enjoy teaching sidemount and night diving. Sidemount for the extra range that it opens up. Night diving as it can be the most relaxing type of diving. Plus the critters are out at night.
Q: Favourite dive experience so far? A: I have dove 37 different locations in all kinds of conditions. Deepest dive was in Bonaire to 225ft. It gets a little dark there. But I would have to say that Truk lagoon in Micronesia has been my favourite so far, diving the wrecks of the Japanese fleet from WW2. Nuclear missile silo in Washington may of been a close second.
Q: Favourite food/drink? A: Steak and beer.
Q: What’s your favourite activity OTHER than diving?? A: I like to snowboard and build custom cars.
Q: One little know fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: I play didgeridoo!
Meet Jeff! I Grew up in Bonnyville Alberta. Lived there pretty much all my life until I moved to Calgary in 2018. I’ve been Divorced now for about 9 years but was married for 10 years prior. I have a 12 year old daughter with my ex wife that I share custody with.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I got certified 10 years ago in Turks and Caicos, as for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to breathe underwater. I find diving very peaceful, feeling weightless and exploring places that many are unable to see. Up until 2018, my entire dive career was warm water. My cold-water diving didn’t start until I found out about a diving club in Cold Lake, and became an active member.
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I became a Divemaster in January 2020. After I moved to Calgary in late 2018, I was introduced to many of the Dive Shop team and I found out that the dive community here is highly active. Late in 2018 I signed up for Ice diving and then continued on to get rescue certified along with side mount the summer after. Once I was done with rescue, I decided to take on the challenge of Divemaster. Now I am working on my IDC (instructor development course) as I love helping people learn to dive and introducing this wonderful world to them!
Q: What is your favorite thing to teach? A: My Favorite thing to teach is any course I can tag along with an instructor at this point! Open water is fun as I get to see lots of progression in students and see the sense of accomplishment as they progress.
Q: What’s been your favorite dive experience so far? A: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I think my favorite dive experience so far would be the first dive I did after becoming open water certified. It was a week after I became certified, I went on a shore dive in Grand Cayman. It was such a different experience then the course dives! For one, no pressure of the course! Also, having someone else carry and take care of rinsing my gear was something I was definitely not used to! My open water instructor told me to try to dive as soon as possible after the course and I was sure glad he did! It cemented in me how wonderful scuba diving can be!
Q: Favorite food/drink? A: My favorite food is probably a good cheeseburger! Well that and Pizza! And I feel that I may be addicted to diet Pepsi, but I also try to drink water on occasion.
Q: What’s your favorite activity OTHER than diving? A: I am also a certified snowboard instructor, so, in the off season from diving, you can find me on the mountain teaching snowboarding! Again, it is fun to see people that have never set foot on a board, progressing to the point of being a snowboarder! Other then that, in the summer I enjoy the outdoors, and taking a stress relieving trip on my sport bike!
Q: One little known fact about yourself that you are willing to share?? A: I really like to know how things work. I spend lots of time researching strange things, and if you ask, I probably have some useless knowledge stored somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain!
Sab was born and raised in Calgary, and spent most of her summers in Italy where her family is from! She's a PADI MSDT, rabid freediver (not a freediving instructor contrary to popular belief - she needs that on a shirt), and a GUE Tech 1 Diver. She's currently studying Archaeology for fun, as she is a bit of an avocational underwater archaeology enthusiast. She is also an expert enabler.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: As a kid, I used to freedive with my little brother in Italy all the time, I read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and decided I wanted to be Captain Nemo when I grew up (not a viable career choice), and just loved water all around. So, I got certified in 2002 at age 14 after incessantly pestering my parents while on vacation in Mexico! They agreed to it just to shut me up. They had no idea the monster they'd just created.
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I became a Divemaster in 2013 and an Instructor in 2015. I love to find out someone's 'Why' for diving, and help them chart a path to get there (it's not all about taking courses and practicing skills). As an instructor, it meant that I also got to take everything I'd learned and struggled with as a budding diver and use those experiences to help other divers hopefully chart an easier path to achieving their goals.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: SO not a fair question. So many courses for different reasons. I enjoy working one-on-one with divers to really help them finetune their skills regardless of what level they're at, especially if they feel as though they didn't quite get to spend the time they needed on their earlier training (this applies in both course situations or just a fun-diving situation - doesn't always have to be a course!). Rescue is incredibly fun to teach. Aside from really enjoying challenging students, it's amazing to watch them gain confidence and feel empowered to continue their development as divers with a fresh perspective.
Q: Favourite dive experience so far? A: Too many to really pick from. Antarctica was awesome (penguins smell awful - SO much poop), freediving under ice in a swimsuit is super fun and a regular occurrence, freediving for amphorae shards in Italy as a kid was definitely a core memory (and set me down my current path), but diving the West Coast of BC will always be my ABSOLUTE favorite place to dive - wrecks, reefs, critters, spicy currents - it brings me so much joy!
Q: Favourite food/drink? A: Yes. I like food and drink. But if forced to pick - a simple thin-crust wood-fired Italian pizza. Gosh I love food. Time for a snack. Oh - drink - Root Beer if picking a kid-friendly bevvie. Root Beer Floats are an acceptable breakfast food for the record.
Q: What’s your favourite activity OTHER than diving?? A: I'm also a canyoneer, rock/ice climber, cold-water enthusiast, and anything I can do with my floofy doggo Mr. Chiefy. As a fan of underwater archaeology, I also try to learn new things when I can about things that interest me. I also like to eat recreationally; it is one of my favorite pastimes (this means I love to cook).
Q: One little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: I actually really struggled with low-visibility diving at first! Like full blown was not a fan! After much practice and patience from some treasured mentors, I overcame that and now I love working with divers who need a bit of extra help getting comfortable with their skills in the water!
1) Originally from the Okanagan, but have been in southern Alberta for over 30 years.
2) certified in 2009 in Lake Minnewanka (the first and last wetsuit dives in cold water!!) with Deb. I had done a DSD in 2005 in Curaçao and loved it but my spouse at the time would never have done it.
3) Went Pro in 2013 as a DM and then a year later became an Instructor. Became an MSDT the same year 2014. Being an educator as my regular career and guidance and encouragement from my previous course director I made the easy decision to become an instructor, it just seemed natural as a teacher to want to teach others a passion.
4)Favourite course(s) to teach- Confined, O/W, Advanced, and drysuit. Creating local divers from pool to advanced. Ensuring they leave the pool with the ability to be neutrally buoyant is my goal and expectation for every student, even those not sticking around to dive local. I want divers from our Shop to be the best divers out there.
5) Whale shark snorkeling off Cancun…dive related- any dive in Bonaire!
6) Food- Anything Mexican or Italian. Drink - Water or the odd local micro brew.
7)Trail running, obstacle course racing (Spartan Races), and training.
8) I was an extra in a movie…I played a Mexican refugee in Texas Rangers.
I am a born and raised Calgarian. I grew up involved in the music scene both in youth choir then in the marching band throughout high school and beyond so I consider myself a bit of a band nerd, playing the trombone and euphonium for 15 years. I fell in love with scuba diving in Thailand and it's changed the course of my life teaching and working in the industry. I recently have gone back to school to complete my Bachelor of Education in the elementary stream, I love working with kids in the pool so it was a natural progression for me to evolve into a official classroom.
2. When did you get certified and why?
I got my open water certification in Thailand in 2015 and quickly progressed through my advanced and rescue diver while abroad, absolutely loving the beauty both above and under the water, and the challenge that each new certification presented. I was working on a volunteer mission focusing on dives against debris which cemented my desire to help change and keep the waters and reefs and healthy and clean as possible. I loved knowing that I was making a difference which each abandoned ghost net retrieved from the reef, and each piece of plastic removed from the water.
3. When did you become a PADI Pro and why?
I feel in love with diving abroad, and knew when I returned home this was something I wanted to continue. Drysuit diving was a bit of a shock compared to the warm waters I was used too but I was thrilled it opened up the opportunity to dive even in land locked Alberta. In the summer of 2015 I completed my Dive Master program and moved directly into my instructor development course, diving at every possible moment I could!
I love being able to share my experience with others and bring them into this beautiful quiet peace that I have found underwater. Becoming an instructor has been one of the best life decisions I have made.
4. What's your favourite thing to teach?
For scuba it's the Discover Scuba diving program. I love being able to hook newbies into the exciting world of diving, a little exposure goes along way, it's what initially got me excited into pursuing the open water certification in the first place way back when.
Now, I LOVE teaching the freediving program. It is by far the most freeing experience I have had underwater. Freediving has opened up a whole new world of self discovery and shown me a strength and confidence within myself I hadn't experienced before, and I love being able to share that serenity and self discovery with others.
5. Favourite Dive experiences so far?
There are so many it's hard to pick just one, but I remember on a night dive we turned our torches off and got to experience the bioilluminescence in the water. With every kick, a trail of sparkling blue iridescence would appear, it was absolutely magical. I remember feeling like a Disney princess dancing in the water, I probably looked like a lunatic, but I was having the time of my life enjoying natures wonders. There's always something on every dive that I get to admire and appreciate, whether its a beautiful interaction with marine life or a sunken tree in Waterton everything underwater calls to me.
6. Favourite food or drink?
If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would be potatoes. They are so versatile! Baked, shredded, chips so many tasty options!
7. Favourite thing to do OTHER than scuba?
I love being an auntie! She's my favourite little human and I love our play dates together! She constantly amazes me with how much she learns each day and I love being able to experience the world through her eyes, everything is new and exciting again!
8. One little Known fact
While I was living abroad in Grand Cayman, I experienced an underwater earthquake while on a dive. It was a surreal experience that took us a moment to comprehend what was actually happening. I thought it odd that all the fish suddenly dispersed, then we heard a loud deep rumble from the depths of the ocean as we saw the silt being shaken off the reef turning our 120ft visibility down to 20ft which was a bummer. I remember the feeling of it reverberating through my body as if I was in front of a bass speaker on full. It was a pretty epic experience, once in a lifetime for sure! No divers were harmed and all returned to the boat safely and it was all we could talk about for days!
I grew up in Terrace Bc and moved to Calgary in 1998 for work.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I got certified in 1996 because my brother couldn't take the course at that time, so he gave it to me!
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I became a pro in 2010 as a Divemaster and in 2011 became a instructor. And why, I found myself watching and helping out with classes anyways....so I seemed like the next logical step!
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: I like teaching equipment specialist course. It’s fun to show students things about gear.
Q: Favourite dive experience so far? A: Diving in Truk on the World War Two Japanese shipwrecks
Q: Favourite food/drink? A: I’m not picky....I like foooddddd! (Well, that is except for mushrooms!
Q: Favourite activity OTHER than diving? A: Going quading in the mud and getting stuck trying to get through.
Q: One little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: I ALWAYS have a stash of Mars bars with me when I’m diving!
I grew up in Calgary!!
Q:When did you get certified and why? A: I got certified Open water and advanced in Belize in 2012. Then did my rescue course in Waterton. I started diving because I wanted to see under water caves and wrecks! And of course for all the little fishies!
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I did my Divemaster and Instructor courses in Thailand. Why...why not....it was Thailand.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: I love to teach! A rescue course I taught while diving in Jordan was my fav - colder water but the life under the water is amazing!
Q: What’s your favourite food/drink? A: Food, food and more food! It’s one of my favourite things about travelling....well and the beer!
Q: What’s your favourite activity OTHER than diving? A: Love rock climbing and fire fighting.
Q: What’s one little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: I loves long walks on the beach!
Meet Ryan! I grew up in Mossleigh a small farming town on my families farm before coming to Calgary for university.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I got certified in 2007 at age 10 as early as possible I got hooked on SCUBA from seeing my parents dive and then from completing the PADI seal team program. I loved seeing all the diverse critters underwater.
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I beacame a PADI Divemaster through and internship in the Caribbean leeward islands in 2015 when I was 18. I came back to Calgary and dove my instructor course with The Dive Shop, when the company I interned with offered me a instructor job the following summer. I became an instructor in order to be able to share the underwater world I fell in live with with others.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: My favourite thing to teach is Open Water introducing new people to diving I find to be extremely rewarding. Ice is also really fun to teach and I would never miss it unless absolutely necessary.
Q: What’s been your favourite dive experience so far? A: My favourite dive experience so far was learning to feed Caribbean reef sharks in the Bahamas with my dad. Sharks are my favourite sea creatures and this experience was once in a life time! Learning to ice dive was also another amazing dive experience.
Q: Favourite food/drink? A: My favourite food is pasta I could eat it absolutely all the time!
Q: What’s your favorite activity OTHER than diving? A: My favourite non diving activity is downhill skiing!
Q: One little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: One little known fact about me is that I will wear cowboy boots with my dive gear whenever possible.
I was born in Cranbrook, BC. My family then moved to Biggar, Sask when I was 4 years old. Then finally made the move to Canmore in 1988, which is still where I call home today.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I got certified in the May of 2011, I was supposed do my dives in Lake Minnewanka but the lake was still frozen so we completed them in Lake Chaparral….and there my love for cold water diving began!
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I was certified as a Divemaster in 2015, and why…..well I was already working at The Dive Shop, and my boss told me too!
Q: What’s your favorite thing to teach? A: I really enjoy teaching the Discover Scuba program….seeing people try diving for the first time is fun!
Q: What’s your favorite food/drink? A: I like fooooodddddd! And I have been known to enjoy a good cold cider or a pint of Guinness!
Q: What’s your favorite activity OTHER than diving? A: Diving has really been my life’s activity for the last number of years….but I also enjoy off roading, especially in the mud! Mountain biking is also something I enjoy.
Q: What’s one little known fact about you that you are willing to share? A: Before I got into diving I was all about search and rescue, I was apart of the Canmore Fire Department for just shy of 5 years, I was also with Cochrane ground search and rescue, and I was with Civil Air Search & Rescue, and I am a tin basher by trade.
Grew up in Cochrane AB, Home of TERRIBLE traffic and too many houses.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: November 2014 in the incredible waters surrounding Victoria, BC. Shout out to Rockfish Divers! I had been interested in SCUBA since I had moved out to the island and thought why not sign up with the University of Victoria SCUBA Club and try it out!
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: After moving back to Calgary I was absolutely stoked on trying out Ice Diving. After diving with a couple of the folks at the Dive Shop I couldn't stay away! I signed up for my Divemaster course and by the end of 2017 I joined the official PADI rank of Designated Minion!
Q: Favorite thing to teach? A: As a Divemaster I don't teach but I love to assist with ice diving courses and the infamous ZOMBIE Apocalypse Diver Course!!! - seriously EVERYONE should sign up for that course.
Q: Favorite Dive Experience so far? A: Completing my PSAI Full Cave Course down in Tulum (Heart Eyes). For me it was by far the most challenging and incredibly beautiful diving experience.
Q: Favorite Food/Drink? A: .... I don't actually know. I eat most things, even a nice stocky juicy leaf of Kale. Some say that's cannibalism but I say that's just life bud. Wash it down with a nice glass of Whisky and you have yourself a meal!
Q: What’s your favorite activity OTHER than diving? A: Hard mix between Canyoning, Ice Climbing, and pretending I can play the bass!
Q: One little known fact about yourself that you are willing to share?? A: I just may have been in a black metal music video once.
I was born and almost fully raised in Calgary. And by almost, I spent 7 years of my childhood in Saudi Arabia when my dad worked there as an expat.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: Got my Jr. Open water in Saudi in 1995 (yes I still have the card!). Why? Our compound was an hour from the beach, and my dad signed us up on a random day when there was a PADI instructor in town. Then I waited until 2015 to get re-certified again because, well, one of my best friends signed me up and said “since we’re going to Fiji we have to”.
Q: When did you become an PRO (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I got my DM in Feb 2018. Why? Well why not? I love my dive family, and what better than spending more time with them? Also the husband signed me up as an anniversary gift. I’m starting to see a trend with everyone signing me up for stuff.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: Open water, mountain glacier lake style. The best part about finishing the lake weekend is seeing how proud and excited the new divers are!
Q: Favorite dive experience so far? A: Sea lions hands down. Those little (well not so little) buggers are just too cute and playful.
Q: favourite food/drink? A: Oh my, very hard question... I’ll literally eat anything but I’d have to say Mama’s cooking is the best! As for drink... does coffee count?
Q: favourite activity OTHER than diving? A: Globe trotting... but sometimes that could include diving too.
Q: One little know fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: When I was little (even before I got my Jr. Open Water), my dream job was to be a research diver for National Geographic.
Always looking for new adventures I signed up for scuba diving during a Thailand Vacation in 2011… I was completely hooked! I completed my Open Water and Advanced Open Water in Phuket and have since dove Costa Rica, Panama, Hawaii, Bonaire, Osprey Reef, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos.
In 2014 I first walked into the Dive Shop for a Rescue Course, then a Dry Suit Course to enjoy the worlds best diving of Vancouver Island and a trip to dive with the Great White Sharks off Guadalupe. When I was ready to continue into the professional realm of diving, I knew the awesome group of divers at The Dive Shop was the only way to go. I absolutely love teaching Discover Scuba, taking people underwater for their first time is amazing!
A wee little bit about me… Hi, my name is Rob Welke and I am a Divemaster (DM) at the Dive Shop here in Calgary. I grew up in Kelowna and you would think that I would have been a SCUBA diver since I was old enough to swim, but sadly my tastes ran to other extreme sports, mountain climbing, mountaineering, waterskiing, downhill skiing, golf (extreme?? – yes if you played with the guys I did) and skydiving. I was fortunate in that I was an Army Cadet and I served in the CAF Reserve from my early teens up to and including my mid-twenties and Her Majesty was kind enough to pay for and support most of my extreme habits. I had an unfortunate injury accident in my mid-twenties that precluded me from continuing with my extreme sports habits (and likely saved my life as I could easily have seen myself becoming a base-jumper) and I was limited to hiking and biking due to my lack of foresight and knowledge of just how much fun SCUBA could be, and how easy it would have been on my knees. As it turned out, one of my newfound Calgary friends was a SCUBA instructor who wanted to teach me and my son how to SCUBA (when he was old enough). I decided to see if SCUBA was going to be a good sport for my son, and, as they say the rest is history. I began my journey in 2008 with Mr Al Roemer as one of my instructors but did not get serious until 2014 when I decided to take the plunge into the Pro (read “dark”) side of the sport. I decided to become a Pro for 2 reasons: 1) several instructors suggested I would be a good DM (and I believed them??), and 2) I realized that if I wanted to get any diving in Alberta I had to get involved in the community and becoming a DM was a great way to do that. I enjoy teaching all courses, from class and pool, open water, to advanced and beyond. In my mind the best way to become a better diver is to help teach as much as possible, as it gets you in the water and gives you a place to practice your skills regularly. I have two best experiences diving: 1) Lake Minnewanka during ice diving 2 years ago when I had the chance to really see what is down there (has 60 ft plus clear visibility onto the blockhouse and down the dam on the first morning dive to check out my sinuses) and let me tell you; nobody sees that in summer time, and 2) My second shark dive in Roatan. We had 14 lovely sharks come play with us that day and to top it off, I was able to share it with my son, who we certified in Roatan a few days prior and whose smile on returning to surface will never be erased from my memory.
Up until my trip to the Cayman Islands diving in late 2018, my favorite drink was a good Balvenie Scotch, but I was introduced to some of the finest rum I have ever tasted on that trip, and as Chris T can attest (as he had to hunt some down for me), the Mango Rum is to die for. I look forward to diving and helping to teach for many years to come. It is a sport, like golf that you can engage in for your whole life, but no two experiences are ever the same.
He was born and mostly raised in Trail, B.C., for 2 years around 7 we moved to England and helped the grandparents run a pub in East Bolden… Ok, my parents helped, I just ran havoc through the pub since we lived on the second floor. Growing up in a small town I spent a lot of time outdoors; camping, fishing, hunting (now with a camera) and skiing. We would spend the entire summer camping at Christina Lake, most of my time on the water swimming, canoe and occasionally water skiing This is where I first discovered snorkelling, diving the docks for lost items. I moved to Calgary in June 1989, after college. I worked over two decades in Advertising before changing careers in 2010.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: My brother gifted me the open water pool course for my 30 birthday knowing how much I loved the water. To be honest, I always wanted to try but resisted knowing I would go over board… got certified in Aug 1999, achieved many certifications, became a DiveMaster within two years, have multiple sets of gear and have dove all around the world. Guess I was right.
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I became a DiveMaster in 2001. After getting my Rescue Certificate I realized I was observing other divers more often, next logical step was DiveMaster where I could actually help. Many ask why I didn’t become an Instructor, short answer time and money. While I love teaching classes and many students at the lake believe a DiveMaster is a higher lever than an Instructor, who confide in me over other dive professionals, my true passion is Technical Diving. I was Technical certified in 2003 and with 500+ technical dives I enjoy assisting wreck course where I can observe for the entire dive.
Q: What's your Favourite thing to teach? A: Discover Scuba, the look in their eyes when someones takes their first breath underwater… when you know they are hooked. Welcome to my addiction!
Q: Favourite dive experience so far? A: That is a really hard question, I am torn between the cold water diving off Vancouver Island and the warm tropical waters in the Caribbean. Warm water dives are so easy and relaxing, just keep looking and you will always find something but I suppose my favourite would be a nice long technical dive, crawling around one of the wrecks off Nanaimo.
Q: Favourite food/drink? A: Hmm…tough question. I enjoy trying new foods and experience the culture around them. Best part of scuba diving is the travel, being able to experience how the locals live, eat and drink, get off the beaten path. In Saint Martin I once tipped a taxi driver $20, just told him “I don’t want a tourist spot, take us where you would take your wife for dinner” Best seafood platter I have ever had! Favourite drink? Despite telling students they owe me a 6-pack to recover their lost gear, I’m Celiac so beer is out. Mostly spirits of Rye, Rum, Vodka and Red wine (partial to Malbec). Some of the better trip drinks, Mojito in Cuba, Banana Colada in Turks and Caicos and Mud Slide in St. Martin (owner was from Montreal, extra special for his Canadian brothers)
Q: Favourite activity OTHER than diving? A: Travel… I am always on the move, from jumping on a plane to a drive in the country exploring. Part of that would be camping, head somewhere new to explore from a base camp or disappear into the back country for weeks.
Q: One little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: I once drove to St. Marys, Montana for a piece of Coconut Cream Pie… Mmmm, Pie. I guess that is also part of the road trip passion but funny how the U.S. Border had no clue about St. Mary but the Canadian Customs smiled with far away look in her eye, muttering “I know what I’m doing tomorrow”.
Meet Daniel (Dan)! I grew up primarily out in Okotoks, but was born in Calgary and lived there until I was about 7 or so.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I was certified in 2015 after trying a DSD while on vacation. Got hooked and it quickly became a passion.
Q: When did you become a PRO (or still working on it) and why? A: I'm still working on my first professional certification, but hopefully not my last. I decided to go that route because I enjoy helping others and helping them learn and enjoy it.
Q: What's your favorite thing to teach? A: I can't teach yet, but I've really enjoyed assisting particularly in the pool.
Q: Favorite dive experience so far? A: Probably Devil's Grotto in Grand Cayman. It was my 100th dive, we swam through a neat little tunnel-like system, and I saw my first wild shark.
Q: Favorite food/drink? A: That's a tough one, and I'm not sure I have an answer for it. There are many things I like, but I'll go for the simple iced tea and cheddar smokies.
Q: Favorite activity OTHER than diving? A: Probably either riding my motorcycle or being a goalie in ball hockey.
Q: One little known fact about you that you're willing to share? A: I did 3 years of musicals, I drive a zamboni, and I have a history as a medical anomaly!
I grew up here in Calgary - Moved away for a few years, and then came back (Well, to Okotoks). I recently had a very cute, and very stinky, baby boy named West. I’m sitting next to the love of my life (She made me write that) as I write this, so all in all, I am a very lucky man. Diving is the biggest thing to look forward to in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter... Besides Brad’s Dad jokes of course. I have two massive, threatening dogs - I won’t say the breed, but let’s just say, they’re rated as the most aggressive. So if I’m not kissing my girl, changing my boy, or wrangling my monsters - I’m probably diving.
Q:When did you get certified and why? A:Spring of 2017 - I was in Mexico, never having dove before. There was a curly haired Argentinian fellow giving free SCUBA intros in one of the pools. I decided at nearly random to give it a try. I WAS HOOKED. Never looked back.
Q: When did you become an PRO (Divemaster/Instructor) and why? A: I am still working on it, but I began my Divemaster candidacy in very late Fall of 2018. I decided to become a Divemaster because I wanted to learn not only to dive skillfully, but also help others to do the same. As they say, the best way to learn is to lead. That, plus I had some pretty badass PADI Pro role models.
Q:What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: I sort of love all courses, but being a DM on Advanced Open Water. AOW Students are those that want to carry the skill on past tropical vacations, so it’s cool to the meet people who are reaaalllyyy bitten by the diving bug!
Q:Favourite dive experience so far? A: I don’t want to cop out of specificity, but anytime that I’m under water, I’m pretty happy.
Q: Favourite food/drink? A: Anything with mole sauce, and Tequila.
Q:Favourite activity OTHER than diving? A:I’m pretty fond of working.... Hanging out with the family is an almost imperceptibly close second.
Q:One little know fact about you that you are willing to share?? A:When I was younger, I had a major crush on Rachael Ray.
I was born in Edmonton (don’t judge) in my dads Dodge Charger. I grew up in Calgary and did all my education here. I am a certified Athletic Therapist, massage therapist and strength and conditioning coach.
Q: When did you get certified and why? A: I have wanted to dive for as long as I can remember. I used to lay in the bathtub with a straw in my mouth so I could breathe underwater. I certified in grand cayman and it was UNREAL. Like swimming in a tank of all the fish I had only ever seen in a pet store. I took my certification as It was something I really wanted to do with my dad.
Q: When did you become a Pro (Divemaster/Instructor) on are currently working on it! A: I started my pro path last year and am enjoying the process of becoming a DM and definitely want to get my instructor status.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to teach? A: So far in my limited experience I love watching the first time people breathe underwater. Seeing their excitement when they master any skill.
Q: What’s been your favourite dive experience so far? A: My favorite dive locations are so far Roatan as I saw seahorses, octos, sting rays, nurse sharks and so many other critters on ONE dive; and Bonaire salt pier at night.
Q: What’s your favourite activity OTHER than diving? A: In my not scuba time I play a lot of softball and love Pilates, spin and the gym to lift.
Q: What’s your favourite food/drink? A: Fav food probably...Japanese village steak sauce on steak. Changes weekly.
Q: One little known fact about you that you are willing to share?? A: I started off my athletic career in dance, figure skating and gymnastics. I moved quickly into ringette, fastball and basketball as soon as I was allowed haha