ScubaEarth has now been live for 4 months and during that time a number of users have caught our eye. Of course the person who logs the most dives is going to be top of our list. Step forward ScubaEarth user and PADI Master Instructor Andrew Ricks who has logged nearly 1000 dives!
As a reward for his effort and dedication we would like to officially appoint Andrew as the ’1st Mayor of ScubaEarth’.
We contacted our new ‘ScubaEarth Mayor’ for his 1st official interview.
PADI: First of all, we’d love to know what inspired you to start diving and then become a PADI Instructor?
Andrew: My opportunity came, on holiday in the Maldives in 2001. The Island was full of divers telling their stories so I signed up for my PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Nitrox (EANx) courses. Seeing everything from Whale sharks to Manta rays and the abundance of every reef fish you can think of, that was it I was hooked and my first ten dives completed. The following year my partner and I booked to go again and being really lucky managed to book an extra week. So off we went for three weeks to the Maldives. The rest is history. I have gone from strength to strength and now have nearly 1000 dives and have become a PADI Master Instructor.
PADI: What are some things you love about the diving in your area?
Andrew: I started diving in the UK in 2004 as a friend of mine had learned to dive and needed a buddy and my usual dive buddy was only interested in warmer waters. In 2005 my life took a change of direction as I sold my farming business and was free to take my hobbies to the max. I did my PADI Divemaster at Harlyn Dive School Cornwall UK in summer 2006, as we had a family home there. I loved helping the kids with their first steps, assisting on guided dives and getting involved in the business of diving. I then went to PRO Dive USA in September 2006 to do all the PADI Instructor courses they had on offer, so I did my PADI Assistant Instructor, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and their Resort Operation Specialist along with 3 DAN O2 courses and EFR . I also came home with some 17 specialty’s including PADI Wreck, Digital Underwater Photographer, Deep, Nitrox (EANx), Fish ID, Navigation, Naturalist, Drift and Gas Blender.
The majority of my diving and teaching is now done off the North Cornish Coast, Helping my friend and mentor Stephen Hutchinson owner of Harlyn Dive School, located at Rock opposite Padstow, North Cornwall. After 30 years diving and skippering on this coast, his knowledge of above and below the surface is second to none, I am trying hard to catch up a bit but its takes time.
The great thing about this coast is it not only has great wildlife including Common dolphins, Basking sharks, Sun fish, Bottlenose dolphin even Orcas have been seen as well as Risso’s dolphins. Plus all of the smaller fish and creatures, some only just being discovered, and corals (yes in UK) and sponges. It is also one of the most unique places in the world to dive wrecks. There are literally hundreds of wrecks including at least 4 U- boats in our area. Many of the wrecks remain to be identified or even found and most have not been dived more than a few times in the last 40 years. A recent survey vessel just pinpointed several new wrecks, including the SS Indus.
PADI: You’ve logged a lot of dives on ScubaEarth, why should more PADI Divers & Instructors start logging their dives on ScubaEarth as well?
Andrew: I kind of made it my mission to log all my dives on ScubaEarth whilst not diving over winter, 954 dives! I think the concept is great idea bringing divers together and having a source of reliable up to date information and I am trying to get all my students to take it up as a backup logbook and reference place for us. I will try to make it part of the dive logging for my students from now on as well as their PADI logbooks. The more people getting involved and talking diving, sharing experiences – the more divers, and hopefully non divers, we are going to get taking part. Having lost my electronic dive logs several times, with famous dive computer software, despite backing it up or thinking I have, I am now trusting the fact that PADI are storing it for me.
PADI: Have you utilized any of the other features on ScubaEarth (researched a dive destination, connected with buddies)?
Andrew: Have connected with buddies and even had buddy requests from a few people I have never met. Our diving tends to be seasonal so hopefully when our diving starts more buddies will take up ScubaEarth
Can you challenge Andrews title as ScubaEarth Mayor? Log onto ScubaEarth.com and log those dives!