As a strong advocate of the New Zealand dive industry, PADI Assistant Instructor, Michael Keller first came to our attention on ScubaEarth for his active role with logging his dives.
Nearly a year after Michael’s first ScubaEarth interview, we spoke with him again regarding his latest diving escapades and his thoughts on how ScubaEarth has grown and developed over the course of the year.
“I think the most important change for me is that it [ScubaEarth] doesn’t feel any more like I am the only one logging dives in New Zealand. Now I can search for a location I will be visiting, and find out about the local sites that other divers have visited. This is the value that I see in ScubaEarth, and this is why I logged my dives on it: So that other divers can benefit from the information.”
As Keller stated in his original article, New Zealand is often more of a ‘fringe’ destination for diving. So we asked him whether he thought that people were more aware of the diving available in New Zealand as a result of ScubaEarth’s featured destination, dive site listings and divers connecting with each other in the ScubaEarth community. Keller’s response was very positive, “It looks like the destination feature has put diving on the map as ‘another thing to do’ for people visiting New Zealand for its natural beauty. We certainly see a lot of tourists travelling in New Zealand that make diving a part of their holiday plans.”
Since launch, we have introduced a range of new features on ScubaEarth. A favourite of Michael’s is the Dive Computer Import Wizard. He also maintains that the dive site search has improved, but that for him, “The most important ‘feature’ that he would like to see on ScubaEarth would be to have more and more dive sites added. I think once a dive site is in ScubaEarth, it becomes a lot easier for divers to add their dive at that site, and they are more likely to do so.”
We agree Michael! PADI Divers logging dives and recording their dive information is what we want to see more of!
So what has Michael been up to since his incredible ice diving experience?
“My latest diving conquest is a Rebreather. I have done my PADI TEC 40 CCR course on an Ambient Pressure Diving Vision Tec unit, and it has opened new horizons for me in diving. I am loving the peace and quiet it gives me under water. The extended no deco time and the fact that I do not have to worry as much as with open circuit about how long my gas will last often sees me just puttering around on recreational dives, studying some small detail or some interesting underwater creature. Not to mention that without the noise of open circuit SCUBA, most fish seem to lose their shyness towards divers.”
Michael plans to spend 2014 practising and refining his skills on his Rebreather. “A Rebreather adds a significant amount of task loading, and skills like buoyancy control need more fine tuning.” He will be spending his time at the local lake/pool doing a series of training dives with his new equipment. He is excited nonetheless, “experiencing a familiar dive site from this new perspective is its own reward.”