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Inspirational Dive Divas

For many years, SCUBA diving was very much a male-orientated sport, in fact to be more precise, full of macho-types who saw themselves as striding forth and wrestling with the forces of nature, armed with spear-guns and knives the length of your arm. Which I guess was a fairly natural progression, as SCUBA diving did originate from the military forces.

More recently, partly due to environmental issues, not to mention a hint of education, and the onset of peace (well… relatively speaking), diving has undergone a dramatic change in perspectives. Maybe partially as a result of this, though more probably due to a little help from our ever broadening spirits, the sport has become more and more popular, in particular with us women. Many women in the past were ground breakers, pionneers in an extremely male orientated sport, now we have almost as many women as men on our boats diving the same sites as the guys. Even so, it is nice to feel that there is a little support out there from your fellow girlies. So we thought we would encourage some of our fellow diver babes, to share their diver stories in our DiveBunnie Inspiration Zone:

DiveBunnie Learns to Dive DiveBunnie casts her mind back to the early days and her Open Water course... where it all began.

Imi dives Galapagos Imogen Simpson-Mowday shares her fantastic trip to the Galapagos Islands with us.

DiveMistress Teaching a diver with Multiple Sclerosis

Kirsty in the Park Working with the National Park Research Project

Holly's story Holly tells us about becoming a SCUBA diving instructor from an amputee's point of view.

Gemma's IDC Diary Gemma keeps a day by day account of her Instructor course

Blue Hole DiveBunnie Dives Dahab

Ashley DiveBunnie interviews a new instructor

Jilly Does Padi Jilly shares her experience on the PADI Course Director Course

Sian Goes Green Sian volunteers for Reef Research

Nettie Goes Teccie Annette tells her tale of diving deeper.

Mapping the Jackfish Caves Jilly shares the Jackfish Alley project with us.

Jilly Braves the Caves Jilly, scared of the dark, gets brave and learns to cave dive!

So… on to the groundbreakers of history. Throughout diving history past and present, there have been many women around the globe who have breached the aquatic boundaries, some of whom I feel needed a mention here:

Simone Cousteau:
Who was involved with the original aqualung trials with Jaques, and bizarrely was the missing link through her father, that enabled him to develop the demand valve, without which diving would have remained a very different activity to the one we have now. In fact the modern balanced regulators still rely on a very simple demand valve in order to supply your air underwater.

Lotte Haas:
Who was one of the first women to bring diving into the public eye. She convinced her husband Hans that she would make the best underwater photographic assistant for him, so joined his team and aside from her obviously valuable input to the programmes, could quite possibly be the original diving eye candy.

Evelyn Bartram Dudas: Still an active wreck and cave diver, she was one of the first women to dive the Andrea Doria, also one of the the first women to venture forth in the use of mixed gas diving.

And now for some more recent women breaching aquatic boundaries, and spreading their own magic around the world:
Andrea Marshall:
Who is the manta lady. She shares her insights into this incredible species, spreading awareness around the world, and has even discovered a new giant species of manta rays. Having had the rare privilege of diving with these gentle, graceful giants, I have a particular respect for her work. The tragedy is that along with sharks, they too are being hunted threatening their existence more and more each year. Will we ever learn?

Dr. Eugenie Clark: Otherwise known as the shark lady, world renowned ichthyologist. (one who studies the fundamental basics of fish life in the lab and in the field) She is currently involved in two projects, both of which are detailed in her link above. And a little news flash: Dr Eugenie has been awarded a North American Lifetime Achievement Award! Read all about it here. She will be receiving her award in Bonaire this August (2010). Huge Congratulations to our Shark Lady :)

Tanya Streeter: contsantly pushing the limits of freediving multiple world record holder, I have begun to lose track of her achievements! She is now being studied by scientists researching breathing disorders such as apnea, curious as to how her body can survive so long without breathing. Find out more about her incredible training schedule here:go Aside from this, she has single-handedly brought diving and the aquatic world into the living rooms of many through her numerous television programmes.

Audrey Mestre:
who sadly died attempting to beat Tanya's no limits record. Despite reaching a depth of 171M, she died on her return to surface.

Nina Priesner One of our colleagues here in Sharm el Sheikh, who completed the deepest wreck dive for a woman ever, with her 165M dive on the Yolande Wreck here in May 2007.

Nathalie Lasselin a wonderful videographer based in Canada, where she has been making underwater documentaries and movies for the last 16 years. Recommended here by her colleague and friend Olivia.

Here are some of our own special DiveBunnie dive divas with whom we have found the time to chat in between our busy work schedules. Our first ever interviewee Amanda. Who worked as an instructor and guide in Sharm el Sheikh for several years. Now based back in the UK, she returns temporarily every few months to get back to her teaching and guiding roots.

Eventually over a few too many glasses of wine and some seriously tasty toffee vodka… I finally got together with Jilly who not only taught Amanda to dive, she has ventured into the realm of technical diving, the dark side. Find out from her that whilst it is seriously challenging, it is not quite as dark as you might think. Jilly was also our first contributer to the Diva Diaries above, doing the really dark stuff in caves. If you haven't read it already, pop along and see how she got on here.

Do you know of a woman diver, who may not be changing the world, but is making a go of it working in the industry in one way or another? If she wants to share her story, do drop us a line. It maybe that she is working as an instructor, or involved with a conservation project, or maybe she has begun diving against the odds. Or maybe someone about to break some of their own barriers who would like to contribute to our Diva Diary Zone.

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