Ric completed his Open Water Course on the 16th February 2002; later in September 2005 he became a fully fledged Open Water Scuba Instructor. To date he has certified 187 divers, either teaching them to dive or continuing educational dive courses. He is certified to teach both SSI and PADI courses. Ric has been working in the Similan Islands and Burma’s Mergui Archipelago since 2005. Since starting his diving career in this part of Thailand as Tour Leader/Boat Master on MV Similan Jazz
“My story of getting into scuba diving, and then shark conservation, is a story that starts with me ‘not’ getting into scuba diving, mainly because of a fear of sharks. Back in 2001 I had been in Thailand for 3 weeks and was snorkelled out. I was really nervous about the diving, but was keen to try something else. I visited a dive shop in Ao Nang for some more information and the staff were very professional, patient and explained everything carefully. I was about to sign up for my first DSD (Discover Scuba Dive), when I asked where we would be diving. The instructor replied “Shark Point”.
I turned around and walked out the door!
Of course since then I have overcome my fears and have enjoyed more than 8 years working as a scuba instructor and (perhaps ironically) participating in shark and Manta Ray conservation. I like to remember this story though; when students are nervous it is useful to point out that there was no bigger chicken than myself.
I am still very passionate about diving today. Even after more than 3,000 dives I get ready to dive with a familiar excitement wondering what I will see underwater. My diving season is tied to the Similan National Park which closes for six months every year, this gives me time to recharge and keep my passion for diving alive. This also allows me the chance to catch up on editing all my photographs, writing blogs and articles. This in turn reminds me of the previous season’s highlights and makes me look forward to the next season. Then it’s waiting for the park to open; the excitement just builds and builds over the rainy season months.”
Ric is a keen photographer, since his first liveaboard trip as a dive master he has had a camera with him ready to capture beautiful scenes and unusual marine life on ‘film’. If you are a budding photographer Ric is an excellent person to learn from. He is able to take great shots using anything form top rate photography equipment to basic point and shoot cameras. If you are a pro looking to explore below the water’s surface Ric will be very keen to learn from you, and also to help you transition into the blue.
Ric first visited Burma in 2005 and he has been hooked ever since. The remoteness of the region and the fact that there are few divers out there make it an enticing place to explore. Also, the diversity of the dive sites here is unrivaled in Thailand. Black Rock is Ric’s favourite Burma site, it is here he had a magnificent day with Dr. Andrea Marshall and 30 manta rays.
Shark and Manta Ray Conservation
Ric is a keen ocean conservationist and has campaigned frequently for Shark and Manta protection in the Andaman Sea. As a co-founder of the See and Sea Organisation, he continues his efforts to educate people about the issues affecting these wonderful marine species.
Ric presents Magnificent Manta Rays on MV Hallelujah
He has launched a local shark conservation project, Get Sharks Off the Hook, and is teaching people about Mantas through his ‘Manta Ray Research and Conservation’ presentations.
Follow Ric on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. He regularly updates his photos and shares stories and new information about the diving world….