AJ

I was a water baby.

At 6 weeks old my mum took me to the local swimming pool, blew in my face and dunked me straight under. By the age of 3 I was telling my swimming teacher I didn’t want to wear arm bands and at 13 I was doing my first open water SCUBA dive … fast forward twelve years and at 25 I’m a SCUBA Diving Instructor and a self-proclaimed Ocean Advocate.

But what led me here…

At the age of 13 I travelled to Uganda and lived in a remote village for a few weeks…it was here my curiosity with life shifted. I realised our world is interconnected and as with the butterfly effect, an action in one place can have an impact halfway across the world. I was in Uganda at the time of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and staying in an affected area, it was also a time of drought and I saw some of the first rains the locals had seen in months. The drought was caused by climate change and the LRA triggered by economic disparities and sociopolitical tensions since independence were both insights into the domino effect of global actions. My journey from this point onward was directed at trying to help make a difference in our world. How I would do this I had no clue…

I saved every penny I earned working weekend shifts and cleaning cars to travel far and wide often volunteering whilst on my school holidays. Luckily I had very relaxed parents as I seemed to always choose countries with an FCO red warning. In 2012 I went to the University of Sussex and studied Human Geography with the intention of working for an International Development NGO. However through these experiences I realised how complex the world of International Development is and I didn’t see myself pursuing a career in that world anymore. Whilst losing hope in one of my dreams I found another…after my second year of university I spent 2 months in Madagascar working in a remote region creating a database of coral reef and fish stocks with an amazing team. Once again it was this time away that changed my direction in life…

So I decided to follow a career in diving where I could learn more about our Ocean and therefore how we can protect it. Towards the end of a roller-coaster 2015 I become a SCUBA Instructor in beautiful Dahab and this became my home. When the plane crashed over the Sinai in October 2015 diving work started to subside and a friend suggested I started That Fish Blog to document my love of the Ocean and underwater photography.  This led to me working in schools, running workshops which educate children about our underwater world and marine conservation.

And so it began. I managed to find a way to combine my love of the Ocean with my dreams of making a positive impact. Now based in the UK as manager of a dive centre I continue to live by my passions, publishing articles to raise awareness for our Oceans and promoting marine education. 

My impact is only small, at the time of writing this I have shared my passion with roughly 200 customers, educated around 160 kids, forced 39 friends to become followers of my blog and persuaded 2 parents and my brother to stop eating tuna.

But I believe ‘in a gentle way, you can shake the world’ (Mahatma Gandhi)

…so I may as well try.

Photo Credit: AJ Diving by Liam Otto