My name is Kimberly and diving is my life. Quite literally. I am a Texas coastal chick who obtained my Masters degree in marine biology from James Cook University in Queensland Australia a couple years back and also am a PADI Scuba Instructor and have been teaching diving and working on liveaboards around the world and sharing my passion for the sea with others. I have worked on a number of shark conservation projects including with whale sharks in Honduras, thresher sharks in the Philippines, and on a coastal nursery grounds project in Queensland. I moved here to New Zealand a year ago and since then enjoyed working the Paua aquaculture industry, along with spending my free time freediving and spearfishing along the majestic coastline of Northland. My partner works out at the Poor Knights and so every chance I get to head out there I take it. The beauty of this marine reserve is unsurpassed by anything I have ever seen!!! I have gained experience working in all sorts of freediving and scuba equipment. I have also been blessed to dive with so many different incredible species like New Zealand fur seals, great white sharks, whale sharks, thresher sharks, giant manta rays, bulls, tigers, pilot whales, bottlenose/roughtooth/spinner/common dolphins, etc etc the list goes on!!! :) My passion is the ocean ... continued education... fishing sustainably ... marine protected areas... shark conservation ... and above all possibly: living the life that sets my soul on fire and brings pure happiness and joy to my life and spreading that love to others any chance that I get. I have just received my second visa to continue staying here in this incredible country and I have zero intentions to ever leave these majestic azul waters that I have grown so attached to and have become a part of myself.
1. What do you love about diving?
What I love most about diving is the connection with the ocean... feeling as if I am truly one with it ... its a feeling of peace and serenity when I am beneath the surface that is unmatched in any other facet of life.
2. What's your top tip for diving?
My top tip for diving is always respect the sea and its inhabitants (never littering, harassing sea creatures, harming ecosystem, etc.) -- take care and respect mother nature and she will reward you in return in the most breathtaking ways.. along with never underestimating her force, power, and unpredictability - where her true beauty lies.
3. Who's the best person you've dived with and why?
The best person that I have ever dived with would have to be the famous Stan Waterman back in Honduras a couple years back (coined the "Jacques Cousteau of American diving"). He was just incredible to meet and dive with, and on his 91st birthday to add!!! His love for the ocean and for diving is just amazing, especially into his 90s!!!! He has a wild, free, and adventurous soul that I will always look up to.
4. Best diving moment you've had?
The best diving moment that I have ever had was actually freediving with a pod of short finned pilot whales in Honduras. I swam along with them and they were 100% aware of me, eyeing me up, almost face-butting me up from the deep before diving back down, and then swimming again along side me looking into my eyes. It was incredible to say the least.. one of the coolest experiences to date...
5. What's your favourite Splash product and why?
My favourite piece of Splash gear would have to be the new Amphos dive computer with air transmitter by Sherwood Scuba. It it is incredible piece of technology to wear underwater - operating with different air types, working as a dive logbook, picking up the tanks air pressure direct from the transmitter on the first stage (perfect for minimising hoses and streamlining!!) along with your NDL's, dive time/depth, alarms, safety stop countdowns, etc. This watch also has a freediving mode -- I love how it can crossover so easily for everything that I love! :) Any time I am in the water now, this is my #1 go-to piece of equipment for safety and functionality!!
6. Best fish you've ever seen?
The best fish I have ever seen would have to be a toss-up between whale sharks in Honduras or Great White sharks in South Australia.. but I think I'll go with the latter.. Port Lincoln, South Australia - headed out to the Neptune Islands on the Rodney Fox liveaboard. Spending a week out there down in the deep bottom cage at 30m surrounded by what totalled out to 16 different white sharks!!! It was the most epic experience I think that I've ever had - definitely a top fish!!!! Beautiful, graceful creature ... so much love and respect for something so majestic, serene, and yet powerful beyond belief. Awe-inspiring!!!
7. Best place you've dived?
The best place I have dived would be a toss-up between Dahab, Egypt with the infamous Blue Hole ... the outer Great Barrier Reef, Australia .. Monad Shoal in the Philippines observing and studying pelagic thresher sharks ... or NEW ZEALAND :) !!! It's honestly quite difficult to choose -- they are all so beautiful and diverse.. not to mention the temperature differences. The Poor Knights Islands here in Northland, New Zealand are insanely gorgeous.. no wonder its ranked top temperate dive in the world!!! The undersea life is remarkable being in a strict marine reserve and the topography of the islands is breathtaking in itself. It is truly a diving wonderland here with all of the arches and sea caves.. summer bringing ocean sunfish and mantas with the warm East Auckland/Australian Current .. winter bring fur seals and orcas back to the islands ... bronze whaler sharks, enormous stingrays, huge snappers and kingfish, the most colorful nudibranchs I've ever seen... along with the largest sea cave in the world - Riko Riko - where you can dive and find sperm whale bones. Epic place to dive!!!!! And just in our backyard! :)