Scuba diving a natural choice for marine biology student

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Taking up scuba diving was a natural progression for Samantha Trueman, given her passion for the ocean and the fact she was studying marine biology.

But her biggest inspiration to dive was her father, who was certified the year before she qualified as a diver. “Seeing his excitement and enthusiasm about diving just made me want to learn even more.”

Samantha, 24, lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and is a graduate student at Memorial University in that province. She is also a Divemaster at Ocean Quest Adventure Resort and a scientific diver.

“Sharks hold a special place in my heart,” says Samantha, who would choose them as the subject for awareness and conservation efforts to protect the species. “I would also emphasize the importance of keeping our oceans clean and aid in increasing efforts for ocean shoreline cleanups.”

Her first dive was in the Dominican Republic when she was 13. She was certified at 18, with the majority of her training in Ontario. She earned her Divemaster certification “to ultimately better myself as a diver and continue learning all I could about the sport. In addition to sharing my passion with others, there is no better way to share than getting involved in teaching new open-water divers.”

Her favourite diving equipment is her wetsuit and drysuit. “I took me awhile to find a good drysuit for the work I’m doing up in Newfoundland but my Abyss has been wonderful. My wetsuit is also great but I haven’t had the chance to dive in it for some time.

Personally, I wish it was more colourful but I seem to be alone in my love for ‘80s dive gear. Bring back the bright yellow and blue wetsuits.”

One place where she would be able to use her wetsuit is Cozumel, Mexico, which is her favourite dive site. “The diving there was the best I have seen and there was so much diversity in wildlife there. Being able to drift along with the current also made the diving super relaxing.”

Samantha’s most memorable dive is a tossup between seeing a hammerhead shark in Cozumel and her first dive in the Arctic. “Seeing any shark in the wild is an incredible experience but this one was the first big shark I encountered.”

She describes her first dive in the Arctic (Frobisher Bay, Iqaluit, Nunavut) as a special experience. “Starting my descent, it was cold and visibility was terrible. But once I broke 50 feet the visibility cleared and all of a sudden I was surrounded by giant blades of kelp, brittle stars, isopods, sculpins and so many other types of invertebrates.”

If Samantha could come back as a marine life form she would choose to be a seal, citing their playfulness and calling them “the equivalent of ocean puppies.” Her bucket list of dream dive locations includes Galapagos Islands, Iceland and Palau. The sea life and biodiversity of the tropical locations interest her as a marine biologist. The attraction of Iceland is the Silfra Fissure, which involves diving between two continental plates.

Ten years from now, Samantha plans to be travelling the world, diving, as well as “researching the oceans and continuing to share my love of the ocean and its inhabitants with others.”

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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