Solo diver’s leap from pier sparked woman to take up diving

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A seemingly unrelated occurrence prompted Christine Secco to take up scuba diving. In June six years ago she was exploring Paros Island in Greece with her son. After walking many hours they ended up on a desert beach. “All of a sudden, a solo diver jumped off the pier and I thought how cool that would be to visit the underwater world. Curiosity, adventure and love of the ocean are a few of the magnets that attracted me so much to diving.”

A resident of Montreal, Secco, 54, registered for the Open Water course in Montreal a few months after returning from that trip. “I got certified in very cold conditions in Morrison’s Quarry, Quebec in the middle of October 2011.”

Since then she has retired but that Open Water certification is just the first small step in her hopes of becoming a dive instructor abroad. Her diver qualifications now include PADI IDC staff instructor, TDI tec and solo diver and PADI tec gas blender.

“Although I love interacting with people, I would describe myself as a very discrete and lonely individual, especially when it comes to sports. I just love biking, running or walking on my own for hours. So, it’s been sort of a shock when I discovered that I would need a buddy to scuba dive. I will never forget this statement from the Open Water manual: ‘Meet dive people, go places diving and do things underwater.’ From then on, it is exactly what I did.”

Christine says divers often are asked if they need help. “Let me tell you there are times in my life I particularly appreciated it. So, from one challenge to another, I became IDC staff instructor, tec diver, solo diver,store consultant and technician. Sharing my new passion and helping others achieving their goals became part of my new style of life. I never regretted stepping out of my comfort zone.”

Living in Montreal, the St. Lawrence River is natural and accessible dive location for Christine. She cites its advantages having a good dive school, several wrecks and lost villages. These would be villages that were relocated about 60 years ago when major work – including flooding – was done on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Christine says the river provides “challenging dive sites with strong currents, low visibility and cold water requiring heavy gear.” She recently discovered Les Escoumins, located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, which has great marine biodiversity.

In the Caribbean she loved Bonaire “with its easier way of boat and shore diving. The dive, eat and sleep philosophy.”

She rated Tobermory in Ontario as the most dangerous ones she has done, due to the wind conditions on the day of her dive. “Underwater was fantastic.

Christine

“I did another memorable dive aboard Idabel submersible in Roatan Honduras. Captain Karl Stanley brought me to 2,000 feet deep. At that depth, I saw creatures we still can’t even name. Unforgettable!”

Like many divers, Secco has a bucket list of sites she would like to dive. They are:

  • Philippines: muck diving, thresher shark, pygmy seahorse, mandarin dragonet, flamboyant cuttlefish
  • Galapagos:  fur seal, sea lion, scalloped hammerhead shark, penguin
  • Arctic: narwhal, walrus, polar bear, orca, white fox
  • Sea of Cortes: whale shark
  • Vancouver Island: octopus, kelp
  • Australia:  leafy seahorse, coral
  • South Africa:  sardine run

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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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