Interest in scuba leads to dive shop ownership, diverse bucket list of dive sites

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DrewDrew Nageleisen followed his father into diving. “My dad was a diver in the early ‘60s. I always wanted to do it,” says Nageleisen, of Kitchener. After getting his open water certification in 2012, his passion for the underwater world soon morph into a career in the sport. He bought out his partner and became the sole owner of TriCity Scuba Centre in Kitchener.

Like most divers, Nageleisen has his favourite dives. His most memorable dive was 100 or more feet down to see the wreck of the Arabia near Tobermory. Built in 1853 and sunk in 1884 in rough seas, the Arabia was just over 130 feet in length. That is not large for a vessel that carried cargo across the ocean. On a broader scale, his favourite dive locations are in the Great Lakes, which have a multitude of wrecks. “I love the history,” says Nageleisen.

Favourites on his bucket list include Scapa Flow, located within the Orkney Islands off the northwest coast of Scotland. It is sheltered water that serves as a refuge for ships that get caught in storms. Also on the list are the Marshall Islands, an island nation near the equator in the Pacific. The name “Marshall” recognizes John Marshall, a British explorer who sailed to the islands in 1788.

Then there is Truk Palau. The Republic of Palau is an island group in Micronesia. During the Second World War there were battles to control the islands of Angaur and Peleliu, which were well fortified. For divers, an attraction is a reef that has coral gardens.

The southern part of Palau consists of 340 islands (called the Rock Islands), within 400 square miles of ocean. Among the attractions for divers are reef drop-offs, coral gardens, caves and military ship wrecks. In Truk Lagoon there are about 60 wrecks, some of them aircraft and ships from the Second World War.

Awareness campaigns are becoming common in the dive community. Nageleisen said his approach would involve “overall awareness of the environment, better skills, dive sites and attitudes about waste.”

Drew’s favourite piece of his diving gear is his Evo rebreather. “It has opened up technical diving for me and is amazingly comfortable.”

In 10 years he hopes he is still operating TriCity Scuba Centre and will have become a PADI course director.

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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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