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July 10, 2018

This years Nationals were held in Clearwater Florida and hosted by the Florida Skin Divers Association. It was relatively close to home with familiar fish and conditions. The National Championship moves around the country each year on a 4 - 5 year regional rotation depending on which clubs are willing to put in the massive effort to host them. It was last hosted by FSDA back in 2015, where I competed and finished 5th individual.  I was both excited and nervous to be back in “home” waters again. This year, I was diving with my girlfriend, Sam Mase, as my partner in the mixed division. The 2018 event presented some new challenges and some very welcome advantages.

I was coming fresh off a very unexpected first place win in 2017 in Northern California. Something about winning once makes anything less than a first place finish just another loss. I had a lot of pressure on me this year. Not really from sponsors, family, or friends but really only put there from myself. Even though it was held...

March 27, 2018

Slow, deep diaphragm inhale, long, slow diaphragm exhale. Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. The sound of the passive exhale through my teeth and into my snorkel calms me. I relax, doing a breath-up cycle I've done a thousand times before. I am floating in the Mediterranean. The water is crystal clear, the sea is completely glass, the current is totally still. It's a sunny warm afternoon and I'm less than 30 feet offshore from a sheer cliff. Conditions are ideal. There are over 70 dives on my watch. I am in the zone doing exactly what I do best. I have a golden grouper stuck in a hole at 42 meters (137 feet) and I’m preparing for extraction. It is well known that rocked up groupers are one of the most dangerous situations a diver can encounter. I do my last sequence of breaths followed by a peak inhalation and a well practiced entry. I effortlessly sink below the surface as I begin my dive. My hands are relaxed laying by my side as I equalize and slowly overcome my bodies positive buo...

March 19, 2018

We arrived in Taveuni after an uneventful and surprisingly comfortable 24 hour ferry ride. The seas were calm, the A/C was cold and we slept through the night mostly alone in first class. 

We had no idea where to go. We saw two other guys with backpacks and asked them where they were headed. They said there was a hostel towards the north end of the island called Maravou. We decided that would be a good place to start so we shared a cab and were off. We arrived at another beautiful hostel with friendly staff and a pool. We booked two beds and were shocked to find A/C and Wi-Fi in our room. This is a first for us since leaving New Zealand. We pretty much spent the whole day in bed watching movies, drinking Kava and soaking up the A/C. 

We bumped into a few friends from The Beachouse and shared some beers and stories. We had no real idea of how to get to our island village so we just started asking around. Turns out the bartender at the hostel was a cousin of the man we hoped would take us...

February 15, 2018

What am I doing in Fiji? I always try to stack trips to save money. I knew I was going to be in New Zealand in mid January and be done competing there by the end of the month. I had to get a round trip flight so I booked the return for March 15th. No plan for what to do after but I knew I’d find something. I was/am perpetually super broke so I had to choose my next destination wisely. 

First I look at the map to see the dream destinations nearby. Once I have a short list I do some more research. For this trip my list looked like this: Tonga, Samoa, French Polynesia, Australia, South Island NZ, and Fiji. Next the real research begins. I see where I have connections, what time of year it is, and where I think the best fish are. Next step is Skiplagged. An app I use to find the best deals on flights. I see which spots have the cheapest flights as it is pretty much my only fixed cost that I haven’t found a way around (yet). I then look at HostelWorld to see where I can find cheap places to...