You did your first REEF survey on March 12, 2005 at Cayo Agua in Puerto Rico. What got you started?
My husband and I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico on business, and had always wanted to dive the island of Culebra. When we saw a REEF trip was going, we decided to jump onboard and did our very first surveys there. It was a great group on that trip, and Franklin Neal made a big impact on us with his infectious enthusiasm. We've been hooked since then!
When and where did you do your 1,000th Survey? Tell us anything memorable about your 1,000th survey?
I did my 1,000th survey in the Florida Keys, where I live. It was on the City of Washington wreck on the North end of Elbow Reef. It's one of my favorite spots - shallow, warm water with lots of fish life. Highlights of the dive were Rainbow Wrasse, several "families" of Chalk Bass, and a Green Turtle! It was also extra special because I was with REEF friends Lillian Kenney, Fred Hartner, Luanne Betz and David Thompson. And of course, my buddy and husband Paul Bonatz.
In which regions have you done surveys? What experience levels are you in those other regions?
I am an expert surveyor in TWA, Level 3 in CIP, and Level 2 in Hawaii. I plan to do my level 4/5 test in CIP in September!
Do you have any favorite dive spots in those places?
My favorite TWA spots are The Slab in Key Largo, and Eagle Ray Roundup in Little Cayman. My favorite Hawaii spots are anywhere on the Kona Coast. In CIP I loved Karamulen Garden in the Solomon Islands, and Ngerchong Inside in Palau.
What are some of your favorite fishes? What makes them your favorite?
Oh that's a hard one. My very favorites are Manta Rays and Eagle Rays. They are so graceful and just amazing creatures. From a true fish perspective, I love midnight parrotfish and Clown Coral blennies. We often see midnight parrotfish in big schools in the Keys and they just have magnificent coloring. I discovered Clown Coral Blennies in the Solomon Islands and just fell in love with them! I must have taken 100 pictures of Clown Coral Blennies in 10 days - they are adorable little fish!
What is your favorite thing/memory about REEF and the Volunteer Survey Project?
My favorite thing about surveying is that it makes diving so interesting. Every dive is a treasure hunt, and it's so exciting when you find something rare. My favorite memories are the great people I've met and the camaraderie of REEF surveyors.
What are your goals with REEF for the future?
CIP level 4!
Feel free to share anything else about yourself and your diving adventures!
Paul and I love diving in the Keys and moved here specifically for that reason. Our favorite "return to" resort is Southern Cross Club in Little Cayman. We got married in Hawaii on a dive trip and love diving the Kona Coast. My favorite dive is wherever I'm currently diving.