You did your first REEF survey on November 13, 2002 at the Point Whitney Shellfish Labs in Hood Canal, WA. What got you started?

The moment I did my first open water dives in the Puget Sound; I wondered what the names of fish species and invertebrates were that I encountered. Years later, I met Janna Nichols who was involved with the Dive Odyssey Club and REEF in Vancouver, Washington. This was my first introduction to REEF. Diving for me would never be the same. Thank you Janna!

When and where did you do your 1,000th survey? Tell us anything memorable about your 1,000th survey.

I traveled from Utah, where I now live, to Hood Canal Washington to do five dives (surveys) in two days with my good friend Adam Terry. The first day we did three amazing dives at Sund Rock. My 1000th survey dive out from Glen Ayr Resort Dock on January 11th, 2024 was spent reminiscing about the journey that allowed me to make it to this milestone. I surfaced from the dive trying to take it all in knowing I had reached Golden Hamlet status. 

In which regions have you done surveys? What experience levels are you in those other regions?

Pacific Northwest - Level 5

Hawaii - Level 5

Do you have any favorite dive spots in those regions?

Pacific Northwest: Netarts Bay, OR; Hood Canal, WA; San Juan Islands, WA; and Olympic Coast, WA.

Hawaii: Mala Pier, Maui, and Puako Coast, Hawaii

What are some of your favorite fishes? What makes them your favorite?

Pacific Northwest: Monkeyface Prickleback. I see these guys often at Netarts Bay and Whalen Island, Oregon. It can be a challenge to find this Prickleback with only its head sticking out of a crevice.  Monkeyface Prickleback was also the only question on the level 4/5 test that I missed.

Hawaii: Lagoon Triggerfish. I love the neon colors of this fish. They are so quick and hard to photograph. I have only seen them on the Big Island of Hawaii. 

What is your favorite thing/memory about REEF and the Volunteer Fish Survey Project?

My favorite thing or memory about REEF is the people. Fish geeks are amazing people. I value each relationship and the memories created. I greatly appreciated being part of many Northwest Advanced Assessment Teams in Neah Bay and San Juan Islands. Helping out at the Tacoma Dive Show at the REEF booth is another one of my fond memories. REEF gave diving a purpose and a challenge each time I entered the water. 

What are your goals with REEF in the future?

Living in a landlocked state is a challenge for surveying, but making others aware of REEF is a goal.  I want to be a mentor and teacher of what I have learned through REEF. My grandchildren are keenly interested in the ocean and marine life. We spend time at the aquarium where I proudly share what I have learned with them. They already know so much. Diving and REEF will always be a part of my life. I plan to return to the Northwest and travel often to survey and renew my spirit. I heard a saying that goes “To some, it’s just water. To me, it’s where I regain my sanity.” Jimmy Buffett said it best…Bubbles Up it will lead you back home.