Hey there! I have been absent from this site for quite some time! So long in fact, that my domain name expired and I will have to re-purchase it! I feel like it has been for good reason but you can decide for yourself.
Hurricane Irma… that bitch
If you have been here before then you know that I live on the island of Sint Maarten. In the fall of 2017 we were rocked by Hurricane Irma. I was very lucky and I happened to be off-island for vacation, but several of my friends and colleagues were stuck here for months without work, without electricity, and some without shelter.
The island looked like a war-zone and desperate parents, siblings, and friends were contacting me from all over the globe asking if their loved ones had survived, if I knew anything at all. It took about 10 days for me to get a call through to one of my coworkers and he was able to tell me who he had seen and what was happening. I was able to raise some money for some of the crew to get flights to other islands or home while I sat in Missouri not knowing when I would get back or what I would be coming home to.
It was January before I was able to move back to the island and begin working again in diving, and I came home to a different island with a different feeling. The hardships that everyone went through, loosing their homes and their businesses, hearing that their insurance wasn’t going to pay out due to some loophole, fighting for the little work there was left; it had changed everyone. Rightfully so everyone was beat down and tired, and little by little I lost the love I had for diving and joined the misery. The thing I had seen happen to so many other dive instructors over the years happened to me. I got burnt out, whiney, and mad at the customers for even being there.
I had watched this happen to divers several times over the years but I had avoided it! I still loved diving, I loved connecting with families traveling together, I loved teaching them how to be more comfortable and safe underwater, but now I didn’t. I am not sure when or what it was exactly, but pretty soon I was miserable when I woke up to go to work. I started showing up late, drinking more, and wishing I was somewhere else. I didn’t see the beauty of the ocean as I brought the boat through the bridge, I saw a long hard day filled with people who would test me. I felt that it didn’t matter how I hard worked nothing went right… diving wasn’t fun anymore.
So I stopped. I took a break to visit my partner who works on mega yachts and then when I came back I wanted to avoid the water so much I didn’t even walk my dog on the beach anymore. I took a land based job and learned more about servicing gear that I ever thought I would and I told people I needed time to ‘dry-out’. That was the best decision I made after the hurricane and I should have done it earlier, but right before Irma things were going so right that I thought I could get back to that. The summer of 2017 was the best, but I just couldn’t get back to that.
Where am I now?
In March of 2020 I took a position with The Nature Foundation, St. Maarten, the conservation agency for the island! I am the new Educational Outreach Officer and I love it. This is a temporary position funded by the Port de Plaisance Marina for one year. Since my degree is in Hospitality making the jump to conservation has always been difficult when there are so many biologists looking for these positions, but from working as a volunteer and learning so much about the island I was able to land the job.
My position is responsible for Education and Outreach (duh) for the foundation. I will be visiting schools, hosting events, and managing the print and social media outlets. Follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/naturefoundationsxm/
What does that mean for this site and TheScubaPodcast
Only good things! Now that we are looking at lifting our Covid-19 restrictions I will be redoubling my efforts for both this site, the podcast, and much more! Follow my social media pages to keep up-to-date on what we are doing.
I am sorry for my absence but I am back and ready to help you in all things diving and conservation!