I guess you can call it somewhat of a fluke that Dan and Esther ended up as avid scuba enthusiasts. Early in their relationship Dan and Esther discovered a love of the ocean, mainly because of its kaleidoscope of beautiful coral and tropical fish. Not yet knowing the detriment that having an aquarium has on the oceans of our planet, Dan and Esther found a mutual love of all things marine and decided to pursue a hobby in the husbandry of a marine aquarium with teaming coral reef. Quickly, the love for the ocean became an obsession, and then began the voyage of research to understand the careful balance that it takes to maintain “their own little ecosystem.” As they began to understand the fragile nature of “their own reef” Esther and Dan began to realize the negative impact of owning an aquarium. At first they decided to buy only fish and corals that were aqua-cultured (grown in an aquarium and not stolen from the ocean) but Dan and Esther quickly understood through their research that participating in any type of aquarium reef-keeping is promoting an industry that inherently destroys the worlds reefs. This reality became even more evident as Dan and Esther made their first journey to the tropical island of Hawaii.
Landing in Maui was a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Quickly Dan and Esther settled into island life and let relaxation take over. They attended their friends wedding and had a wonderful time drinking and dancing, but the best of Hawaii was yet to come. Once the wedding was done and everyone went their separate ways, Dan and Esther had their normal question, “what now?” Little did they know, they were about to take a huge step that would change their lives forever. They started off with all the typical tours around the island. But somehow, these tours just weren’t enough. Dan and Esther felt a draw to see more of the ocean. They decided to check out Maui Dive, a nearby dive shop, just to take a look around. Noticing a sign for the PADI Introductory Dive, they immediately inquired what exactly “no certification or classroom work necessary” meant. Dan was instantly onboard and couldn’t wait to get under water. Esther on the other hand wasn’t feeling completely confident about the decision. After about an hour at the shop discussing claustrophobia, fear of sharks and drowning, Esther was finally convinced to take an introductory dive.
They arrived at Turtle Town, just off the beach at The Ritz Carlton. After getting situated, they began to make the descent into the open ocean. Esther was ready to quit after putting her head in the water. It took about 40 minutes for her to finally get comfortable with the whole notion of breathing under water. Finally under water, they made their way to the nearest reef. There were corals, beautiful fish and to Esther’s delight, giant green turtles.
Soon after returning home, Esther suggested that she and Dan get their Open Water certification. After searching for a dive shop to get certified at, they settled on Eco Dive Center. All of the classes went smoothly and everyone in the group had a blast thanks to Beth and Ron’s (the owners) excitement for the sport. If you live anywhere near Los Angeles, Eco Dive Center is a must visit.
After the classwork was done, Dan and Esther decided to do their certification dives in French Polynesia on their honeymoon. They chose Top Dive in Papeete. This is where they met Frank, who took them on four dives to finish their certification. Best part about getting certified in Tahiti? It will forever say French Polynesia on your certification cards.
So that is the story of how Esther and Dan discovered the wonders of scuba diving and the amazing people that make the industry what it is. 2006 will forever be the year that scuba diving changed their lives for the better and they haven’t looked back since!