I have always loved the water and been fascinated by the animals that lived there. My parents tell the story of me being caught in the Seychelles aged two with a pocketful of baby turtles that I had "liberated" from the conservation program nearby (to whom they were speedily returned). I spent my childhood holidays exploring rivers and oceans with a mask and snorkel and when I went to university the first activity I signed up for was the scuba diving club.
I learnt to dive in a freezing quarry, in the North of England, in winter, and I loved it so much I went on to volunteer and instruct in subsequent winters. 11 years, several hundred dives and 9 countries later I am still as hooked as I was that first weekend in murky English waters as the hull of the HMS Podsnap loomed out at me like the opening scene of Titanic.
Through scuba diving I have forged friendships, become involved in conservation programs and been inspired to try new sports. When I moved countries it could have been an intimidating prospect but the joy of this sport is the community it builds. My great passion is showing people that diving doesn't have to be a 'holidays only' hobby. The diversity available on your doorstep, here in Sydney or back in the UK, is mind blowing once you start to learn about it and there is always something new to find.
Follow me at @charleston3a