Today we introduce you to our second featured Diver Profile. Meet Mark Schulz who is a European Research Diver and Divemaster currently working for Ozeaneum Aquarium, Stralsund. Completing his first dive in Scuba gear at the age of 10, it safe to say that diving is a passion for Mark!
Full Name: Mark Schulz
Live In: Earth (but Germany for the moment)
Working For: Ozeaneum, Stralsund (Aquarium)
Diver Qualifications: Divemaster (***), European Research Diver
When and where did you start diving?
As long as I can think of, I’ve always been Apnoe diving while snorkeling in Greece. However my very first dive with SCUBA gear took place in a pool somewhere in southern Germany when I was around 10. Someone had brought the gear and all the children there were allowed a few minutes in the deep end. I remember it being an “awesome” experience to finally be able to breathe underwater.
Why did you start diving?
I love the Sea and its creatures! Growing up with summers in Greece, I was always the first in the Water and last one out. Even though I often prefer to snorkel, diving is just that one step further to be able to stay at depth for longer. To this day I still see new things underwater almost every time I dive. Guess that makes it so fascinating.
What made you choose to become a dive professional?
Well my passion for the sea took its form of becoming a Marine Biologist later at Uni. So when I got the chance to take Research Diving courses on the side, I jumped for it.
Which is your favourite dive site and why?
This is hard to answer since nearly every site offers something special and unique, even if it is hard to spot.
My three favorite areas in the world are the cold water gardens of Iceland and the tropical reefs of the Red Sea
and the outer GBR in Australia.
What has been the most memorable dive of your life and why?
That was on a research trip at Orpheus Island, Australia. The underwater visibility was quite bad that day, but whales were migrating through the area and singing so loud and at low frequency that my body was resonating from the sound waves. While sitting on a sandy patch taking samples, dark shapes suddenly flew in from above. Not the whales, but about 5 Manta rays with pilot fish dangling from their bodies were suddenly soaring all around us to the sound of the whales. Very impressive.
If you would come back as a marine life form in your next life, what would that be?
Probably as a large shark or ray. No need for surface air and endless ocean gliding all over the world.
Who is your dream dive buddy?
Jacques Cousteau, always was my underwater hero.
What dive locations are on your dream “bucket list” and why?
Antarctica and southern Chile. Cold water sites are stunningly beautiful in general, but these two just take the cake. I’d also love to dive the Britannic in Greece, it would almost be like diving the Titanic.
What is on your bedside table right now?
Lots of books about Fish, Aquaculture and fish Medicine (and one for cooking them).
What is your favourite piece of diving equipment and why?
My old grey and yellow Cressi Rhondine Pro fins! I’ve been using this pair of fins for over 15 years, they must have taken me hundreds of kilometers through the water and around entire Islands by now and are still strong. Never ever have I come across better and more reliable fins than these. They have a hard blade and deliver more force and maneuverability than the similar built apnoe fins from Cressi. I sure wish they would still make these.
If you were to launch a campaign to raise awareness on a specific issue that affects divers, the oceans or marine life, what issue would you target and why?
As a marine biologist and growing up with the sea I have already witnessed so many changes in the ocean first hand during my life. We are destroying the world so fast, it is absolutely insane. If we listen to our grandfathers talk about a full and rich ocean we often shake our heads in disbelief as we only know empty oceans ourselves. I’ve been to some places where this bounty is still partly preserved and have seen the decline and disappearing
of a whole fish related culture in Greece, thus I think I know what is was like in “the old days” and I see what it is now nearly everywhere. It makes me cry. Our future doesn’t look to well either. Most coral reefs will probably be lost to climate changes within the next 30-40 years and many once mighty fish stocks will be depleted likewise. Already our children will never be able to see the marvels we have seen in the Oceans.
So save the Oceans! Save the world! Save us! Because the world will go on, with or without some naked ape.
Where will you be in 10 years and what will you be doing?
Hopefully still exploring this beautiful world on land and under water. Greenland and Antarctica are the last two continents on my bucket list and I’m dreaming of sailing there some day. I’d love to start a career as an underwater photographer and filmmaker and help to save the sea. Hopefully the countries of this earth will realize that they need to invest more in the protection and conservation of the Ocean and
create more aquatic jobs, of which one I will gladly take. Otherwise always be surrounded by wonderful fish and of course Diving, Diving, Diving…