Meet Nikki Weeden, 25 from Plymouth. Nikki is a travel consultant for blue o two (contributor to The Scuba News) who also hosts blue o two’s Project Shark itinerary in the Maldives. She loves her white Suunto D4 and apparently has very tasty hair according to Mexican remoras.
Full Name: Nikki Weeden
Live In: Plymouth
Working For: blue o two
Diver Qualifications: PADI Divemaster
When and where did you start diving?
I started when I was 17…I learned everything I know now at the lovely Stoney Cove!
Why did you start diving?
I wanted to study marine biology at university and thought that diving would fit in perfectly with that. What better way is there to explore the marine world?!
What made you choose to become a dive professional? (if applicable)
I thought it would probably help me in the future with job applications, particularly in the field I wanted to work in. And it definitely has! I learned an awful lot during the course and it’s been so useful in my current role as Dive Travel Consultant at blue o two.
Which is your favourite dive site and why?
Without doubt it has to be Rangali Madivaru in South Ari Atoll. I was there in January 2013, hosting blue o two’s Project Shark: Maldives trip. It’s a well-known manta cleaning station which we went back to a few times because there were always mantas – it’s so amazing to be in the water with these creatures.
What has been the most memorable dive of your life and why?
I would say it was a dive I did off Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in 2011. We dropped into the water and straight down to 30 metres – pure turquoise water and white sand all around. I grabbed onto a rock on the sea floor and held on, as there was a fairly strong current running through. I didn’t have to wait very long before seven or eight rather sizeable bull sharks came cruising on by. They stayed around us for the whole dive and came in very close…just beautiful. It was actually a very relaxing dive, with the exception of a few remoras, who thought my hair was food…
If you would come back as a marine life form in your next life, what would that be?
A shark!!! But which one… A tiger shark, I think. Or if not, then a nautilus because they’re just awesome.
Who is your dream dive buddy?
Probably Andrea Marshall. She’s always surrounded by mantas!
What dive locations are on your dream “bucket list” and why?
Oooh where do I start…I’d love to dive Malapascua (Philippines) for the threshers. I’d love to dive Fiji, Palau and the Galapagos. And Sudan, because everyone I’ve spoken to who’s been there absolutely loved the diving. But I wouldn’t say no to diving anywhere that’s warm and beautiful – especially if there are sharks!
What is on your bedside table right now?
A couple of photo frames, a couple of candles and an amazing lamp with a world map lampshade. Oh and some spare change, probably.
What is your favourite piece of diving equipment and why?
My dive computer! I have a Suunto D4 and it’s white and it’s very pretty. And it’s very easy to use, which is good for me!!
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?
I’m fortunate enough to host blue o two’s Project Shark itinerary in the Maldives; the aim of which is to educate divers about threats to shark populations worldwide, what’s being done to protect these creatures and what divers can do to help. Millions of sharks and rays are killed every year and so we’re seeing massive declines in their populations. They’re extremely important in the marine environment for a number of different reasons, which means that removing them could have drastic effects on our oceans, which in turn will impact on us. So I am already trying to do my bit!
Where will you be in 10 years and what will you be doing?
Hopefully diving somewhere very hot!!