Meet Michelle Barry, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and Owner of Cairns Dive School

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Michelle Barry, Cairns Dive School

Say hello to today’s featured diver, Michelle Barry, owner of Cairns Dive School who has a passion for pink fins and would love to be a whale shark! 

Full Name: Michelle Barry
Age: 34
Live In: Cairns, Australia
Working For: Owner of Cairns Dive School
Diver Qualifications: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Nitrox Instructor
When and where did you start diving?
I started diving in February 2009 in San Diego California with Ocean Enterprises

Why did you start diving?
I’ve been drawn to the ocean since I was a child, learning to dive was an inevitable step. As with most people I kept putting it of for no real good reason, but once I finally made the time it literally changed my life path. How a sport can do this is unique to diving I think. Once humans experience breathing underwater especially in the Ocean, its difficult to not become changed in some way by the experience.

What made you choose to become a dive professional? (if applicable)
Once I started diving I couldn’t stop, I wanted to constantly know more! Once I became a Divemaster, I knew that this is where my life was going. I completed my DM and packed my life in southern California and moved, site unseen to Cairns, Australia, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Queensland, Australia has the strictest dive regulations in the world. I wanted to be trained where the standards of safety were under the strictest regulation so no matter where in the world I went diving or taught diving I would have the highest standards of safety.

Michelle Barry, Cairns Dive School

Which is your favourite dive site and why?
So hard to choose! If I am forced to pick one, I would say North Horn on Osprey Reef. Amazing walls dropping near vertical to 3,000 ft make for spectacular drift dives, then the sites wraps around the reef point into an amphitheatre thats home to some 50 large grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks and frequented by hammerheads, silver tips, manta rays, and even, marlin, sail fins, and thats just the top of the food chain!

What has been the most memorable dive of your life and why?
My most memorable dive was while working on Spirit of Freedom as an instructor. While not a dive I was snorkelling on the surface when a Dwarf Minke Whale approached the boat and myself. I was all alone with the whale for about 5 minutes while the whale made several close passes underneath me to check me out on the surface. The experience was one of those magical moments that changes you as a person solidifying my passion for the ocean and its incredible inhabitants.

If you would come back as a marine life form in your next life, what would that be?
I would come back as a whale shark! I would love a lazy life of cruising the worlds currents for food and everyone’s happy to see you when you show up at dive sites.

Who is your dream dive buddy?
Andy Brandy Casagrande IV the ABC, Nat Geo videographer and photographer. I would love to be able to assist him on his shark diving trips.

What dive locations are on your dream “bucket list” and why?
Galapagos is my bucket list dive, as well as Honduras for whale sharks.

What is on your bedside table right now?
A lamp and iphone charger.

What is your favourite piece of diving equipment and why?
Many women are obsessed with shoes, but I have more fins than shoes! Fins in all styles and shapes but all are PINK! I dive in a variety of different conditions and as the instructor I have fins that uniquely suited to each condition for comfort, speed, agility, and easily identifiable by my students and guests.

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?
Sharks and their habitat protection in Australia is my number one marine concern. We are in the midst of an environmental crisis, culling marine life indiscriminately up and down the coasts of Australia and even with in the great barrier reef marine park. Killing our top predators here is allowing mid level predators to breed rapidly and eat all the reef fish which keep the algae growth under control. In a few more years with out sharks maintaining balance on the reef, irreversible damage will occur.

Where will you be in 10 years and what will you be doing?
10 years I will be traveling the world with my partner and kids, diving and enjoying our lives.


Learn more about Cairns Dive School at:



About Author

Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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