Meet James Sanderson from Divelife in Manchester. A highly qualified diver who would love to dive the big wrecks, the big caves and who already believes he is a marine life form!
Full Name: James Sanderson
Live In: East Midlands, UK
Working For: Divelife.co.uk
GUE Tec 1, Tec 1+, Cave 1 & DPV 1
PADI IDC Staff Instructor (currently not renewed status)
DAN Oxygen Provider Instructor
DSAT Trimix Gas Blender Instructor
RYA Pt 2 (Power boat handler) 1000+ driving hours
STCW 95 (maritime safety and fire fighting)
1800+ Total dives
1200+ Single tank dives
250+ Recreational twinset dives
40+ Cave dives, Mexico, Florida, France and the UK
35+ Trimix decompression, dives both warm and cold water
When and where did you start diving?
I had done couple try dives as kid on holiday and never forgot the experience, but it was a holiday in 2001 to some strange place called ‘Sharm El Sheikh’ where got my Open Water certification and never looked back!
Why did you start diving?
I always joke that it was because I needed a proper hobby! But the truth is I have always been fascinated with the underwater world and it seemed like a natural sport to pursue. My only regret is that I didn’t start 10 years earlier.
What made you choose to become a dive professional? (if applicable)
To be good dive educator you have to be passionate about it, so initially motivation was that teaching seemed to be the logical ‘next step’ even at an early stage in my career as it was way to convey that passion. I realise now that to be a great dive educator you also have to be an experienced and skilled diver. This does not come until much later, and for some does not come at all. It’s only now as near my 2000th dive in many locations and environments that my motivation is to make people better, safer divers and pass on what I have learned rather than to simply teach courses.
Which is your favourite dive site and why?
The wreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands is a favorite although nether particularly deep or challenging. I have about 200 dives on her and she is a joy to dive every time so it really getting to know a wreck that makes it special, I think there is a real joy that comes with an intimacy with a wreck. There always something new to see and being relatively shallow means you can take your time to explore her.
What has been the most memorable dive of your life and why?
It was my first cave dive after my GUE cave 1 course in Mexico at Nohoch nah Chich which is ancient Mayan for “Giant Bird Cage.” It is considered one the most beautifully decorated underwater caves anywhere in the world (and it was also officially the world’s largest underwater cave system, until the discovery of Sistema Ox Bel Ha) There was no need to rush that particular dive either as it’s all in less that 18m of water meaning we did over two hours on a single dive. In fact no matter how far we went, or which line you took, we would’t have seen more than a tiny fraction of the cave. Not that it really mattered as everything we saw was utterly mind blowing!
If you would come back as a marine life form in your next life, what would that be?
I am a marine life form already!
Who is your dream dive buddy?
I am really lucky to dive with a great group of people from all different backgrounds and using a team based methodology makes it really simple easy and I have a group of people that I would do any dive with tomorrow, but if I had to pick one person to dive with it would be one of the Florida cave diving pioneers such as Woody Jasper or Bill Main or perhaps even the great Sheck Exley himself. Although equipment and techniques have developed since the 80’s we owe much of what we recognize as our modern sport to these guys.
What dive locations are on your dream “bucket list” and why?
The bucket list would have to have a couple of BIG caves and BIG wrecks. I would love to dive Wakulla and Eagles nest springs, the wrecks of the Andrea Doria and the SS Maiden. There is always something a little deeper or longer!
What is on your bedside table right now?
I read almost no fiction so it’s an account of the Apollo Moon landings called ‘Moon dust’ and an account of the post D-day advance across Europe called ‘Armageddon’
What is your favorite piece of diving equipment and why?
My running shoes! It was an important lesson to learn but there is good evidence to show that finding a few short periods of time on a regular basis to get a little exercise can only be a good thing for your diving. Good cardiovascular health will promote good circulation and subsequently gas transport from the tissues to the lungs during ascent will be improved. This will mean that you are not only more efficiently transporting excess nitrogen from the body during ascent but also the waste Carbon Dioxide.
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 divers we love to travel to far flung places to dive, but it’s often these remote area that the local populations are not aware of the impact that they have on their local marine environment. So particularly waste disposal for small islands can have a catastrophic impact on coral reefs. I have seen first hand the impact of washing machine detergents being pumped straight into coral logoons. So I would find a way to educate local populations on these issues to protect their two most important assets, the sea and the tourist revenue it generates.
Where will you be in 10 years and what will you be doing?
I think within the next few years the technology of choice for anything that is now a OC trimix dive will be CCR. So I would like to see myself ticking a few dives off my bucket list (and perhaps some I haven’t thought of!) on a CCR with great team with me having fun and being as safe as possible!
You can learn more about our friends at Divelife by visiting http://www.divelife.co.uk