The Accidental Tech Diver

What did you call me?

I've had a passion for diving for over 10 years,

Duck Diver early years

Duck Diver - the early years.
Diving in kelp with her Aqua Lung friends

but I restricted my diving, like most, to recreational dives.  Pretty reefs and fish, kelp forests, and searching for shells in the sand.  That was enough for me.

Then Howard, my  now-husband, came along.  He was this tech diver working with Shadow Diver, John Chatterton, on a project in the Domincan Republic.  Howard introduced me to shipwrecks.  I was not a fan of overhead environments.  What if I got lost, or stuck, or lost and stuck?!  However, Howard was kind, knowledgeable  and patient.  He encouraged me to go inside the wreck without pushing me.  Soon, my fear subsided and I was charging headfirst into wrecks.  Maybe I should have some official training?

Enter John Chatterton and his Advanced Wreck Diving class.  I had gone diving with John a few times and he must have decided I wasn't a total mess in the water, because he asked if I wanted to take his class.  (or maybe he just wanted to "fix" my bad diver habits?) Learning how to wreck dive from a legend such as John is like learning to act from Meryl Streep…you just don’t pass up that opportunity.  That class changed me.  I was more confident in the water and ready for wreck diving adventures.

My love for wrecks opened up the door to a whole different kind of diving, and I wanted more.

My love for wrecks opened up the door to a whole different kind of diving, and I wanted more. But what about those wrecks which are just out of my recreational reach?  Well, now I need more training.

John Chatterton giving pre-dive lecture

John Chatterton giving pre-dive lecture.

I also took my Advanced Nitrox and Deco Class with John, Howard and the staff from South Florida Diving Headquarters.  When it came time for Chatterton’s Extended range and Trimix class, it wasn't really a question in anyone's mind of “if” I was going to take it.  I was handed the book and was told to read it.

Well, I came this far; I might as well complete the set with my Advanced Trimix. Actually, when I was preparing for the Advanced Trimix class, I felt quite a bit of anxiety.  I never intended to become a tech diver, and I had a hard time considering myself as such.  While the other courses were serious diving, this one seemed like my Mt. Everest.  I would be diving 200’+, and that is deeper than many divers will ever see.  I am a confident diver, but when it comes to a dive this deep, did I have the right stuff?

...he sees no room for ego  in Technical Diving.

I toyed with the notion of calling it off all the way up until the night before.  Then I received a call from John.  He knew about my anxiety and, as any good instructor should, wanted to see where I stood.  I've heard some call John “crazy” or “Rambo” because of the diving he does, but actually, he sees no room for ego in Technical Diving.  He made it very clear that while he was confident in my abilities in diving this deep, it was my call to make at any moment.  If I was too afraid/nervous/anxious/preoccupied about the dive, I should cancel it.  He relayed a story about one of the "best diver's he ever knew" who would arrive at the boat, pay the boat captain and go home because something just didn't "feel right".  I guess all of that is what I needed to hear, because the next morning I arrived at the boat excited to dive.

Me, a Tech Diver?  How did that happen?

Duck Diver with tiny doubles

Duck Diver with tiny doubles

So here I am holding Advanced Wreck Diver, Advanced Nitrox, Deco Diver, Extended Range/Deep Air, Trimix and Advanced Trimix cards diving to 247 feet, and squeezing through holes in shipwrecks…

When Howard called me a "Tech Diver" for the first time, it took me by surprise.  Me, a Tech Diver?  How did that happen?  I would have never believed them if someone told me 2 years ago that I would be a Tech Diver.    I still love pretty reefs and fish, but turns out I also really enjoy trying out new and challenging things in diving.

Where do I go from here?  Any suggestions?

18 Responses

  1. divergirls
    "Where do I go from here? Any suggestions?" -GO DOWN!
  2. You are the perfect tech diver. You are knowledgeable, humble, and prepared. Your have the education and the equipment, while you continue to acquire more, and more, and more experience. You are a solid diver with all the tools, and I am proud to have had you as a student. Salud
  3. molly
    Megan! you are amazing, you now can go anywhere you want to go.
  4. Dawn Callahan
    Well done, Megan.
  5. Cindy
    Great blog, Megan!
  6. Marian
    First, congratulations on your achievement! As to where to go from here, I would suggest that you continue to follow you heart. You say it was accidental, but it is where your heart took you. Moreover, you are with your husband, sharing important experiences. It is this type of sharing that builds a long marriage. I love diving with my husband, Dave-Teamcasa. Again, Congratulations, Marian-HisLovelyBride
    • megan
      Marian, I appreciate your kind words and good advice. My life's most gratifying experiences have come when I truly followed my heart. Thank you.
  7. Well done. I've been diving for over 22 years and have yet to take the tech plunge. I feel like it is in my future, you never know. The attitude you brought to your training and experience is obvious and the right one. Well done.
    • megan
      Thanks Jim! Tech diving is not for everyone, but I found it both challenging and rewarding.
  8. My sixteen year old daughter, who loves to write BTW, has approached me about getting certified (like your husband I do not like to push) I am going to forward her your blog. Very inspiring how you did't let your inhibitions get in the way of your passion for exploring. Thanks
    • megan
      Hi Colin, I am honored that you consider me an inspiration. I would love to hear how your daughter progresses in scuba, or life in general. Perhaps she will start a blog of her own soon? Cheers, Megan
  9. Carlos Linares
    Time to go to High Springs, FL! ;) A few of my buddies from LA are getting cave trained at the end of Sept.
  10. Chris
    Congratulations! Nice work, your story is great! (Dig the title).
  11. Lisa
    Congratulations! Your story is awe inspiring. I'm interested in "going deeper" as well. Just wondering what fins do you use?
    • megan
      For tech diving, I am currently using the Hollis F1 Bat Fins. I have a long narrow foot, and they fit the best. They give me ample power to move myself around with twin tanks and deco bottles. However, I am a firm believer in using what works best for you. Give them a try, but if you have a chance to try out other types such as the Aqua Lung Rockets or SCUBAPRO Jet fins, then do it!
    • megan
      P.S. Thank you for the kind words! Tech diving is fun and exciting, and I hope you give it a try. I'd love to hear about your experience, so keep me updated!
  12. I like your suggestions for fins for tech diving but they are pretty heavy for travel. Do you have any suggestions for travel fins for tech diving? Any experience with the Aeris Accel? Love your blog. Very inspiring to all.
    • Megan Ehrenberg
      It really depends on what type of diving you are doing. Are you diving just in a wreck environment? Will there be a lot of current? Does your dive require you to carry deco bottles? I appreciate the weight and size issues of dive travel. However, when it comes to technical diving, you don't want to sacrifice your gear in the name of weight restrictions. With that said, there are some options you can try. I have not used the <a href="" rel="nofollow">Aeris Accel Fins</a> yet, but they do look like something I'd like to try. Simple, compact fins. The question is if they move enough water when you have doubles and stage bottles? I've used the <a href="" rel="nofollow">Aqua Lung HotShot fins</a> for wreck diving, as well as recreational diving. Great for travel. They are good in a wreck environment because they are compact, but may not be enough to meet your other needs? It all comes down to this: Do you have the right tool for the job? Check out this video of Leon Scamahorn from <a href="" rel="nofollow">ISC</a> fighting a current to rescue a Manta in the Cocos wearing the HotShot fins:

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