Shannon has adventurer written all over her; she is a Firefighter in Virginia, by day, to pay the diving bills and then is flying halfway across the world in 2019 to dive in one of the most remote regions in an incredibly harsh environment; Antarctica. But before that she’ll do some training dives in Iceland to prepare! We caught up with Shannon to learn more about what she’s got planned and it’s pretty amazing! She knows she wants to dive the world, so she’s just making it happen.
DSD has asked Shannon to feature her story here, on the site, so we will all be able to live vicariously through her life-changing trip scuba diving in Antarctica in 2019!
For most of my life, I have lived in Virginia Beach, VA. My husband and I often travel together overseas and throughout the United States, and not all of our travels include diving. At home, we enjoy lazy days when we are not working. When I am not diving, I am hanging out with my two nephews watching them grow up. Ethan is almost 3 and Levi is 5 months old. To them I am Aunt Shay!
How did you get into diving?
My dad and uncles are the reason I started diving. My childhood home had a pool, and long before I got certified my dad and uncles were teaching me how to scuba dive in my pool. My uncle and I would sit at the bottom of the deep end, just breathing. There was a pool light in the deep end that I would pretend that was the portal to the open ocean, and I always imagined what it would be like to actually go in the ocean swimming next to sharks and fish. Once I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, first order of business was my open water diving class.
What is your highest level of certification?
This year, I have achieved my SSI Stress & Rescue Certification along with my SSI Dive Guide and Divemaster certifications. I am a brand new Divemaster eager to learn more about diving and hopefully one day use it in a professional manner.
For the last 9 years I have volunteered at my local aquarium. During my years of diving at the aquarium, I have done 3 wedding proposals (they all said yes!), during Christmas I had the chance to dive as Scuba Santa and even dressed up as a Pink Power Ranger for our Halloween Dive. In addition to all of those special occasions at the aquarium I help clean the tanks, interact with the animals, observe enrichment activities, and help with their overall well being. During our dives,we have the opportunity to have fun with kids and families as they walk by the tank, and I take lots of pictures with them. One of the more important aspects of diving at the aquarium is the ability to keep up with my scuba skills as I dive at the aquarium on average once a week. When I can not travel it is awesome to be able to go to the aquarium to get my diving fix. Check out your local aquarium for volunteer opportunities.
A list of your certifications include?
2000 Open Water certification
2015 Advance Open Water certification
2017 Stress & Rescue Certification
2017 Dive Guide and Divemaster
A few more of my certifications include:
Whale Shark Distinctive Specialty
Aquarium Diver Specialty
Mine Diving Specialty
Coming Soon: Tectonic Plate Awareness Specialty (Iceland)
What are some of your current projects, websites, etc?
My biggest focus right now is preparing for my impulse trip to Antarctica in 2019. As a result of this trip, I have started a blog to talk about my preparations, training, equipment, lessons, and dives. If you are interested in checking out my blog please visit www.scubaworldtravels.com. This blog is not only about my Antarctica trip but our other travels around the world and throughout the United States. My scuba world meets our world travels for Scuba World Travels.
And a little about the diving…tell us about your favorite dive!
It’s hard to pick just ONE favorite dive as I am sure most of us love something in particular about all of our dives. One of my diving bucket list items is to dive with whale sharks. Last March, on our road trip down to Tampa, my husband and I made a stop to the Georgia Aquarium. Although, I want more than anything to dive with whale sharks in the open water, this experience was just as incredible. I dove in the largest aquarium in the world with a close encounter with whale sharks. I must give credit to my husband for discovering the opportunities of diving in other aquariums. As you can imagine, it is my goal to dive in as many aquariums as possible. To date, I have logged dives in three other aquariums with a 4th scheduled in December. (Not including my aquarium)
How about your current kit?
- 5/10mm Polar Evoluted Hood
- Aqualung Legend Glacia cold water regulator with octopus and Suunto dive computer
- OMS/DUI San Diego Drysuit
- Drysuit undergarments include: DUI Xm450 jumpsuit for water temp 28-45 degrees fahrenheit and DUI Polartec PowerStretch Pro jumpsuit for water temp 45-60 degrees fahrenheit
- Scubapro Ladyhawk BCD
- Mares Matrix dive computer
- Underwater Cameras: SeaLife Micro 2.0 with Sea Dragon 2100 dual beam light (ask me how I got this underwater light), Paralenz Camera that logs your dives with your pictures and videos, and lastly a GoPro Hero3 with an underwater dome to achieve the above/underwater pictures (waiting to test this out).
Who would you say is your go-to dive buddy?
My first dive buddy was my dad, then my husband. However, my husband doesn’t really dive anymore. I am open for a new dive buddy! Brian Burns, you have been my most consistent dive buddy I’ve had in a long time. So here is my shout out to you for joining me on a few adventures and our talks about diving.
How about a few favorite dive spots?
Silfra, Iceland. Bonne Terre Mines, Missouri and soon I will be returning back to Iceland for 5 more dives in 3 different locations.
And your diving bucket list?
More than anything I want to travel to Croatia to dive for my very own bottle of red wine. Two things I love: diving and red wine – how perfect is that? I still want the chance to dive with whale sharks in the open water. This is just to name a couple, there are many other places I want to explore.
What’s next for you in diving?
Besides Antarctica, my diving goals including improving my photography skills and having the opportunity to take photographs and videos in various places around the world. I am not exactly National Geographic quality but I strive to take great photos and I want to show that everyday divers can be a part of the underwater photography world without investing in many thousands of dollars on camera equipment.
In addition, I want to continue to earn more certifications in various specialties and all the way up to Instructor. Those in the diving industry know its not about the money but having the opportunity to do something you love.
Where can we go to read more about your adventures?
I would love it if check out my Instagram and click follow @lockhart0416 and www.scubaworldtravels.com will be around if you want something to read and to follow my journey.
Editor’s note: Shannon will be writing for DSD on her Iceland and Antarctica adventures; stay tuned to watch her story unfold!