DeepElite

Julie Andersen, Scubapro Ambassador

Julie Andersen

Few people leave successful marketing careers to pursue a passion for the oceans and in doing so, take on one of the hardest PR jobs on the planet. A passionate environmentalist, diver of 15 years and lover of the oceans, Julie evolved her special relationship with sharks to a new level after watching them disappear from her favorite dive spots. Now her business is saving them. And getting more people into the water to do the same. She's been a long-time fan of SCUBAPRO and has even become a face for the brand!

An interview with Julie Andersen:

Tell us about yourself:

"My name is Julie Andersen, and I have been a diver for 15 years. It defines me. I was drawn into the water all of my life. I come from a long line of mermaids, my father, my grandfather, his father… So I suppose it was only natural I would take to the seas, and they would take me in. Now I am working for the oceans full time. And I have the best job in the world."

Why did you decide to take the giant stride into the oceans?

"I grew up in the water. I was the kid who was always swimming in a lake, river or stream, eagerly peering to the bottom to have a chance encounter with some sort of marine life! I would catch guppies and put them in jars as my pets, obsessed with all things aquatic. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around my grandfather and father spending an afternoon swimming in the lake near our house. I was always swimming and snorkeling and was lucky enough to go to some pretty amazing places where I became hooked. I remember snorkeling above my newly certified father in Bonaire wishing I was the one that could bury my nose in a coral head!

So, I began diving in 1995 - my Dad was my assistant instructor. Within a years' time, my whole family got certified (first my dad, then me, then my brother, then my mom.) It became a way for an adult family to share something special, and we traveled the world together - Belize, Thailand, Burma, Hawaii, Tahiti - exploring the ocean. I still go on at least one trip a year with my dad - it has become a special way for us to spend time together."

How has diving changed your life?

"I am first and foremost a diver. And diving has absolutely changed my life. Diving has allowed me to go deeper, see more, experience things that I could only imagine. It has taken me around the world and fulfilled a desire for adventure and exploration. I was also able to discover a new love - sharks! In a few short years, I went from owning an advertising agency, managing 40 people and working for companies like Porsche and Citibank, to totally being infatuated with the ocean and sharks to selling my business, my house and my car to make a profession of saving the oceans, saving the sharks and, of course, diving as much as possible. It is who I am and always will be."

Tell me what, if you had to pick one of the most amazing experiences underwater, what would it be?

"I have always been drawn to the shark's watery world. Their stunning grace, power and undeniable presence has mesmerized me since we first met. I have been diving with the schooling Hammerheads in Cocos, the Great Whites in South Africa, the Bull Sharks in Fiji, the Tigers in the Bahamas, the Leopards in Thailand, and the Silver Tips in Tahiti. But nothing was as magical as my first real shark encounter. I was by myself in Hawaii finishing my safety stop, as my buddy had just gotten out, frustrated with my slow air consumption! I suddenly had a sense I was not alone. I looked to my left, and there no more than six feet from me was a beautiful hammerhead just curiously peering at me. We spent what seemed like minutes next to each other quietly connected, sharing an incredible moment until finally, with a shake of her tail, she disappeared. It was as if we had communicated, and she had sealed my fate. Breathlessly gazing into the eyes of the animal I was taught to fear, I saw life - not a cold, cruel stare. These fascinating creatures exemplify all that is beautiful and perfect on this planet. The extraordinary power of nature. A vital reminder of what we must respect and protect. "

Where are some of your favorite places underwater?

"There are so many amazing places, I can't name just one. And, it is so hard to go somewhere I have already been because there are so many places left to explore, animals to see, waters to experience. Less of the ocean has been explored than the moon! Every time I go somewhere new, I see something I will never forget, whether it is a tiny mimic octopus camouflaged from a predator or a humpback whale giving birth. The oceans will never cease to amaze me."

What is your advice to someone considering diving?

"Do it! Today.

Diving allows you not just to be able to explore just the underwater world, see these amazing creatures and their habitats, and discover new things that you never thought were possible. It also allows you to go to places that you only read about. There is a sense of exploration, of experiencing new cultures, and of expedition - going to incredible islands and nations all over the world. That is what diving is. It is also an amazing community and an incredible group of people united in a passion. Diving drew me in - and thank goodness I figured out how to make a career out of it as well which will always be very special to me."

What is the favorite thing in your dive bag?

"For certain, my devil horn hoodie. I have had it for ten years, and I wear it on every dive as my good luck charm. It makes my diving ensemble unique so everyone can recognize me while adding a bit of humor to it all - you can never take yourself too seriously. And I think it is quite appropriate as well. Every shark angel has a little bit of devil in her! I also adore my Meridian and Chromis dive computers. Both are stylish, functional and keep me safe."

Why SCUBAPRO?

"I started wearing SCUBAPRO 16 years ago, and I have been doing it ever since. I have always believed in being the best at whatever you do - and having the best. So of course it has always been SCUBAPRO for me. From their regulators to their suits, I not only feel incredibly comfortable and safe, but also like I am wearing a badge of honor. And now with their Apnea gear from a sister company, my world is complete! I am lucky enough to not just be an ambassador, but a face for the brand and a passionate supporter of an organization that puts their money where the mouth is - and supports the oceans and conservation better than any other dive company I am familiar with."

What would you tell people about the oceans?

"Sharks are disappearing without us noticing or caring. They are facing extinction. They are prey - not predators. Sharks are not what they are portrayed in the media - they are magnificent creatures that play an incredibly valuable role on this earth.

We are witnessing the first round of ocean extinction - our impact on the ocean in the last 50 years is devastating - pollution, overfishing, destruction. At this point, up to 90% of key shark species have been destroyed but the demand for is still at an all time high fueled by greed. Even our marine reserves are the target of illegal shark fisheries. If we don't act now, we are going to lose our sharks - and our oceans - our life support systems on this planet. Everyone needs to be aware of this situation - and everyone needs to join the fight. We can save our sharks by coming together in a grass roots movement and turning our passion into action.

We tend to protect the things we understand, and sharks are largely out of sight, out of mind for us. I hope more people will get in the water - that's a powerful tool to protect them - and everything else in the oceans. When you come virtually face to fin with the "world's most dangerous sharks" you will realize as I have, that sharks aren't the enemies - the only thing we have to fear is ourselves."

Name: Julie Andersen Profession: Conservationist, Advertising executive Diver Since: 1996 Learn More: Click here Bio: Click here

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WARNING: When diving, you must follow the rules and apply the skills taught by a recognized scuba diving certification agency. Before taking part in any diving activity, it is mandatory to have successfully completed a scuba diving course. Information on this website does not replace a diving instruction course.