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Ocean Minds presents Faye-marie Crooke

Profession: Liveaboard Specialist

Organisation: ZuBlu

Faye is a courageous, unique and beautiful soul who always puts a smile on my face. She taught me to never be afraid to be myself and always encouraged me to explore the hidden gems of the underwater world. I am inspired by her devotion to protecting the ocean and its inhabitants and her ability to instil a passion in people. I admire her work ethic and her moto 'explore the blue, dive green'.

1. How did we meet?

I was lucky enough to meet Margaux while she was assisting in scientific data collection in partnership with Operation Wallacea. Part of the research was based at a dive resort I was managing located on a tiny island, in the Caribbean, off the coast of Honduras, Central America.

2. What is one memorable ocean moment from our time together?

I REALLY enjoyed watching Margaux work towards completing her divemaster training. She took part in an intensive course with a group of other scientists who became the best of teammates. Hours were long, the sun was hot and the living conditions very ‘expedition’ but Margaux would always be ready to load a boat with a smile on her face very early in the morning. I’ve seen her know when a hug is needed just as suitably as when a swift exit is required and it was an absolute joy to watch her in her oceanic element.

3. What encouraged you to pursue a career as a dive professional?

I believe the ocean is vital to the vitality of the earth as a whole. SCUBA diving allows me to be part of that world while also providing incomparable therapeutic benefits. While musicians, filmmakers, poets and photographers may try to capture the power of the ocean, I don’t believe any accurately can. The only way to know is to be completely engulfed by it. Being a dive pro enables me to share that passion while ensuring others enjoy the ocean in a safe and respectful way.

My goal is to have those watching documentaries on their couch to get out there and experience the ocean first hand. Hopefully that interaction leads to a more environmentally conscious human population.

4. How did you land your current job?

Years of experience as a dive professional, resort manager and travelling to dive destinations afforded me the experience and skills required to advise others on dive travel. There were unpaid internships, many rock-star mentors and working for sand dollars leading up to that point - in all honestly, it started with The Little Mermaid VHS!!

5. What is it about your role that makes you feel like you are truly making a difference?

I frequently introduce curious divers to reefs and locations they had not previously heard of. It’s my belief that my advice keeps divers diving, travellers exploring and given a large number of the locations I recommend are remote, the divers I send stimulate smaller economies. Locations that, I feel, may need aid in understanding the value of live marine life. I’m hoping to aid in stimulating a shift from fishing/trapping/consuming to wildlife tourism. This can be achieved by divers choosing to support only companies operating thoughtfully and sustainably. Dive operations that work in tune with the natural environment, in which we want to observe and ultimately preserve, can only exist with our support.

Explore the blue. Dive Green.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring ocean warriors?

Touch the ocean as often as possible and find ways to ensure the ocean touches those around you. We are not all fortunate enough to live near a large body of water but the majority of us do have internet access, which means we don’t even need our passports to travel and learn. Devour all oceanic content - read, watch and research. Share your findings. Volunteer - help out with data collection, literally donate time to your local aquarium. Even sharing posts is a form of volunteering and spreading the word. Stay current.

7. What has been your most unforgettable experience in the ocean and why?

My first dive at Darwins Arch, the Galapagos Islands. We entered the water, cameras rolling, with a negative entry backroll to find the largest pregnant female Whaleshark I’ve ever seen just 4m below us. She was carving out a path through the schools of hammerheads. After taking a breath I realised she was just one of four Whalesharks in my line of view. That was the first 45 seconds. I’ve never emptied a tank so fast and I couldn't wait for more. I also discovered that tears of joy are entirely possible underwater.

8. Who has inspired you to achieve your goals?

Disney’s The Little Mermaid obviously had a huge impact, although it wouldn't be fair not to credit the work of Sir David Attenborough for bringing far away oceans into my living room. I was lucky enough to have two fantastic mentors throughout my divemaster internship. Adam Laverty, known for his part lecture - part performance art, fish identification presentations, has a vibrant passion for the sea I’d never experienced in person before, or since. Adam’s managerial partner, the late Chris Gorham, had a no nonsense attitude towards SCUBA instruction. He believed access to the sea should be available for all so long as safety measures were taken. He would not tolerate corners being cut when it came to safety and responsible interactions with the ocean. I am truly thankful to have met Chris and that he and Adam decided to take me under their wing. Since becoming a dive pro, I often think back to my dive training and aim to inspire others into making wise choices when it comes to travel and SCUBA Instruction.

9. What do you hope to achieve in the future?

To get more people diving!! My hope is that through first hand experiences with the natural world (albeit ocean or land) that people come to understand their part in it and feel a sense of stewardship. I am hopeful that people are willing, and able, to make small changes in their day-to-day life, which will have a huge impact on the health of our planet as a whole. We can all vote with our wallet and demand vendors to be more environmentally conscious in their practises. We can share tips and tricks from our own life to minimise our impact on the earth.

'In short, I hope to inspire and continue to be inspired.'

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