I always like to start off my trips by introducing myself to the group and “breaking the ice”.
“High, thanks for joining our trip to _______. My name is Andy, I am an UW Photographer and I have gone 10 days now without an underwater camera in my hands…. Help me, please!”
I honestly don’t think that I am any fun as a group leader at all. I am probably just entertainingly boring at best because all I do and talk about is underwater photography, marine life, what it does, where to find it and how to photograph it. I am an “ocean junky” and a dive bum of the highest order and even after 30 years, I can’t seem to stop. I have a chronic addiction, an impulsive disorder, that makes me spend all my time and energy toward one goal….diving! I have undergone psychiatric counseling in an attempt to escape my malady, but it didn’t help. I live and breathe underwater photography. I love it and I’m obsessed, if not purely possessed by it. I am not content to stay at home and watch National Geographic, Discovery Channel or the BBC on the big screen. I am commanded by voices, whispers in my head. I am compelled to “be there” and witness the ocean firsthand. The voices I hear keep me awake at night, calling me to the sea. Being underwater, with the marine life and my camera is the only way to shut them up. There’s no place fit for me on land. I have a sickness and a dreaded disease that I gleefully spread to all. Beware, it is clinically incurable.
Between myself and my better half, Allison (the other half of my addiction and equally addicted, if not worse than myself), we are undoubtedly the most boring couple in the world. We continually grease o-rings and habitually recharge batteries. We download CF cards just for fun sometimes, laughing like giddy school children as we do it. I don’t know why we do the crazy things we do, we are just that way. Neither of us can ever make a decision on whether to shoot macro or wide angle, because frankly, we love both. We are compulsively and obsessively driven to dive. Dive! Dive! Dive! It’s all we do! There’s no excuse for our insane behavior at all.
Oddly enough though, I find myself continually joined on trips by people that want to do what I do. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why! Why would anyone want to do what I do on their vacation? Wouldn’t it be more fun to lay around in the sun, on a cruise ship somewhere, slathering on the sunscreen, drink in hand, wondering when the bell will ring for the endless lunch buffet? It’s just insane that I cannot unwind and relax like the rest of the world. There’s seriously something wrong with me! Don’t come on a trip with me, or you’ll end up just like this…..
Traveling and diving with Allison and I is boredom at a new level. Flashes are continually going off, resembling an underwater thunderstorm and there are cameras lying all over the place on the bottom of the ocean and on the boat deck. Meals are constantly interrupted with a mad dash for cameras every time dolphins or whales are spotted. On one trip, when pilot whales were spotted, I literally dropped my soup spoon from my mouth, mid-slurp, back into my bowl, splashing everyone nearby and climbed over their backs to get out of the dining booth and to my camera. Evenings on our trips are equally boring. We begin with sunset shots and beers, continue with more beer, download (with beer), dinner with wine, edit down the days images (keeping only the best and showing them off), more beer, then developing the best images until we realize it’s time to go outside again and experience the beautiful night sky. Some nights we wake up to do some insane 2-3 a.m. dive to start the day. Not many join us on these dives, though I am not sure why…. There is tons of coffee and heaps of groaning, as a still cold wetsuit is pulled onto a once warm sleep deprived body. These dives generally yield some of the rarest critters found on the trip. Trust me; at 3:00 in the morning, the divemaster and crew hate us!
Honestly, I cannot imagine why anyone in their right mind would want to join me on a trip. I am a sick individual and cannot stop diving.
Hi my name is Andy, I am an Under Water Photographer and I have gone 24 hours now without an underwater camera in my hands…..Please help me and sign up for my trip!
Guest Blogger and Photo Pro Andy Sallmon is leading a trip to the Solomon Islands for Reef & Rainforest. Click here to get more information about this photo expedition. Contact Reef & Rainforest to help enable Andy’s habit at 800-794-9767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org