I grew up in the north-west of England in a town called Runcorn, about 15 miles from Liverpool, but left as soon as I could…
Some of my earliest memories are of my elder brother, who was in the merchant navy at the time, telling stories of the places he had visited and I think that was probably the genesis of my travel bug.
Back then opportunities for work-related travel were relatively few and my first chance came soon after my 21st birthday when I was offered a job as a trainee service engineer for a Swiss compressor company.
That job allowed me to see a lot of the UK & Ireland and four years later led to job in the oil & gas industry in Libya, working six weeks on and three weeks off, which allowed me to travel and lead to my first experience of scuba diving – on the Mediterranean island of Malta.
That was in 1978, when recreational diving was loosely regulated, and a one day introductory course got me a “dive card” that allowed me dive the many sites around the island, which I have to say is pretty scary in retrospect!
The job in Libya was supposed to be for one year – but it was 14 years, a wife, two kids and four countries later before we decided it was time to move on and leave the Middle East to head down-under for a new life in Australia.
My time in the Middle East, and particularly the 7 years we spent in Bahrain, allowed me to move on from my Maltese dive card and qualify as a BSAC Advanced Instructor & PADI Divemaster. Bahrain has some good offshore sites (see the Articles section), but you had to go a long way to get to them and most of the closer sites were not particularly good.
That said, we had some great times there and I got my first tastes of underwater photography & dive travel to more exotic locations such as the Maldives and the Seychelles.
We have now lived in Australia for 20 years, initially in Brisbane and then 13 years ago we moved to Sydney. My day job is in sales for a major US corporation and it has taken me all over Asia, including an 18 month assignment based in Shanghai.