The following map will provide you with an updated route for The Dive Travelers journey and also short clips from each of the locations they have visited until now!
Carrie and Chris are travelling on assignment for National Geographic for a year straight (April 2018 through April 2019), exploring the world’s best dive travel destinations for an upcoming guidebook. “Divers travel – that’s how they experience the world,” Chris says. “We’re travelling to 50 places this year, nearly one a week, exploring both underwater and on land, as well as taking a look at conservation issues specific to each destination, and how divers can give back.”
Behind the Project
Carrie has been writing for the National Geographic Society since 1998. “It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was nine-years-old,” she says. A professional, award-winning freelance writer and Contributing Editor for National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Carrie has written another book about diving for National Geographic entitled 100 Dives of a Lifetime (now available for pre-sale on Amazon). She moved to New Zealand in 2004 and now calls it home.
In 2013, Carrie was on assignment for National Geographic in South Australia, writing a story on diving with Great White Sharks, where she met Chris Taylor, a dive supervisor and shark wrangler for Rodney Fox Great White Shark Expeditions.
“When I first met Chris, he was a keen diver – I always say he should have been born with gills – but I wasn’t. I had a disastrous first open water dive and it knocked my confidence. It took a few years before I was ready to have another go,” Carrie says.
As Carrie and Chris travelled the world together, a pattern emerged: Chris would spend time underwater, while Carrie, not content to laze on a beach all day, went off on her own adventures. “We found it to be a great way to travel,” Carrie says. “Chris got to dive, I’d go hiking or I’d explore an archaeological site, and we’d meet up in the afternoons with plenty to talk about.”
And so an idea for a guidebook was born. “National Geographic loved the idea, which was exciting,” Chris says. “Even more exciting, Nat Geo talked to Dr Sylvia Earle about it, and she loved the idea and will be collaborating with us going forward.”
Dive travelers on the Road
Chris and Carrie have been travelling steadily since April this year. The first stop was Fiji, where Carrie got certified to dive. (She recently completed dives #13 and #14 in the Bahamas.) “Being on the road and on assignment full-time is a challenge, but it’s a great adventure,” Carrie says. “We’re constantly bombarded with new – but it’s been remarkable, travelling from one place to the next, to see how fluidly the landscapes (both under and above water) and the cultures flow into each other. We’re more connected than we could ever imagine: we’re all on the same voyage, whether we know it or not.”
And that includes facing the same challenges. “The ocean doesn’t recognize borders,” Chris says. “From Australia to Curaçao, the same issues keep raising their ugly heads: over-fishing, plastic pollution, getting local community buy-in, enforcing marine park protections, coral bleaching. It’s really going to require a global effort to turn the tide, so to speak, but tourism has power. How we travel, the choices we make can effect incredible change.”
Paralenz: Recording the Journey
“I’d been following the development of the Paralenz Dive Camera, and I was impressed not only with the concept – the first underwater camera purpose-built for divers by divers – but also with the quality of the footage they were getting,” Chris says. “We reached out to Paralenz to see if they might be interested in giving us a camera to test during the year we’re on the road. We’ll be travelling for a full year through a huge range of conditions, so it’s a great opportunity to give it a real shake-down.”
Three months into their journey, and Carrie and Chris (“both amateur photographers,” Carrie was keen to point out, “we’re Nat Geo writers, not photographers/videographers”) report the camera is working well so far.
“It’s smaller than my dive torch,” Chris says. “It’s easy to carry, easy to use, easy to store in my BCD pocket if I need my hands free. I’ve taken it into wrecks, shark feeds, cenotes, on night dives, and reef dives – it’s the closest I’ve seen a camera come to capturing the actual experience of the dive. The colours are amazing. We also find the dive log information, as well as the depth and water temperature appearing in the frame, hugely helpful, and it’s a handy camera for snorkelling or any water-sport adventures.”
In Curaçao, Chris and Carrie decided to take their Paralenz Dive Camera on a little field test. “We were going out with SubStation Curaçao, a purpose-built research submarine that takes out travellers when not in use. I strapped the Paralenz Dive Camera to the outside of the sub with a couple of cable ties. I didn’t modify it in any way. We went down to 540 feet for nearly two hours and it worked great – I couldn’t believe it was still picking up colour! The SubStation crew were so impressed they are now getting their own Paralenz Dive Cameras. Having a camera that logs the depth and temperature is incredibly important to their research, along with the fact that it only chewed through half the battery during a two-hour dive.”
We can’t wait to see where Carrie and Chris take their Paralenz Dive Camera next!
Follow the Adventure
“We’ve already met so many amazing people,” Chris says. “The diving community is close-knit and even though we’re just starting our journey, everyone’s been incredibly supportive of our project, which is great.”
The Dive Travelers are on the road until April 2019, and their book will be published with National Geographic in early 2020.