It’s pretty safe to say that 2020 wasn’t the year anyone was expecting.
You might have read on my social media a couple of weeks ago, I have been cleared to dive! This has come about after my concussion from a surfing accident six months ago. It’s been a long (and at times really frustrating) recovery as I learnt how to let myself rest, things I didn’t realise and probably one of my biggest questions was “how would it affect my diving?”
So I thought I would share with you my journey over the last six months, including my injury, my rehabilitation and things to be aware of when returning to diving.
Already this year has been a whirlwind adventure as I learn how to balance my GUE NextGen Scholarship, my full-time job and now world-wide pandemic. Just like you, I am missing the outdoors, the chance to get salty and see my ocean friends but on the positive side, I have been able to get through my to-do list - the one that I seemed to never get through. For this blog I want to share with you my job when I am not diving and it's a chance to show you what it is like underwater in New Zealand through 360 videos that a FREE for everyone to view. Make sure you check them out!
Jumping into the deep end (quite literally!) to kick off the scholarship year and the new decade, the first course I undertook as the NextGen Scholar was the GUE Recreational Diver 3 course (Rec 3). This is a limited decompression course designed to teach advanced diving skills to prepare divers to use decompression cylinders and breathe helium-based gas mixtures. For this course our maximum depth is 39m/130ft. This course is perfect to get me ready for the year ahead, full of upcoming diving adventures.
Before the scholarship year, I knew I wanted to do my Technical Diver 1 (Tech 1) and Cave Diver 1 (Cave 1), but in all honesty, I didn’t really know much about the recreational courses. I did my fundamentals course within my first twenty dives in 2014 and gained my technical pass the following year. My scholarship mentor suggested the Rec 3 as a really good stepping stone for Tech 1 and a perfect way to start the scholarship year.
I recently got my first taste of everything when I headed over to America to be introduced as the Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) inaugural NextGen Scholar! Over the last week I have been attending the GUE Conference in High Springs, Florida - listening to all of the inspiring speakers and getting to know this amazing community. This was my first time in America and this has added to my excitement of what is to come over the next year.
The start of my journey as the 2019 GUE NextGen Scholarship has begun and what an incredible week it has been! You’ll be able to follow all my adventures on this blog, the GUE NextGen Scholar Facebook page and my instagram @annika_andresen.
The ocean is an integral part of my life. I was fortunate to have been raised on a yacht my father built and spent my summers sailing and diving along the East Coast of the North Island, New Zealand with my family.
I began working in the marine industry in 2013 as a deck hand and snorkel guide for Dive Tutukaka during my semester breaks from University. Whilst there, I completed my PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and gained a technical pass in the GUE Fundamentals course. You can read more about my background and early experiences underwater in my interview with In-Depth here.
Being selected as the 2019 Global Underwater Explorers NextGen scholar is an incredible opportunity that I am honoured to share with you all. The range of wonderful experiences this life around the water has given me, has made me determined to share these experiences with the people around me, working to build an awareness and understanding around issues facing our ocean whilst igniting a sense of wonder with what lies below the surface.
These are my goals that I would like to focus on throughout the scholarship year: