Teresa Ann Zercher is a nurse leader for HCA Healthcare, where she holds the title of Director of Clinical Operations. Teresa Ann Zercher holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas and is also a Registered Nurse. Teresa Ann Zercher served as a Flight Nurse for 24 years and is now a retired Capt of the US Airforce. Teresa Ann Zercher joined the USAF in 1976, retiring in 2001 and reached the rank of Capt. Flight Nursing.

What is your hobby?

Scuba Diving

How did you get started with this hobby?

My husband and I have traveled to the Maui, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize, and Roatan starting back in 2010. We travel to one of the destinations about once a year. These were visited while we were on cruises over a span of a few years after we were married and since we both love these islands and the beautiful Caribbean waters, we decided to become certified divers so that we could see the beautiful reefs and ocean life up close instead of from a snorkelers view.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

When you are diving 40-90 feet as we do, you are able to connect to the amazing marine life in their habitats. Their colors are vibrant and alive. One could spend hours just watching an eel swim around it’s territory either in defense or in pursuit of prey. Unfortunately you can only spend a few minutes since the tank will only last 50 minutes. The stunning beauty of colorful corals captivate all who encounter their presence on the sea’s floor and or walls. The many species of fish frolic around either playing with each other or looking for food. For me there is the presence of my higher power and all his glorious creations in the perfect environment that was intended. The ocean debts offer peace and serenity. There is a mysterious underwater world to be discovered and each time I dive, I uncover another mystery.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

We took certified diving classes for approximately 3 weeks in Lakeway Texas. I have purchased a 3mm dive suit, fins, diving cap, regulator, diving goggles with a snorkel pipe attached. The cost of all of this equipment was $6,600.00 for two divers. We purchased the high end side of diving equipment so one could purchase everything possibly for about 2,000 or 2,500 per person. The diving shop who provided the open water training was $300.00 per person back in 2010. There are many options for training. The dive shops usually will discount your equipment if you buy from them.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

I currently shop at Tom’s Dive and Swim in Austin on Burnett street. They have anything you need for swimming, water boarding, diving, and much more.

How much money have you invested into this? How much would a beginner have to invest to get started?

Over the past 10 years, I have invented total over $7,000.00. A beginner really should concentrate on buying a good regulator which is your breathing device. Next is a good pair of googles with a snorkel and a dive suit for the type of waters you will be diving in. The diving shop employees are well versed in all aspects of diving equipment and diver’s needs.

Most dive shops on any of the islands will provide everything you need to dive except for the suit. My recommendation though is to buy your own personal regulator, goggles with snorkel and the BCD (buoyancy control device) if possible. They will charge you a fee for any equipment you rent anywhere from $20.00 – $50.00. You also must pay for your air tanks for a one or two tank dive. They are about $50 a tank. Each tank lasts about 50 minutes of diving. It depends what island you are on for diving fees. If you dive with the same shop for several days, they will reduce the cost of a tank of air. You can contact almost any dive shop in the Caribbean before you make your trip to find out what their fees are.

Many dive shops offer scuba diving training on the spot, and it may take a day or two depending upon where you are going to dive. If you are diving in 40-60 feet the class may be as short as one day. The thing to consider though is that it won’t be a full certified diving training course. The safest and best option is to be trained and certified by a licensed dive shop in the states.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Scuba Diving Guide on Amazon – by Jeffrey Pewitt

Dive Log Book: Diving Logbook for Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced Divers – Hayden Macfarland

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling for Dummies? Thrift books.com

Learn Scuba Diving in a Weekend – Thrift Books. Com

There many books available on Amazon that offer different types of information, training, and guidance. Just google “Scuba Diving Books” and you will find scuba diving books available to beginner divers as well.

Are there any online videos you recommend to help beginners?

The best place I found training videos are on YouTube. You also can google, “Scuba Diving Training Videos” and you will find many scuba videos available to all levels of divers.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Scuba diving has definitely made my husband and I more adventurous. Whenever we travel were always on the look out for new diving spots. It’s really quite a pleasure searching for new locations and finding breath taking underwater scenery. Even with diving, there is always an opportunity for excitement.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Educate yourself about the hobby before you decide to take the class and spend the money. Is it really for you? Many factors come into play such as your health, ability to clear your ears, remaining calm and rational in the various depths of the water, etc. Network with beginner, intermediate, and experienced divers. There are many blogs between divers.