Georgina Jones needs little or no introduction to the diving community – she is passionate about the underwater world and the creatures that can be found there and her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge with the local and international diving community knows no bounds. A true inspiration to us all 😀
Georgina’s contribution to the underwater world includes being a published author, underwater photographer, writer and contributor to hundreds of articles and books on marine life. She is a contributor and member of the Southern Underwater Research Group (SURG) and a dynamic driver behind the iSpot- SeaKeys initiative. Georgina is also a very active diver – in the water with her camera whenever the conditions allow! And in between all of this, she still managed to find time to tell us about her scuba diving experiences…
What level diver are you?
How old were you when you first qualified as a Scuba Diver?
Why did you learn to scuba dive?
Well… it was not something I had planned. I am claustrophobic and terrified of being trapped underwater, but one of my friends decided to learn and I thought I needed to go along to hold her hand… took me ages to feel comfortable with the gear but the first time I got underwater and saw the reef life, I fell in love. And, quite simply, that love has changed my life.
What is it that makes scuba diving so special to you?
The whole fantastic array of creatures which make up the underwater world, the way the lives interact, the fact that I have the chance of discovering previously unknown behaviours and interrelationships and species, the way that there’s a moment of grace for me in almost every dive where I feel a sense of connectedness to all these infinitely strange lives busy around me.
Tell us about the most memorable dive you have ever done?
Gosh. There isn’t just one… Atlantis Reef in False Bay is probably my best dive site of all time and all places… topography, creatures, this place has it all. But cavern diving on the Yucatan Peninsula was amazing also… crystal clean water and shafts of blue sunlight like fingers from heaven shining through the holes in the cavern roof… a deep dive I did in the Maldives down at 67m the water was an astonishing green blue and all the closer colours were clear and crisp .. Of course it was the narcosis (we were diving on air) but every sense was abnormally heightened. It was like a paradise underwater. A five minute paradise.
If you could be a marine animal, what would you be – and why?
Sheesh that’s a tough one. Blue whale? Humpback to find out why they sing? Bummer about the Japanese though… hmmmm. Red chested sea cucumber? Giving birth through pores on your skin? Maybe a starfish… one of the most alien intelligences we have on the planet? Octopus for the same reason… ja. Maybe in fact… cuttlefish. See with your skin, talk in colour… awesome.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you whilst scuba diving – tell us about it?
Well, it wasn’t funny to me, but everyone else shrieks over it 😉 … I was diving in southern Mozambique and inspecting one of those big anemones for the transparent shrimps when… Nemo bit me! On the cheek! It was jolly sore (and made a fantastic subcutaneous bruise rather like a love bite, which prompted more than my share of interested looks in the following days)…I looked up, clutching my cheek, and saw the dive master, the heartless bastard, laughing so much I thought (okay hoped) he might drown from it. Those clownfish are scary!
If you could choose anyone (non-divers included) to be your dive buddy, who would it be?
I like diving with Arne (Gething). He dives at about the same speed as me, is a useful wide angle lens from time to time and can be relied upon to find something interesting (and often funny) going on underwater. Plus, he’s good at spotting the small stuff I miss.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of doing a scuba diving course?
Find a good instructor you trust and do the fitness exercises they recommend as a backup.
If you could send just one important message to all scuba divers across the world, what would it be?
Take more notice of what you see around you underwater. It’s the most amazing and mysterious world. All of us acting together can slowly piece the story of ocean life together by observation. And pick up any plastic you see.
Georgina’s book A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula is the top selling book at Indigo Scuba – this is also our go-to book when we need to identify some of the many creatures we see on our dives in Gordon’s Bay. Next time you’re at Indigo Scuba, remember to get your copy if you haven’t one already!