I recently went on my very first science dive in the Florida Keys. This was a pretty big deal to me, since the process of preparing for this started about a year and a half ago. I’m a marine microbiologist, but spent the early part of my career studying the deep sea and ironically, I dove in the submersible Alvin years before my first SCUBA diving experience. I had a few occasions to snorkel in Bermuda, Grand Cayman, and Guam, but after I moved to Florida to start working on coral microbiology, it was clear that I needed to learn to SCUBA dive for science. (Although, it is pretty easy to get volunteers to collect samples for you, when the proper permits are in place!) The first step is to complete a standard open water course, followed by advanced open water, nitrox, first aid/cpr, and rescue diver training. I finished my AAUS science diver class last year, but didn’t have the chance to dive until finally this May. As a, shall we say, “mature” SCUBA diver, the AAUS science diver certification process was pretty challenging for me. I could probably tread water for a whole day, but I’m not a fast swimmer. Nevertheless, I persisted and it was well worth the effort. Check out some of the highlights from my dive below.