Born in Vancouver, I grew up on the lower mainland until grade six, when the family moved to Armstrong in the interior. My fondest memories from my childhood were the ones focused around the ocean and forests around my grandparents home on Vancouver Island. I joined the militia (the primary reserves) in 1999 and volunteered to deploy to Bosnia the following spring. Nothing like a NATO deployment to bring a kid out of his shell and get some real world experience! After that I held a series of “joe” jobs before going to Wainwright on a long running set of contracts with the army working as a full time reservist.
In 2004, I undertook the PADI Open Water course with the Buffalo Divers club on the base in Wainwright. We dove in a dark prairie lake with the somewhat ironic name Clear Lake. After that I sort of let it drop off. Three years later I was sitting in the “FOB” on exercise preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and trying to figure out what I’d do on my leave block during deployment. My friend Jessica had reminded me I was a diver, and shortly after I acquired an issue of Sport Diver featuring Bali. I was sold instantly. 2008 saw me dust off my skills and hit the water with Bali Scuba, earning my PADI Advanced Open Water qualification and a handful of specialties. At that point it became obvious that diving was the way forwards for me!
After returning from Afghanistan I was unemployed, bored and restive. My tour had been less than satisfactory and I wanted more. Unable to organize commercial dive training funds in a timely fashion, I picked up a rifle again and went back to Afghanistan. This time I was in Zhari district, attached to the troops of 1-12 Infantry from the US Army. During leave I returned to Bali and completed PADI Rescue Diver and Divemaster courses in what I suspect was a record breaking amount of time. Looking forward to future diver work possibilities, I enrolled in BMSC’s Scientific Diver course while still in theatre and came up with a plan for the post tour period. I’m currently running the show here, writing as a contributor for ScubaDiverLife.com, and available as a freelance commercial and research diver.
My favourite part about diving, aside from the sheer joy of it, is photography. An underwater camera has been as essential part of my kit for some time now and I love the challenge of getting a good shot. Identifying the fish and invertebrates afterwards is fun as well and has swollen my bookshelves with books on marine life. The other activities I involve myself in are a mix of nerd hobbies, reading, swimming, shooting and when the spirit takes me, drawing. I also watch too much History and Discovery channel on tv.
- 30m Restricted Inshore Surface Supply Diver
- 40m Unrestricted Occupational Scuba Diver
- Occupational NitrOx Diver/Gas Blender 22-40%
- PADI: Divemaster, Master Scuba Diver
- PADI Specialties: Deep, Enriched Air/NitrOx, Night, Digital Underwater Photography, Wreck, Underwater Naturalist
- CAUS: Scientific Diver Level 2 (Canadian Association for Underwater Science)
All photos and posts are © Graeme A. Barber unless otherwise noted, all other materials are used with permission. coldwaterdiver.net is a part of GB DiveWorks, my sole-proprietorship.