Most of the messages we've had so far have been greetings from family and friends who didn't want to post a public comment, but wanted us to know they had visited The Right Blue. Other messages actually have been questions, which we have answered privately (as long as the questioners left an email address).
Some of the questions we get reflect curiosity about who we are and how we got to travel to so many places and do all these dives. One questioner asked it this way:
"How do you get to go to all these places? Are you independently wealthy or something?"Independent, yes; wealthy, no.
Joking aside, please realize first that the stories and photos we feature here represent decades of diving experiences. As we explain on our About page, The Right Blue is essentially a memoir of our thousands of dives, so many of our stories are about events that happened quite a while ago. Indeed, we really did go to all those places, but we did so over a long period of time.
I should mention as well that we both did international work for most of our careers. Naturally that entailed a lot of travel, plus several stints of living overseas for years at a time. Some of the places we've dived may seem exotic, but they were relatively near to where we were living during a certain period, not halfway around the world. Many of our dive trips actually were tagged onto the end of business trips. In fact, we came to be quite well known for doing that!
Another question we have been asked repeatedly is whether we are instructors of either diving or underwater photography. The answer to both those questions is "no." Over the years we have coached many new divers and photographers, but we have never taught diving or photography in a formal way, nor do we intend to. We'll leave the teaching to the very well qualified folks who do that for a living.
Although we never pursued instructor training, we both are divemasters. We decided to get our divemaster licenses not because we wanted to work as divemasters or dive guides, but because it made our lives easier when we traveled to dive, especially after I began taking pictures underwater.
As a rule, underwater photographers do not like to dive with groups. For one thing, photographers like to move along at their own pace (and sometimes that means staying in one spot for the entire dive). Also, groups of divers are likely to scare off some of the critters the photographer wants to shoot, and they can stir up silt and sand, blow a lot of bubbles, or accidentally swim into the background of a scene at the wrong moment -- all of which can end up spoiling a shot.
It is customary for dive centers and charter boats all over the world to take divers in small groups to see the underwater sights, led by a qualified guide, for safety reasons. We discovered, however, that most operations will allow divers who are licensed instructors or divemasters in their own right to go off on their own if they wish, following a single check-out dive to verify skill level and familiarity with conditions. The reasoning is that if you are officially qualified to manage or train other divers, then you must be qualified to look after yourself. (In many cases, this boils down to a liability question.)
We went through divemaster training as a means to an end: We wanted to be able to manage our own dives if we wished to, regardless of where we were in the world. As it turned out, it opened other doors for us as well, but independence was the real reason we became divemasters.