Hi, I’m Stefan Andrews and It’s a huge honor to introduce myself as the Australasian Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society Rolex Scholar for 2013/14. I’ve just returned home to Australia after attending the Scholarship Society’s annual meeting weekend in New York where I was absolutely blown away as Megan Cook, Oscar Svenson and Yolly Bosiger presented their inspirational end of year videos at the prestigious New York Yacht club (click their name to watch their videos).
I also had the privilege to meet the new North American scholar Jeff Hester and European scholar Chloé Maréchal who joined me in a visit to the Rolex headquarters on Fifth avenue. Rolex believe in the spirit of adventure and exploration and have been a supporter of the scholarship for almost forty years. I’m so thankful for their support into what is undoubtedly going to be a life changing year ahead.
Working in the diving industry has put me in touch with a wide variety of people who have strongly influenced the big decisions in my life. This year is undoubtedly going to take that to a whole new level by connecting me with some of the most influential, passionate and dedicated professionals in their underwater related field. I have never been more ready to make the most of this unique opportunity that has been offered to me, and I look forward to sharing this life changing experience with you through my YouTube channel, instagram, twitter, and of course this blog.
After my whirlwind trip to the states, I visited the PADI headquarters in Sydney to meet the PADI Asia Pacific Director, Marketing & Business Development, Danny Dwyer. We talked about the diving industry in general and I was shown around the different departments as I was introduced to the team, including the young guns in the social media department responsible for the PADI Facebook Page with over 600,000 followers. There are three head offices in the world and each take turns in 8 hour shifts to run the page 24/7. They share fascinating diving photos every day, so if you’re not a fan already they’re guaranteed to liven up your news feed.
It felt like a dream as I wandered around the Tabata Australia warehouse picking out all of my new diving gear. As I will be diving all over the world this year, I need to be prepared for all conditions so I ended up with a wide variety of gear including a D1 Hybrid wetsuit by Waterproof. Having grown up diving the cool temperate waters of Australia but having never tried a drysuit, I’m especially excited to try this out! Huge thanks to David Balsom and Tusa for kitting me up.
Sydney is best known for the iconic harbor bridge and opera house, but what most people don’t realise is the local waters offer some fantastic diving with a variety of tropical and temperate species and easily accessible dive sites. My first dive ever in New South Wales was at Chowder Bay near Manly, a muck dive loaded with a huge diversity of marine species including playful octopus, cute cuttlefish, stunning seahorses, morey eel’s and much more. This dive was a fantastic opportunity to start playing around with my new camera setup, a Sony NEX-5R in a Nauticam housing with twin Sola 1200 lights sponsored by Ryan Canon of Reef Photo & Video http://www.reefphoto.com
While I was in Sydney, I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Dave Thomas at Pro Dive Manly. Dave has been diving and servicing equipment for years and is an expert in the field. He was able to share with me valuable information about equipment servicing, maintenance and repair which may come in especially handy throughout my travels in the upcoming year.
Stay tuned as I head to Port Lincoln in South Australia to spend some time with film crews aboard the Princess II with Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions in search of what I consider one of the most majestic yet misunderstood animals on this planet, the great white shark.