Citizen Science Testimonials

Sze Wei Ku
Longdon, England
Diving 14 years

Why did you start diving?

I wanted to see what was underneath the water. When I saw it, it was like an alien world - like another planet. Everything works differently. I was hooked and wanted to learn more.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I wanted to go on a Citizen Science Expedition on manta rays.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

I learned a lot more about mantas. The Citizen Science part makes the trip more interesting. You get to learn by doing and seeing versus books. And it's great to have someone to talk you through things. It's good for conservation.

 

Claudio Conteras-Koob
Mexico City, Mexico
Diving 30 years

Why did you start diving?

When I was 4 years old I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist. During my training we had terrible conditions, but I still loved it.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

To take photos and video in Socorro

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

It's splendid. Science is so foreign to most people. The people who decide what direction to take the world need to know about science. If they don't know, they can make decisions that are not based on science. This type of program is a good way to translate scientific knowledge to people can make good decisions about our environment.

 

Micah Rowland
Seattle, WA
Diving 7 Years-ish

Why did you start diving?

I grew up in the midwest but my parents always loved the ocean. There were always shells and ocean decorations around the house. It was my dream to one day scuba dive.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

To help Dr. Rubin with his Manta Research and photo identification of the animals

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

It's so important for people to see things that pictures can't even describe. The program is a good start. It helps us to see what we can do to help. It makes people ask what can I do to make a difference or what advocacy they can become involved. The next step is to combine this with politics to make a difference like contacting your local legislators. We need to protect these amazing places.

 

Jay Clue
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Diving 7 Years - over 5,000 dives!

Why did you start diving?

I booked a trip to the Canary Island and there was nothing to do there ... except dive. I took a class and I was hooked.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

It sounded interesting.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

Diving and learning is a cool combination. I wish we had more trips like this one. I really like to learn as then I can pass it onto my students as a (dive) instructor.

Todd Kortte
Los Angeles, California
Diving 21 years

Why did you start diving?

I started diving 21 years ago when I lived in Florida. Then I moved to Los Angeles ten years ago and I didn’t like the cold water. But I missed the ocean and the marine life so I started again two years ago and I’ve been diving regularly ever since.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I saw a presentation on the Citizen Science program at the Scuba Show in Long Beach in June and I was really interested in it. This was the first opportunity I had to come on a trip.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

The Citizen Science Program is an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. As an example, Gerardo (Dr. Gerardo Gonzalez Barba) I have a new appreciation for the landscape of the islands both above and below the waterline. The Sea of Cortez was formed millions of years ago and we learned about the different rocks, the lava flows and about what the different colors mean. These are all things that I never imagined as a scuba diver.

The Quino is a very special boat that will serve a big purpose. It really has the potential to make a big difference. I also really like the way it ties in with COBI and the education and development of the fishing communities throughout the Sea of Cortez.

 

Cindy Clements
Marin, California
Diving for 36 years

Why did you start diving?

I always knew that I wanted to do it the moment I saw my first episode of Sea Hunt.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I wanted to come back to the Sea of Cortez … it is my favorite place to dive. I had a great experience diving on the Rocio Del Mar; it’s a great company and I really like that their crew is Mexican.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

I like the idea of being able to go on vacation and come back with more information about the location.

 

Dave Glasco
Austin, TX
Diving for 15 years

Why did you start diving?

I always wanted to do it.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

My good friend and dive buddy, Baird, asked me to go!

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

I’d love to go on a trip with a marine biologist and learn more about the animals.

 

 

Omar Zapata
Meridia, Yucatan, Mexico
Diving for 16 years

Why did you start diving?

I started diving because I’ve always loved the sea.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I went to Socorro on the Rocio Del Mar last year and it touched me. I always wanted to go to the Sea of Cortez and when I heard there was space on the Quino I jumped on it!

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

Citizen Science offers a different experience and it’s a way to get people involved in the ocean. It’s also a way for me to be even more involved with the sea.

I enjoyed having Gerardo (Dr. Gerardo Gonzalez Barba) on board and learning about how the geology relates to the Sea of Cortez.

I look forward to learning more about the Sea of Cortez … more about the animals, the importance of the krill and why some parts of the sea are clear and others are not.

 

Frank Perez
Puerto Rico
Diving 12 years

Why did you start diving?

I went on a cruise and saw that they offered scuba diving. When I went home I decided I wanted to try it so I took a class. I’ve been diving ever since.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I did a trip to Socorro on the Rocio Del Mar. In fact, I am going again this December! The Sea of Cortez has been on my bucket list so I was excited to see it was available on the Quino.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

I really like the idea of the Citizen Science program. In Puerto Rico, there are no fish left. There are too many fisherman and people don’t care about the laws because they don’t understand them. I think programs like Citizen Science will help to make people more aware about the human impact and how to fish responsibly so the same thing doesn’t happen in other places.

 

Hector Truijillo
Tijuana, Mexico
Diving 37 years

Why did you start diving?

I used to watch Jacques Cousteau on TV and always wanted to do it but I had asthma and was told I couldn’t dive. I went to Aruba on vacation and did a resort course. It was amazing! I was hooked!

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I work with the Secretary of Tourism for Baja California. My goal is to develop diving as a major tourist activity for Baja. I came on this trip to learn more about the Sea of Cortez and the Citizen Science program.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

It’s fantastic! I love the study of geology and scientific disciplines. It’s tough for many Mexicans and Citizen Science is a way to show the benefits of science. It is my hope that we will be able to find ways to send more students from Baja California to the Sea of Cortez to do science projects.

 

Phillip Ma
Beijing, China (Currently student in Canada)
Diving for 2 years

Why did you start diving?

I always wanted to see marine life and the best way to do that was to get certified. Though I’ve only been diving for 2 years, I have over 300 dives. I love it!

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I went on the Rocio Del Mar to Socorro in February. When I saw that this trip was available on the Quino, I jumped on it because I really wanted to dive with sea lions.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

I’ve always liked documentaries. The Citizen Science program is like being in a documentary.

Additional Question: Since the interviewer knew that Phillip has done a lot of diving in Asia, she wanted to know what he thought about the sea life he saw and how it compared to his other travels. This is what he said:

This trip was beyond my expectations! I have seen whale sharks in Malaysia and twice in the Philippines. Because they feed them in the Philippines, you get really close. But here, in the Sea of Cortez, I got to see them in a completely natural environment. It was the best experience I have ever had!

 

Joseph Backer
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Diving for 14 years

Why did you start diving?

I originally started diving in 1976 in Russia because it was exotic. Then life got very busy with my work and family. I tried it again 14 years ago when I had some free time and fell in love with it like never before.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I wanted to go on a nice trip but I didn’t want to travel a long way. Most destinations and liveaboards mean flying for two days there and two days home. Then I heard about the Sea of Cortez and it only takes one day of travel each way. I absolutely loved it. I loved the strong currents and the sea lions were very nice. If I lived on the West Coast, I’d go there every two weeks!

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

As a fellow scientist, I appreciate the social and business benefits of the Citizen Science program. People are the most important part of life and it gives us the opportunity to connect to people we may not otherwise have met.

 

Carlos Gurrola
San Miguel De Allende, Mexico
Diving for 36 years

Why did you start diving?

While I was studying at university, a fellow group of students were doing it and I wanted to try it. I got certified 26 years about at the YMCA. This is the first time I’ve been diving in 15 years.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I had planned another trip to Panama and at the last minute it got cancelled. I went to the internet and found this trip. I was in the Sea of Cortez 25 years ago. I loved all of the fish and enormous amount of life.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

Citizen Science is a great idea with very good intent. It is a program for the future. Citizen Science can help us as people to understand about the environment and animals and how to preserve it and, hopefully, bring it back. I especially like the idea of COBI because it gets the community, most especially the women and children, to participate in the program of conservation.

 

Baird Green
Tucson, Arizona
Diving 12 years

Why did you start diving?

I loved snorkeling in Hawaii. Then I went to Australia and a friend of mine said I should learn to scuba dive. He said I could say down longer and see more stuff. I took a class and I’ve been diving ever since.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I went to Socorro on the Rocio Del Mar 7 years ago and I always wanted to come back. In the meantime, I had become a Divemaster at a local dive store but I got burned out because diving became all about work. I wanted to do some fun diving. I contacted the RDM to see what was available but they were booked. They told me about the Quino and I immediately booked it. I brought my friend and dive buddy, Dave, with me, too.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

As a diver, I like the idea that people like me can get more out of diving. I enjoy learning more about the environment and this knowledge adds to my quality of life. It gives diving a more significant meaning. It really is fun with a cause!

 

Andy Westin
Mundelein, Illinois
Diving for 57 years

Why did you start diving?

That’s right – I learned how to dive 57 years ago. A bunch of guys in high school wanted to learn and so did I. Then life got in the way but I always wanted to do it. Three years ago I saw an ad by Learn Scuba Chicago. I learned in a local quarry, then dived in the Bahamas and I fell in love with it. Now I do 3 to 4 trips a year plus my local diving.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I went on an Explore Baja trip on the Rocio Del Mar. I had such a great time that when I saw this trip was available with the Citizen Science program, I jumped on it. I always wanted to be a marine biologist!

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

There are so many people that have an interest in science. So often unique experiences like this are really expensive but on the Quino it is totally within reach. With the Citizen Science Program, people will get a chance to be with real scientists on real expeditions. I got to become friends with Gerardo (Dr. Gerardo Gonzalez Barba) and I learned some really cool things.

 

Dr. Gerardo Gonzalez Barba
Leon Guana Juato, Mexico
Diving for 30 years

Why did you start diving?

I learned to dive when I was a student in ’86. I was born in a city surrounded by hills. When I was 9, my grandfather took me camping to the beach. I was greatly impacted by the charm of the seal. I fell in love with the ocean.

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I am a research specialist in paleontology (fossils) and geology of the peninsula. I collect bones from whales, dolphins, sea lions and other animals throughout Baja California. A colleague recommended me to Dora to participate in a Quino El Guardian Citizen Science trip. And here I am! This is an amazing experience to share my passion with others and see that same passion light up within them.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

Citizen Science is a unique way for scientists and people to interact and share a common passion. It is an opportunity to share experiences and stories and even create a story for the group. This week became an unforgettable memory … we became a family. It was my hope to give people a different way to look at things and to show that you truly part of something bigger than yourself.

 

Susan Long
San Diego, California
Diving for 34 years

Why did you start diving?

Believe it or not, I learned to dive at 18 and didn’t like it at all. I just felt like a “fish out of water”. Luckily I tried it again 10 years later in Bonaire and had a blast. I’ve been diving ever since and really enjoy diving in all types of environments … I just love the critters!

What brought you on this trip aboard Quino?

I’ve dived the Sea of Cortez aboard the Rocio Del Mar 3 times. I was really excited at the opportunity to dive the Quino El Guardian, her sister ship, and experience the Citizen Science Program.

Your thoughts on the Citizen Science Program:

Divers love diving and more than that, they love a purpose. The Citizen Science Program allows divers to work side by side with scientists to learn more about sea animals, the environment and how they work together. Divers can then take that information back and share it with others. I have never seen anyone a better guardian of the sea than a diver. The Citizen Science Program takes that stewardship to a whole new level.