Thriving. Scenic. Diverse.
There are many ways to describe Seattle.
“The city with everything,” says Austin Falerios, a student at Divers Institute of Technology (DIT). It offers all the shopping, eating, and entertainment of big city life. And, as Austin describes, it is surrounded by “the most beautiful scenery you could ever imagine”.
“Lush”, says another student, Daniel Rosenberry. “There is water everywhere”.
A Different Type of Home
For Austin and Daniel, life in Seattle bares some similarity to their homes in California. Austin from Santa Margarita, says Seattle is like California, except the weather is better. “It’s not 100 degrees everyday.”
But for Derek Reeder, also a student at DIT, the differences were much more pronounced. He hails from Stephenville, Texas, the “cowboy capital of the world.” Cowboy hats and Wrangler jeans may be the standard for people in Stephensville. But in Seattle, he says, “you are more susceptible to meeting different people and being exposed to different cultures.”
Diversity here is the standard. Like his neighbor from Dubai. Not only has Derek gotten to know people from all over the country, by living off-campus, he has gotten to know people from all over the world.
Food for Every Appetite
New England has clam chowder. Texas has barbeque. Wisconsin has cheese. California has fish tacos. Every part of the country boasts their own cuisine unique to that region.
The Pacific Northwest is similar, in some ways. Seafood is very common. And fresh. But in Seattle, locals rave of more than just fresh crabs. They boast of diversity.
“Middle Eastern and Caribbean food is very popular”, says Derek Reader. But one of his favorite places is Uneeda Burger, featuring local, naturally grazed beef.
Austin prefers Sinbad’s, a Greek restaurant within walking distance of the school.
Then, of course, there’s the coffee. With Seattle being home to the first Starbucks, quality coffee is an important part of the city culture. Daniel appreciates the coffee. “It helps on the long days,” he says. “There are coffee joints on every corner or every block.”
Work and Food Combined: Diving for Seafood
Some students at DIT, who are already SCUBA certified, enjoy using their diving skills at mealtime. Daniel and fellow students go scuba-diving for their own crab “almost every weekend”.
Derek and his friends like to dive for their own shrimp and crawdads. According to Derek, they caught 30 shrimp in one day. To catch his dinner, Derek created his own trap using a pop bottle.
Getting Outdoors: Nature-Enthusiasts Heaven
In addition to trapping dinner, students enjoy scuba-diving for fun. On their excursions, divers often sight sea cucumbers, starfish, and harbor seals.
If they’re not exploring underwater, students will explore above water. Seattle is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Or those who just enjoy nature.
Surrounded by mountains and water, students can easily spend their weekends swimming, camping and hiking. Daniel explains that he and his friends often hike and “always try to find an adventure with some type of view at the end of the tunnel”. Which isn’t difficult to find.
The views and nature are his favorite things about Seattle. Even from the school, he says, “you can see mountains in the distance.”
Derek enjoys Steven’s pass, hot springs, and Gold Bar for more intense hikes and Rattlesnake Ridge for an easier hike. He also enjoys bouldering at Stone Gardens.
Austin prefers Twin Falls, where travelers are met by a beautiful waterfall at the end of their journey.
The Culture: Falling in Love with the City
And, if not exploring in nature, the city itself offers appealing cultural activities. Daniel likes to participate in the flea markets and U-district concerts.
Derek explains that “there is always something going on, something to look at, something to watch.” He attended the first annual ice cream festival. “I’m not the biggest fan of ice cream,” he says. “Until I got here.” The gelato won him over.
Seattle also offers fascinating museums. Austin praised the Chihuly Garden & Glass museum. And, Seattle’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle. “If Google recommended it, I’ve done it,” says Austin. He’s also visited America’s Car museum, the Tacoma Dome, and the Museum of flight.
The Waters: Preparing For Life As A Diver
Despite the beautiful scenery and exciting city life, Austin, Derek, and Daniel all moved to Seattle for one purpose: to train as commercial divers. And in terms of commercial diving training, Seattle prepares students in a way few places can.
“Before, I never had to worry about cold water or cloudy days. Once I got up here, the water was a little colder,” Derek explains.
“Cloudy days makes for less light penetration and less visibility. You have to be able to manipulate your vision to see what’s up in front of you. I think it’s good to be exposed to all the different environments before you get into the commercial dive world where it really matters,” says Derek.
According to Austin, “The cold water is better to perfect your diving. If you train in a worse environment than you need to compete in, you perform better.”
The visibility, typically on the poor end, differs day-to-day. But all students agree that the diving challenges presented in the waters around DIT have helped them hone their skills.
By training in less than perfect conditions, students learn not to always rely on seeing what their doing. But they learn to perform well in any conditions that might be present in real-life diving jobs.
Seattle: the city of life. No matter the background or preference, everyone can find something to love and appreciate about this exciting city, especially for those looking for adventure.
And when it comes to commercial diving training, there’s few places better to gain real-life experience.
Written by Beth Smith, Staff Writer for Water Welders.
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