7 Questions - Mike Wheatley, Owner of Brisbane Dive Academy

2nd June 2012   |   Jackie Hutchings

1. As founder of the Brisbane Dive Academy, what is your vision for the the business?

I want to see Brisbane Dive Academy grow into one of the most well known and professional dive operations in Australia, with highly trained and capable staff who are willing and able to help with all kinds of diver training

2. What’s been the most challenging part of your personal dive training?

That’s a tough question, I have always found diving quite easy and it is something that I have just been able to pick u

p. Probably the biggest challenge was the Course Director Training Course, and it wasn’t so much the content but rather the calibre of divers you were surrounded by.

3. What was your best dive ever and why?

There are 2 which are pretty close but the best one I think is one I did in Southern New South Wales 15 years ago at a dive site called the Arch.  On the day it was a cool Autum morning with absolutely no wind and dead flat seas which you need to dive this site from shore.

We desended down to 25m and swam through the Arch, stopping to have a look at all the little shrimp in the roof of the swim through, filling up the bubble cave with fresh air and having a quick chat before continuing the dive.

On the bottom, there were large Wobbegong sharks and massive bull rays.  As we continued the dive around the wall leading into Bushrangers Bay, there were Eastern Blue groupers, Nudibranchs and some big pelagic fish swimming by.

Visability on the day was around 20-25m, it was quite cool but not uncomfortable.  It was a great dive and one of my first big long dives.

4. Tell us your funniest dive story!

Well, I was on a trip in PNG (Papua New Guinea) and totally unused to having someone put all of my gear together for me.  However, by the end of the trip, I got pretty used to it but, on this occasion, I had my gear assembled and air on.  However,  our thoughtful guides turned it off while I was getting into my wetsuit . . .

Being self sufficient, I put my gear on with no assistance and, since we were going to 40m, orally inflated my BCD, checked my gauges and in the water I went.   Now, in PNG, you don’t need a wetsuit so, as you could imagine, I was less buoyant than usual.

When the time came to descend, I took a breath, dumped my air from my BCD and then proceeded to grab my regulator (which was something I have done 1000’s of times).  After taking one breath, I realised my air wasn’t on and, because these weren’t the usual tanks I used, I couldn’t reach the valve.  I am now at 30m!

As luck would have it my buddy (who thankfully was a DM) spotted my ‘out of air’ signal and turned my tank on ….

Lesson here is always be nice to your buddy and do your buddy checks!!!!!

5. You can only do one more dive. What would it be and why?

I would want to dive the San Francisco Maru, it is a dive site that I have heard about and seen pictures of but haven’t quite had the chance to do it yet

6. If money were no object, what would you do?

I would buy a massive superyacht and travel the world diving everywhere,

7. What would be your top 3 tips for anyone thinking of learning to dive?

Make sure you are ready to have fun, buy your own gear (it will be more comfortable) and keep diving!


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