The name's Drew Stillman and I've lived in and around the ocean my whole life. A native California, I've been snorkeling and skin diving as long as I can remember. Growing up with a father that used to be a scuba instructor himself and a mother that is a certified diver, it was only a matter of time before I joined the club. It was the summer before my 14th birthday, I had done some snorkeling while on vacation with my parents in Hawaii when my father asked if I would like to try scuba diving, up for a challenge and just curious I accepted. It wad like nothing I had ever experienced, frightening, exciting, challenging and relaxing all at the same time. I remember wishing the dive would never end, that somehow I could just stay down here. As soon as we got back to California I enrolled in an open water scuba diver course and was certified as a junior open water diver.
Flash forward 9 years and though I was still a ocean baby at heart, with school, jobs family, friends and life scuba had taken a back seat. Even after achieving a BA in Digital Media and freelancing add a graphic artist and designer there seemed to be something missing. Another 4 years go by when a trip to my parents in the spring changed the direction for everything. A photograph from my childhood, blurry and out of focus as it was, my father and I in the water with the widest smile I'd seen on my face in a long time. Suddenly remembering the feeling, the weightlessness and how everything was new, scuba diving is like seeing the world through new eyes, and I wanted to capture that feeling once again. The advanced diver course at Eco Dive Center was the start of my journey back to that place, in search of that feeling.
Soon affer completing my advanced course I found myself hooked. The more I dove, the more I remembered about how much I loved the sport as well as cultivating my love for the environment, both above and below sea level. I couldn't stop, and before I knew it I had gone from advanced, to rescue to Divemaster. I love the community and culture of diving, what it represents and the great people that are involved in it, and that's what I want others to experience from it as well. Coaching, helping others to explore and expand their knowledge not only of our oceans and environments, but how we as individuals interact and learn from it as well. That's what drove me to be an instructor. To open up the world and your mind.