Doug came to Okinawa with the military in 1990 and has stayed ever since. With over 12,000 dives throughout Asia, his diving career has brought him from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to Hainan, China, Pemba island in Tanzania and back to Okinawa. Founding Reef Encounters in 1995 as a small shop to provide quality training for dedicated divers, he has been working full time in the dive industry for more than 20 years.
Doug holds diving certifications from NAUI, IANTD, PSI, and GUE and is certified to repair most brands of SCUBA equiment. Throughout his career Doug has introduced 1000's of divers to the underwater world. He has also worked as the Diving Safety Officer for numerous films and documentaries. Especially of interest is his participation in many television programs on the underwater structures of Yonaguni. Doug regularly leads our tours to Yonaguni to explore these structures and swim with the schooling hammerhead sharks found there in winter time. Doug's latest adventure including helping the BBC shoot video of the mysterious underwater circles in Amami Ojima island, and diving with Monty Hall exploring the ruins of Yonaguni.
In his spare time Doug explores the deeper reefs and caves around Okinawa. Recent explorations have concentrated on finding wrecks around the island. He got into technical diving back in the mid-90's when independent doubles were the norm, but since has progressed to the RB80 and other re-breathers. Using his extensive knowledge of Technical diving, Doug can show his students the advantages and disadvantages of numerous set-ups from DIR to NAUI Tech and more. Doug is our director of Technical training and offers classes from Intro to Tech to Trimix and Technical Wreck Penetration. Taking training from Doug you are learning from someone who has been there done that - with thousands of dives in his logbook many of them at the technical level his experience sets him apart form the many instructors that just took a quick class to become certified. His passion for everything underwater shows in all his classes.
A bit of a warning - Doug is not is not a morning person and a few years in the USMC has made him a bit rough around the edges but after a cup of coffee or two he is more than willing to help any diver learn the secrets of the underwater world.
Ai has joined us as the reservation clerk. If you have called us you have heard her cheerful voice getting you squared away for reservations, hotel bookings or anything else you need. Ai is also an avid diver and whenever she gets a chance joins us on a dive or will even lead divers at her favorite dive sites around the Onna area. Ai will also start working on her NAUI instructor rating in 2014. Ai is almost too happy in the morning - do not give her coffee she has enough natural energy that any extra caffiene can cause a overload of niceness and energy!!
Azu is of our most experienced instructors. Azu finished her NAUI instructor course with us and elected to stay on to explore Okinawa a bit. Azu brings here over 1500 dives of experience to her classes and dive tours. Azu is our expert at spotting the tiny critters such as nudi's and flat worms. One warning Azu likes to start her classes a bit late as she doesn't like to wake up early. She can be bribed with coffee - Starbucks is her favorite. If you see a very small Asian diver with doubles and a scooter its probably her as she is an avid tech diver also.
We are still setting up trips to Yonaguni to explore the monuments and great drift dives found there. You can contact our staff to book a det of dates or set up a custom tour. .
Get Certified at Reef Encounters!!
We are still offering certification classes weekly. Advanced classes also go weekly. Remember we have day, evening and weekend schedules available. Classes can be taught in English or Japanese.
Intro to Tech and the new NAUI Tech classes to include Technical Decompression Diver and Extreme Exposure Diver are also available monthly.
We are also headed back to Africa in August - so if you want to explore the wonders of Pemba and Zanzibar let us know. We can also arrange for a full blown land safari in Tanzania to see elephants, lions, rhino and more.