Doug came to Okinawa with the military in 1990 and has stayed ever since. With over 9000 dives throughout Asia, his diving career has brought him from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to Hainan, China 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 16 years.
Doug holds certifications from NAUI, IANTD, PSI, 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.
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 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 allows him to bring real world experinece to his classes.
Jim became a NAUI Worldwide instructor here at Reef Encounters. He loves to teach classes and lead dives. He is also a dedicated professional underwater photographer. You can learn various techniques and tips about taking pictures from him. Be prepared, he talks alot, especially about cameras!
Jim is also involved in our search for wrecks around Okinawa and is an fast becoming an expert on WWII history and shipping information around Okinawa. Jim is also our resident scooter expert as he racks up hours on his Cuda X-scooter exploring the near shore (and not so near shore) areas around Okinawa. Jim is also an avid tech diver with numerous Tech certifications from NAUI including Technical Nitrox, Deco Techniques, and Heliair.
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.
Jimmy joined Reef Encounters in the spring and has jumped right in as our lead Scuba Diver Instructor and has been busy certifiying new divers every week out on the seawall. He is also teaching Advanced and Rescue classes on a regular basis. Outside of work Jimmy is and avid tech diver and is working on his full Trimix certification. Jimmy is also helping teach intro to Tech and basic tech diving skills to our new tech diving clients. Jimmy also is fluent in Japanese both written and spoken!!
After spending a year wandering the outback of Australia Toyo has rejoined the Reef Encounters Team. Toyo along with being a dive instructor is an avid surfer and worked for years as a lifeguard up in Chiba (outside Tokyo). Toyo also has his captains liscense and is practicing to take over as the lead captain of the Reef Encounter I. He is also pursuing his tech diving certiifications and has started his Tech training here at Reef Encounters upon returning from Australia.
Toyo's favorite dive sites are Kuef, Twin Rocks, and Ariga Cable.
Chris started his professional diving career at Reef Encounters in 2005 and received his NAUI Instructor Certification at the beginning of 2007. Chris also trained through NAUI Tech in Pensacola, FL to recieve Technical Diving certifications that include Decompression Techniques, Advanced EANx, and Helitrox. After teaching and guiding dives for Reef Encounters Chris has moved back to Arizona where his family and wife keep him busy but he still gets out and dives a quite a bit.
Kumi is from the coldest area of Japan - Hokkaido. She learned to dive in the Izu Penninsula after doing an intro dive in Okinawa. Kumi joined the Reef Encounters team to learn more english and to complete her NAUI Instructor training. She is a great cook and enjoys singing karaoke in her spare time. Up until now, her best dive experience was in Hokkaido where she saw sea lions.
NEW Wreck Dives!!
Our efforts at finding and diving new wrecks around Okinawa have finally paid off with mooring lines installed on the our newest wreck off the port of Naha. Come explore this new very large wreck with the wreck experts on Okinawa.
Yonaguni Trips for 2013.
We have two trips scheduled for Yonaguni this year: Jan 24 and Feb 12. You can come for 3 -7 days depending on how many dives you would like to do. Contact us now for reservations. Depending on interest we may add a trip in March.
New Scooter Fleet and Double Tanks have Arrived!
Our new fleet of Cuda 650 scooters have arrived and we have been running them through their paces on the reefs and wrecks surrounding Okinawa. Our new advanced scooter classes will be starting soon. We also now have over 8 complete doubles set ups and 40cuft deco cylinders added to our rental fleet. Backplates and double wings
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.
Also Reef Encounters is hiring instructors and DM's email Doug for more info!!!