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 18 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's latest adventure including helping the BBC shoot video of the mysterious underwater circles in Amami Ojima island. 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.
A bit of a warning - Doug is another of our instructors that 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.
Daisake came to Reef Encounters after completing a Divemaster course in Australia. He completed his NAUI instructor course with Reef Encounters in the spring of 2013 while working as a DM with us. Daisake has taken over teaching many of the scuba diver and advanced classes- while still leading dives throughout the island. Daisake is quite a morning person and quite happy any time of day!
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!!
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.
Instructor Training for 2014
Reef Encounters will be starting its first block of instructor training this January. If you are already a certified diver and want to be an instructor now is the time to start that training. Divers who meet the qualifications can be teaching by this spring. Newly certifed divers may be able to complete divemaster training by spring time and be guiding divers on trips come the spring time. Is it time to start that new career?
Yonaguni Trips for 2014.
We still have seats for the last scheduled shark trip of 2014 available the last week of Feb. Contact us ASAP for reservations. Depending on interest we may add a trip in March.
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!!!