Paul's passion is to share the world hidden beneath the waves
I met Paul Shepherd on holiday in Zanzibar. I popped my head into The Rising Sun Dive Centre to enquire about dive courses for my kids. I was immediately struck by Paul’s enthusiasm. The day before, he had taken an 80 year old on her first dive; she had never let go of Paul throughout the dive, but when she emerged from the ocean she was grinning from ear to ear. And so was Paul as he told the story. It was clearly his greatest pleasure to share the underwater world with others. When I also noticed Paul’s wonderful diving photos, and his accreditations, I realised I was meeting someone special.
Inspired as a child by underwater documentaries, Paul started diving at 10. During his ‘gap year’ after school, he travelled to Zanzibar and became a Dive Master at the Rising Sun centre, then a Dive Instructor at ProDive in Florida. Whilst he took a degree in sports science at Southampton he worked for ProDive in Europe and taught diving in the UK. There was no question that diving was his life; before he was 30 he had dived on four continents, from South Africa to Malaysia, Turkey to the USA.
Zanzibar, however, remained special for him. He was offered part-ownership of Rising Sun, and he became the manager of the centre. It became the first National Geographic registered dive centre in East Africa, and accredited as a PADI 5* Gold Palm centre.
Paul was fortunate to have Alan James as a mentor. Alan is a brilliant under-water photographer, and Paul has inherited this spectacular hobby and teaches specialist courses in underwater photography and videography. He also teaches numerous other special courses for technical diving. Nonetheless, he still takes enormous pride from giving landlubbers their first experience of the undersea world, no matter how young or how old. Just sharing the colourful world under the sea is Paul’s passion.
In his first audio, 'Diving in Zanzibar' Paul shares his passion for diving, and tells us why Zanzibar is one of his favourite places in the world to dive.
Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 27 Oct 2010
Location: East Africa | Tanzania
Themes: skills and interests, natural world, travel | ocean