PEOPLE IN THE KNOW: MICHIGAN MERMAID
Sunday, June 17, 2018

NAME: Leona King 

BUSINESS: Emanuel Lutheran School 
Previously at Capital City Scuba 
 
POSITION:  Lunch Lady/ Daycare Worker
Previously a Scuba Sales Associate
 
If you could be any sea creature what would that be and why?
A dolphin! They are fun, curious, playful creatures, just like me. Other than that, I'm kind of a mermaid already. 
 
How did you become interested in scuba diving?
It's something I've always wanted to do ever since I can remember. I have always been fascinated with the ocean and marine life. When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist. So in 2014, when we were going on a family vacation to Hawaii, my mom decided to buy my dad scuba classes for his birthday. Well, the rest of us joined in too.  It was my dad, mom, brother, and myself. We took the pool and classroom segment with Capitol City Scuba in Lansing, MI who were awesome to work with. Then we did our open water certifications in Kauai at Seasport Divers. So happy I took the plunge. 

What is the difference between diving in a lake and an ocean? Which do you prefer?
So many differences. First, would probably be buoyancy, you will float much easier in the ocean, so it requires wearing more weight on the body to get under the water, but that can also be evened out with a smaller thickness in wetsuit. Another difference is temperature, with them both varying greatly based on location, among other factors. You'll also see different water life, corals, shipwrecks depending on where you dive. Wooden shipwrecks don't survive long in the ocean due to the salt and creatures that eat the wood, but they last in lakes if preserved and respected by divers. That's why The Great Lakes have the oldest, largest, preserved sunken wooden ships in the world, and the few I've seen, are amazing.
I prefer ocean diving for the dive sights, marine life (including sharks), temperature, buoyancy, and I just love the salt life. Oh and night diving in the ocean takes on a whole new perspective, super cool. 
 
Who was your mentor and what advice made you the dedicated person you are today?
I have had many mentors in my life, I can't give credit to just one or two people. I've been blessed to have many professionals helping me along and giving me advice. As far as scuba di goes, I could never have pushed myself as far as I have without the help of the owners and employees, who are also my friends, at Capitol City Scuba.

If you were a sailboat , where would you start, what would you see and where would you stop before your next adventure?
Hmmmm this one is interesting. I think I'd  start in Florida and sail to the Caribbean because I love that ocean. I'd go everywhere. Greece, Thailand, Fiji, Maldives, Bora Bora, Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, just everywhere. I want to see the world. I love to experience different cultures and meet different people. It opens up a whole new level of thinking and compassion. That's how I feel about the depths of the water too. I wish everyone could experience it. 
 
What was the scariest time while working or playing in your field?
There have been a few times, but once, I was learning to dive drysuit, ran out of air and couldn't inflate on the surface so I started to get dragged down and had to be rescued. My instructors had to manually inflate my Buoyancy Control Device (BCD ) and tow me back to shore. It was quite embarrassing, though not completely my fault, and now a funny story. Another time was on a dive trip, and I was not at all prepared for what a high-speed drift dive entails. It was one of the top 50 dives in the world, called the Washing Machine in Bahamas. It's very fast, and when you enter the water, you go straight down and take off with the current, and at a certain point, you get tossed around like in a washing machine. That was pretty cool. The whole dive was cool, but I wasn't ready for a dive like that. I did what I was supposed to, and I was fine, but I was terrified. 
 
If you were a CEO of a “change agent” company, what would you strive to change about the world on a global level?
Pollution I think. It's horrible how we treat our planet and our oceans. I'd love to encourage everyone to help, no matter how small. Small actions can have huge impacts. If you see trash, please pick it up, and dispose of it properly. If we all take more care to not litter, and to pick up garbage we see, the results can be amazing. Also to recycle, that may be even more important, as it massively reduces landfills. Just about every piece of trash, not properly disposed of, will eventually end up in the oceans or our fresh water sources. I think we'd probably all like to see our cities and communities a little cleaner, we can, and we have the power to do it, ourselves.
 
If you could select one celebrity to be an advisor to your “change agent” company, who would that be?
No idea really. I'd have to know more about them and their views. What they advocate for and what they stand against. I think it would be someone that is either a surfer or a diver though, for a deeper understanding of the cause. 
 
Finally, how do you balance on land when you want to be in the water?
I talk to my dive buddies and plan dive trips, even if its just for a day. The winter is the hardest when we can't dive and can't go somewhere else to dive. So that's when we organize our gear, and make sure all of our service work on gear is up to date. There are lots of places to dive right here in Michigan, so when I get the urge, it can happen.....at least in the summer. There are also all types of live-aboard dive trips that don't cost a fortune. So diving in the winter is feasible as well. Or you can ice dive, not my cup of tea though.

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