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Meet Catherine Jones, founder of DiveReport.com

(DiverWire) We are pleased to welcome Catherine Jones of DiveReport.com as our newest contributor. DiveReport.com is a new site that allows divers to learn specific details about dive sites around the world. Catherine talks about how she got into scuba diving AND her inspiration for starting DiveReport.com.

I started Scuba diving in 2005 in Thailand and quickly got hooked. I had always wanted to learn to dive and had completed a few try dives on family holidays when I was growing up, so when I decided to travel after University it was the perfect time to learn. I initially didn’t find it easy, mainly as I had a few mask clearing issues but I stuck at it and wasn’t disappointed. I loved being underwater and even spotted a turtle on Open Water Dive one. Since then I have dived many places across the world, most recently the Red Sea and in a few weeks time a liveaboard in the Maldives, which I am very excited about, I am crossing my fingers for mantas. I have also reached the level of Divemaster and spent 5 months in Thailand and Malaysia diving last year. I do wish to become an Instructor but unfortunately that goal will have to wait until I am less busy with Dive Report!

I have always loved nature and wildlife since I was very little I was a frequent visitor to zoos, farms and aquariums throughout my childhood and that hasn’t changed. So it is no surprise to any that know me that I dive mostly to see the marine life and the unique underwater world rather than for wrecks. That being said I do still enjoy diving wrecks especially when they are full of life, but I just don’t decide to visit a place for them, I decide to visit a location for the life I can observe there.

Due to marine life being my deciding factor for whether to visit a location or not I began to discover a common problem where it was not easy to find the marine life you can see where and at what times of year without spending hours on the internet researching across many different sites! So I looked to create a solution to make this easier for myself and other divers who must be facing the same problem and about a year ago came up with the idea for Dive Report.

Dive Report is an online resource which helps divers discover when and where is the best time to see certain marine life. At the start of the project my main aims for Dive Report were to keep the site simple and easy to use but also to create a useful diving resource and place where divers could share tips and experiences. I have spent the last year developing the site based on these aims with it launching in Beta Mode a month ago. Divers can search for what they would like to see when and be provided with a set of location results to match this search. They can also post Dive Report’s about their diving experiences and state which marine life they saw and when and leave tips for other divers.

Obviously as Dive Report is a global resource and there are hundreds of dive locations across the world it is a huge time consuming task to detail all the locations so we have had to start small and currently have 50 locations and 20 animals in our database. By full launch we wish to have 100 locations and 30 animals as well as more features and all the bugs fixed. From there I hope to constantly expand the site and database until we are the best wildlife resource for divers there is!

DiveReport.comMy aims for the future of Dive Report would be that it becomes a popular resource for divers, it is a unique concept and I will work at improving it until it’s the premier marine life resource around. Currently I work part time in the evenings as bar staff at the Royal Albert Hall in London so that I can put as much time into Dive Report as possible, so I would love nothing more to be able to make Dive Report my full time job and put all my time, energy and passion for diving into the site.

Until full launch which will hopefully be at the end of March 2012, as well as all the improvements to the site, I am also collecting user feedback. I have made Dive Report to solve a common problem for divers and have made a good guess as to how people would like to use the site but without user feedback we do not know exactly which parts people will like and dislike. We will try to use this to improve the site so that it is the best it can be. Until that point any advice or help would be wonderful and can be sent to myself at cj@divereport.com

Hope you all like Dive Report and look forward to seeing you all on there!

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