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Sharing of the ink – A new SCUBA trend contributing writer Stacy Amberson is VERY passionate about SCUBA diving. She shows her love for the sport with each and every dive as she shows off an impressive scuba diver tattoo expertly displayed across her back. In this exclusive, Stacy examines the growth of tattoos among the recreational diving community.

Tattoos have in recent years become more mainstream and much more socially acceptable.  You see them everywhere on everyone.  No longer limited to the stereotypical ‘fringe’ subculture; motorcycle gang types, sailors or prison inmates.  You are as likely to see them on doctors, lawyers and middle management business sorts as conservative looking soccer moms or your child’s nursery school teacher…Not to mention the lower back of most every 20-something female in low rise jeans.  And I have noticed lately that they are quite prevalent on dive boats too.

Generally divers never need incentive or pretext to begin a conversation.  There has never been a more vocal, friendly group as a whole.  Tattoos certainly open up additional lines of discussion.  Comparing dive trips, gear preference and critter sightings have been joined on the dive boat by ‘The sharing of the Ink’.  It’s become a tradition all its own.  Someone remarks on a visible tattoo, everyone looks and takes in turns to reveal their own.  Divers have been seen to remove their gear and strip completely out of their wetsuits while en route to the dive site, in order to share a favorite or especially meaningful piece of body art.  Ankles, calves and biceps are twisted, turned and otherwise held up for display as all admire the unique and imaginative designs.

Most species of Sharks, Dolphins, Rays, Mantas and Turtles are all well represented.  Octopi, Jellyfish, Starfish, Seahorses, Nudibranchs and a multitude of schooling fish, shipwrecks and seashells appear frequently as well.  From Tribal to Photorealism, Cartoonish to Dali-esque the many styles run the gamut, as personalities and preferences dictate.

Diving actually facilitated my first tattoo shortly after being certified.  Suddenly anything and everything aquatic or dive-related became a candidate for permanent placement to declare this new but undying enthusiasm.  For me custom was the only option; coming up with an idea of the basic design which would then be refined by the tattoo artist.

It began with a small Clown Fish on the ankle.  As predicted it was in fact completely addicting.  That first tattoo was soon followed by a Mandarin Fish on the other ankle and a Sting Ray on the abdomen. All the while ideas and designs eddied about, mentally searching for the ultimate homage to scuba diving that would be the finale, and take the place of honor; upper middle back.

Finally the appointment was scheduled with a local artist, selected due to the exquisite work she did on my daughter; vibrant red sea kelp that appears to sway in unseen currents around her calf.   Imagine being fortunate enough to find an extremely talented artist who is coincidently, a diver herself?  A deep love for the oceans and all manner of life found there translated through the eyes and soul of an artist!

Alycia Harr, a tattoo artist for over fourteen years and a diver for almost as many, with a rough sketch and basic concept was able to capture and express the very essence of my vision.  Scuba girl diving the world.  It turned out better than I could have imagined.  Alycia is brilliant, talented and a true artiste.

I’ll never let anyone but her poke me with inky needles.  This tattoo was meant to be the last… the culmination of my personal body art tribute to diving.  Yet, turtles are so beautiful; a Hawksbill on my shoulder would not only enhance the existing picture but be a statement for conservation!  And perhaps a Manta Ray to balance it out….

Now that would definitely be the last, probably…

Stacy Amberson is one of’s rising stars. An avid diver, Stacy represents the “everyday diver” who is fueled by a love of the underwater world. For more of Stacy’s work, click a link below:

Aquatic Stress Relief-Only Scuba Diving can deliver!

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