dive school owner Dani's ambassador q&a

Dive School Owner Danel (Dani)

Dani is a dive school owner and marine biologist based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is passionate about showing others the wonders of the underwater world and educating future generations about the importance of the ocean and its amazing inhabitants! Her dive school Capensis Diving is a great platform for helping others explore the oceans and has loads of great resources, especially about the magical waters off South Africa.

Be sure to read on to learn more about her ocean adventures and inspirations …

If you were an animal what would you be?

Definitely, 100% a whale shark! Not only are these cool cats the biggest fish in the ocean, but they spend most of their day basking in the sun and eating. What a dream life! 

Dani wearing her ocean mimic whale shark suit and swimming with dolphins
Dani being a whale shark in her mimic suit and making friends with the dolphins :)

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

When it’s not doing anything in or near the big blue I love spending time exploring the mountains! I love trail running, hiking and being on my mountain bike. 

What is your first memory / experience of the ocean?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been visiting the ocean ever since I’ve been a little kid, despite living 7 hours from the closest beach. My first ocean memory I have was when I went snorkelling in Mauritius when I was 7 or 8. I remember seeing a little Blacktip reef shark and getting onto the boat as quickly as possible. For the rest of that trip I refused to go back into the ocean. If only my little self knew how truly incredible that encounter actually was. 

How did you get interested in sustainability / eco living and / or the ocean?

Growing up so far from the ocean I had a big disconnect to it. Even though I spent quite some time swimming and diving in the big blue I never knew how everything we do impacted the health of our oceans. It was only in my first year at university, studying marine biology, where I was exposed to the threats our oceans are facing.

I moved down to Cape Town, South Africa in my first year and seeing environmental pressures like the pollution on our beaches sparked something inside me to want to make a difference. The ocean makes me so happy and I want to do everything in my power to protect this beautiful space so it may cause the same happiness to others years and years to come.

Magical kelp forest
Photo credit : Capensis Dive school

What do you find hardest about advocating for the ocean and / or sustainability?

The hardest I find is appealing to a wider audience. It’s one thing getting a group of like-minded ocean lovers together to participate in beach clean ups and conservation events, but it’s a completely different story when working with people who have a big disconnect from the ocean. How can one convey that our actions on land, impact a whole unseen world beneath the waves if they’ve never had the opportunity to observe it for themselves!?

What is your favourite place to visit?

It’s the place I spent most of my childhood holidays and where I experienced scuba diving for the first time. A beautiful little small town on the KwaZulu Natal coastline in South Africa, Sodwana Bay.

Where do you want to travel next and why?

This isn’t a hard one, I would have to say Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. This special spot is probably the granddaddy of whale shark hotspots with crystal clear, warm water to top it off. 

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

Easy! Have you ever seen the smile on a little kid’s face when they learn something new for the first time? This very smile is what inspires me and motivates me to keep doing what I do. It’s a smile of hope. Working with kids and showing them the pure magic of the world beneath the waves never ceases to make my heart happy! It’s with these kids where the future of our oceans lie and seeing how easily they can overcome their fears and step into the ocean gives me hope.

What advice would you give someone reading this who wants to start helping the ocean?

Just do it! It can seem extremely overwhelming comparing your actions to those of others. Find what you love about the ocean and let your passions drive your next step. Use your skills and talents that you have to help serve the ocean and spread awareness. It all starts with you, no action is ever too small. You got this!

Any upcoming projects / activities / causes you want to shout out?

Nothing makes me quite as happy as sharing the beauty of the underwater world with others, especially those who aren’t as fortunate to experience it for themselves. So, I recently launched my own online underwater photography courses at my dive school. It’s all about helping divers capture and share special moments from their dives to help inspire others. The Beginner’s Guide and Advanced Guide to underwater photography equips divers with the knowledge to capture good underwater photographs on every dive. 

You can follow along with Dani’s underwater adventures on her IG here and be sure to check out the dive school IG feed for lots of magical kelp forest shots (truly otherworldly), fun with sharks, super cute seal pics and much more …

Curious seal checking out the cameral. other seals swimming and kelp in the background
Photo credit : Capensis Dive School

You can also see our other ambassador Q&As in the projects section of our blog – enjoy!

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