By: Evan Upchurch
Under the surface of our oceans lies a world so vast, we have yet to truly comprehend the treasures it holds. In Baja California Sur, people come from far and wide looking to bear witness to the underwater worlds found right here on our Earth.
In exploration of our ocean ecosystems, scuba diving offers unparalleled access to adventurers who seek true immersion. For a moment, the effortless act of breathing on land is traded for the weightlessness of water. To dive is to live in the present moment; as we focus on making each breath mindful and steady, it allows us to consume less oxygen and explore longer. We feel far from the problems on firm ground, and our minds empty like the infinite ocean around us. In this world of wonder, every minute counts, yet, somehow, minutes seem to turn into lifetimes.
We caught up with Dael Vásquez–dive master and business partner at Nautilus Dive Tech in Cabo San Lucas–to learn more about his story and the importance of Baja California Sur in the international diving world. At the age of 14, Dael Vásquez took the plunge for the first time in his hometown of Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. In the city’s local lake, he trained with the Red Cross to eventually become a rescue diver. Later in life, Dael went on to be a successful rescue diver within Mexico before spending years as a commercial diver working on not only in rescues but also welding, deep dives, exploration missions, and many other projects.
Enticed by the year-round sun and countless diving opportunities, Dael moved to Cabo San Lucas 16 years ago and hasn’t left since. Today, he is a dive master and business partner at Nautilus Dive Tech, where he gets to share his love of scuba diving and the ocean with his family and people from around the world.
The rich and diverse waters of Baja California Sur are considered a world-class destination for divers, with both the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California bordering the state’s coastlines. Dael says, “In Baja, there is an incredible wealth of beautiful diving destinations for all levels thanks to the biodiversity in the area. We can see everything from large animals, like sharks and whales, to the smallest of fish in the reefs. I’ve been here for 16 years, and I’ve yet to see everything. I’ve laughed, cried, screamed and felt incredibly small so many times.”
Still a relatively new recreational activity, diving provides travelers with unrivaled opportunities to immerse themselves in our natural world. Dael points out, “Our oceans are the closest thing we have to discovering another world—and it’s right here on our own planet. Every day is different at every dive spot. By getting to know our oceans and their marine life, we feel compelled to protect them.”
In the course of his diving career, Dael has inevitably become involved in conservation projects happening in and around the Los Cabos area. He works with marine biologists and certified naturalists to help mobilize the community’s divers and volunteer in tasks like underwater clean-ups, monitoring and data collection. Recently, Nautilus Dive Tech has also started asking visiting divers to donate a portion of their time to help with these efforts if they feel compelled. Dael says, “In my time diving, I’ve learned that our oceans are fragile, and I have seen how the ecosystems have changed negatively over time. I believe that it’s important to find ways to inform people what’s happening in our marine environments because those that aren’t involved don’t see it with their own eyes. At Nautilus, we are working on important collaborations with respected researchers and are excited to involve more people and businesses in the community.”
To revel in the beauty of our planet is no longer enough; we must constantly be reminded—and remind others—of our planet’s fragility. By becoming a part of the diving community, we are saying yes to a world where we actively participate in the conservation of our open waters. We live on a blue planet and must not forget that the health of our underwater ecosystems reflect the state of all other living things, including us.