Get to better know Anette Monroe, who is a passionate blogger on Patch and goes where no woman—or man—has gone before. At least when it comes to parts of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico where she leads divers on tours, lessons and certification training.
Blog: Gulfport Dive Center on Patch
Town: Gulfport, Pinellas Beaches, Clearwater and Dunedin
Writer: Anette Monroe
Started: Nov. 23, 2012
Social Media Pages: Gulfport Dive Center on Facebook
Why did you start your blog?
We opened our Dive Center in Gulfport the first of Nov. 2012 and early on I started page for the store on Facebook. I did this to keep people updated on what was going on in the store, on the dive trips we are planning and on our dive club meetings. I soon realized that I wanted to write more than what I could on Facebook as a medium. People do not want to read long stories on Facebook about my passion in life, scuba diving, so I started to think about blogging since I have done that before. So when I found out that I could blog on The Patch, I jumped right in!
How has your blog evolved over time?
I planned to blog a couple of times a week with two general topics; the maritime history of Tampa Bay, dive sites and how to identify fish on Mondays and then scuba diving as a lifestyle on Fridays. I realized that my time was more limited than I thought, opening a new business as we did, and I wanted to write about whatever came up around scuba diving in my life, so I left my planned schedule.
When do you find time to write?
I am prioritizing my blog since I find it entertaining to write my thoughts and share my underwater pictures with people. My pictures used to stay where they were in a folder on my computer, not many people seeing them or even knowing I took pictures. There is something satisfying with not only expressing yourself through words and pictures but to share them with others as well. I write my blog posts most of the time in the evening instead of watching TV, or if there is nothing more urgent that needs my attention when I am in our store.
What have you learned from your own blog?
That it is nice to meet my readers in real life. I get happy when someone tells me they read my blog!
What has been the most interesting or scariest or weirdest thing you've seen while underwater?
I started to panic on a night dive in an underwater cavern on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii one time. We were with a whole bunch of divers in that cavern, and some of the divers were not experienced enough to go on a dive like that. They had no control over their buoyancy so we had arms, legs and flash lights waving everywhere. It not only scared away any critters in there, it blew up the silt from the bottom so the visibility went worse than it should have been. I grabbed my husband’s arm, stared at a stone on the floor and calmed myself down with my thoughts. The panic passed and I continued my dive as planned. That was a dive to remember.
Where is your favorite place to go scuba diving in Tampa Bay?
The ship wreck of Sheridan, a 180-foot tug boat that was sunk as an artificial reef off shore of Clearwater. It is intact and upright and a beautiful ship to spot when you make your descent. I saw a black-tipped shark there once!
Sign up for the free Clearwater Patch email newsletter to stay connected to your community.