Life back in England
Christine Nelson grew up in Sussex on the south east coast of England. Early on she had two heroes that influenced her passion for scuba diving; her father, who was a diver in the British Royal Navy, and famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau (whose daughter, Celine Cousteau, she incidentally got to meet last month). Christine left Sussex for her first job with a research institute and she has been in academia ever since. Though she had an interest in scuba diving she unfortunately lacked an opportunity, back in England, to pursue the sport.
Working at KAUST
While still at Cambridge, a fellow colleague who had joined KAUST encouraged her to come here. Christine, who was ready for a change, applied and was hired. She came to KAUST in 2011 and started working for one of the founders from Aramco. Since then she has worked in various departments including for the former Provost. When a position came up at Red Sea Research Center it was the perfect fit for her!
Becoming a Scuba Diver
Being at KAUST provided her the ideal circumstances to finally pursue her interest in scuba diving. She was one of the students in the first dive class offered by Coastline. She also became the first female dive master and first female instructor with Coastline. She has literally been diving every week since completing her training. She loves to be a dive instructor as it provides a way for her to share her passion with others.
Community Club Founder
Christine is the founder and president of the Scuba Divers community club. The club's Facebook page has over 300 members. The club provides a way for fellow divers to communicate with each other, arrange dive trips outside of KAUST together and offer advice and information to one another. She is confident that amongst the group probably every diving spot in the world has been visited by our own scuba diver community.
National and Global Dive Trips
Christine loves to dive in the Red Sea! She has seen an amazing array of sea creatures over the years on her local dives; from the tiniest sea animal to hammerhead and whale sharks. One of her favorite dive spots is in Jeddah where she can regularly see octopuses. She has been able to explore other diving spots throughout the country ranging from the Farasan Islands in the south to Al Wajh in the north. Christine also dives abroad with fellow club members. Every year she takes part in a regular trip to Egypt. Recently she also went diving in the Philippines and Maldives (which she says has the most spectacular marine life). Last year, a group from the club went diving in Sudan where they were surrounded by at least 44 sharks!
Marine Life Preservation
Besides the sport of scuba diving the club also promotes activities for preserving marine life. One activity that Christine regularly does is picking up rubbish from the reefs while diving. Her dive students and even local beach visitors have followed her example to pick up sea litter.
Her marine environment clean-up activities, at the beach she frequents in Jeddah, were noticed by its owner, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Turki al-Faisal, who gave her an appreciation award for her involvement in the preservation of marine life.
Christine advocates that KAUST is an ideal place, especially with a shorter work commute, to take advantage of more time, freedom and opportunities to pursue a passion and then share it with others! She also highly recommends Coastline for dive training and Red Sea dive trips.
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