So you’re a marine biologist, professional free diver AND a model. Tell us more!
Although my work in marine biology and passion for the ocean hold the dearest place in my heart, I have been blessed to have other fun avenues of work. Modeling is always funny and exciting! I really enjoyed my time working in stunts with Hawaii 5-0. Extreme activities, like stunt work, are always a blast while my freediving is more calming, peaceful, relaxing, and yet challenging. Being able to connect with the ocean and marine life by diving on one breath is truly a form of meditation. I also love practicing yoga to help re-center my mind, body and soul.
Your most memorable shark encounter?
However, swimming with the white shark, Bella, is a moment I will forever hold as one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. When you’re in the presence of a white shark, it really is unlike being around any other species of shark.
You can see how cognitive they are when evaluating their surroundings and discovering the other living things around them. It’s similar to meeting a person because with these sharks each individual one has a different temperament and demeanor. It’s hard to put into words how genuine of an interaction it is.
How did you get into marine and shark conservation?
I grew up in and around the ocean, so it stems from early on in my life. Not only is the ocean vital for our existence, but it is a place where you’re in the presence of something greater than yourself. It is a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and allow yourself to be fully present in each moment.Sharks have always captured my attention because of their intelligence, beauty and how they are generally very misunderstood by mankind.
Shark conservation has inadvertently become my life mission as a dive instructor. Most of my students are fearful of sharks due to media coverage, movies and shows like Shark Week or Jaws. In reality, sharks actually play a vital role in our oceans. There are many advocates for other species like whales and dolphins, but not sharks. I felt like it was my obligation to speak up for them because they can’t speak up for themselves. We try our hardest to combat these misperceptions with education, understanding, compassion, and awareness of their true nature and demeanor. Please follow us on Instagram (One Ocean Diving, Oceanic Ramsey, Juan Sharks, and Water Inspired) to help us educate the masses on the plight of sharks.
You travel the world to dive or model (sometimes both). What are the 3 essential items in your carry-on?
Mask, fins, snorkel. Ha! I never leave home without my dive gear! But besides that, I am vegan and like to live a healthy lifestyle, so I may have a vegan snack, my yoga mat, and my Shells 4 Sharks necklace to remind me of home and the sharks!
Your outlook on life in 5 words or less.
You can change the world.
The shark populations are seriously dwindling. What can others do to help the cause?
I started the Water Inspired conservation group to educate people and raise awareness on the plight of our beloved sharks.Photo Credit: ©waterinspired & ©JuanOliphant
Shark populations are dwindling due to a demand for shark fin soup, which is a tasteless and toxic soup made mainly from chicken broth with the fins of the shark being added merely for texture. Also, the level of mercury in sharks is toxic and the sharks are killed only for their fins, with the rest of their bodies being thrown back to die a painful death. It’s very cruel, unsustainable, and is killing sharks at a rate of 2-3 sharks per second, which adds up to about 70-100 million sharks per year and the decimation of 90% of shark populations. Tell your friends about sharks, tell them to tell their friends, post information you may learn on social media, use hashtags, and spread awareness! We recommend watching documentaries like Shark Water and Racing Extinction.