Janis Argeswara -- Project Leader at the Marine Megafauna Foundation
My name is Janis Argeswara. I'm a project leader at MMF and a master's student at Florida International University. I am Indonesian, and I was the first Indonesian research assistant at MMF! Some random things I love underwater: good drift dives, large animals, baby boxfish, and cuttlefish! I also do talks from time to time about the mysterious life of manta rays for divers or anyone who is interested.
When did you start diving?
I started diving back in high school in Jakarta, Indonesia. However, I wasn't as active as I am now because SCUBA diving is an expensive sport and I couldn't afford it. When I moved to Bali eight years ago, I started to do SCUBA diving and freediving more (thanks to university and internships), and I finally now have it as part of my occupation.
What made you want to become a diver and dive pro and work in marine conservation?
I just really wanted to be able to swim and interact with marine animals, especially large ones.
What is your best/most memorable dive?
Meeting a manta ray named Dr Evil, whom I've only seen in pictures, in person at Komodo National Park.
Most gratifying course you took or taught?
My rescue diver course. I learned not only to be aware of myself and my surroundings but also of other people. I learned how to 'read' people's body language underwater to make sure they are alright.
5 qualities of a great dive pro?
- Constantly improving their dive skills
- Calling out when someone does something inappropriate
- Open to learning new things despite already being experienced
- Following the codes-of-conduct and ethics when encountering animals
- Respectful of nature and other divers
Do you think women are different divers than men and why?
SCUBA diving has always been seen as a dominantly male sport because it's classified as an extreme sport. But plenty of women are diving, proving that gender doesn't matter when it comes to sports! Anyone who's willing to do it can do it.
One piece of advice for someone starting diving.
Respect the ocean and its inhabitants. We are exploring someone else's home.
Find out more about the organisation( MMF) Janis works for and their projects here: www.marinemegafauna.org
and specifically about Janis here: https://marinemegafauna.org/team/janis-argeswara