Meet Ken Schneider
Ken Schneider is a Master Scuba Diver, a Stress/Rescue Diver, professional photographer, busy entrepreneur, carpenter, craftsman, gardener, expert landscaper, and handyman, just for starters. This talented guy owns Ken Schneider Photography, Waves of Light Soap and Jake Too Lawn & Home Solutions. You can keep up with Ken on Facebook (facebook.com/kenschneiderphoto or facebook.com/wavesoflightsoap) as well.
Ken, how long have you been scuba diving?
I got certified in Catalina in 2000-2001, about 13 years ago.
What is your current scuba certification?
My last certification was for my Master Diver five or so years ago. I’ve just been diving a lot but haven’t taken classes since then.
What would you describe as your most memorable dive? The dive that really stands out in your memory, of all the dives you’ve done over these years?
The most memorable dive (because I learned a lot) was when I was a fairly new diver at the end of a long weekend diving in our local Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM. We were finishing up our scuba diving, and my instructors’ girlfriend and her son wanted to go for one more dive before we all left for the weekend. So here I was with the girlfriend and son, who were certified through her boyfriend/instructor, so you know, how bad could it be? The girlfriend and I were soon at 80 feet with her son – he was probably 12-14 years old – and his weighbelt came off. It took five or so minutes to get his weightbelt back on and we signaled to surface. We were at the bottom long enough so if we did not start our ascent, we were going to be in deco and have some problems. We went up to about 60 feet and looked around. Next thing you know, the kid is back on the bottom.
How much time had elapsed?
We were in the water at that time for about half an hour, but we had been doing multiple dives over the weekend and because we spent the majority of this dive on the bottom, it was time to make a slow ascent and end the dive. It took another five minutes to wrangle the kid up from the bottom and slowly go up. Diving in Santa Rosa is considered high-altitude diving, and to get home from Santa Rosa, you have an elevation gain over Cline’s Corners of a couple thousand feet, so upon completing our dive, we had to wait for several hours so we could off gas and be safe to go over the pass.
So, was the young diver okay?
Oh yeah, he was fine. Come to find out, when talking to the instructor, his girlfriend and son had been here before, and the instructor said they were good divers, but this was only the boy’s second dive and his mom’s third or fourth dive, so we were all pretty new divers. But, as a new diver myself, I didn’t ask enough good questions. It was a memorable dive. I will remember that dive for a long time, not for pretty fish, warm water or good drinks but because that is where I learned you need to ask good questions before you dive, and you need to find a good dive buddy.
Would you describe this dive then as your worst dive?
Well, probably not my worst dive. My worst dive was another learning experience where I whacked my head and I was bleeding all over the place on a drift dive. But I learned from this. Any day of diving is better than a bad day at work, so I haven’t really had bad dives; I’ve just had some learning experiences.
Where would you most like to dive that you have never been yet?
I would love to dive in the Pacific. I would love to dive Fiji, Papau New Guinea, or Bora Bora. In high school I was a huge Paul Gauguin art fan, and he spent a lot of time in Tahiti. Paul was a French painter who lived on a pacific island for a while.
What is your favorite piece of dive gear or your favorite gadget you use for diving?
I love all of my photography gadgets, but if I had to go buy my gear again, I love the little swivel that I can put on my regulator to make it more comfortable. As far as a gadget, I love my little GoPro camera we picked up to shoot video. It’s small, fun and easy to use.
What is the latest dive gear that you purchased?
The last thing I bought was my Apex regulators.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not diving?
When I’m not diving, I really just enjoy spending time with my wife and our dog. I’m a home body but I like being busy, whether it’s playing in the garden or fixing something. I have a lot of varied interests.
What is something that people may find surprising about you?
Recently people have seemed surprised when they find out about my line of eco-friendly soaps and laundry detergents.
So tell us what you do for a living.
My day job is doing landscaping and handyman jobs a couple of days a week. I’m also a photographer, so when I’m not taking senior portraits or pictures of the occasional fish butt, I also have an online business selling all-natural handcrafted soap products (wavesoflightsoap.com), which are good for your skin and good for the environment. My soap is not full of all of the detergents and stuff that dries your skin out. A lot of soap you buy is really harsh on the environment or septic fields, and we use only natural ingredients in our products, so our products do not have a long-term, lingering, bad effect on the environment. We currently sell our soap online and we are currently going to sell our products in the local flea markets and farmer’s markets. We would also like to feature our products in local yoga shops.
What type of photography do you enjoy taking the most?
Is there anything else you would like to share with the dive community?
I think Support Divers on this blog is a great opportunity to support other divers, check out their businesses/websites, and learn about the things that interest them. Divers are great people who have other jobs and interests above water, and it’s always interesting to hear what other people are doing. We all support each other in the water, and it’s nice to support each other out of the water.