Meet Michelle Pugh

If you’re intrigued to meet a scuba diver who has been diving since the age of 16, was the first woman diver in 1978 to film wild killer whales (orcas) in their natural underwater habitat in Canada, open her own dive company in 1983 (which was the first dive operator on St. Croix to obtain the PADI Five Star IDC rating and was later awarded the Best Dive Operator in St. Croix), spearhead “Project Anchors Away”, a 75 mooring buoy system surrounding St. Croix to protect coral reefs from damage, and become the first woman to teach PADI classes in Moscow, Russia in 1997, we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Pugh.

Beyond these remarkable accomplishments, in 2004 Michelle was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame and earned the Environmental Advocacy Award in 2007 from the St. Croix Environmental Association. She is also a board member of the St. Croix Fisheries Advisory since the late 1980s, as well as the East End Marine Park in St. Croix. Truly an entrepreneur and always the activist, Michelle is passionate about preserving and protecting the ocean and environment in which she lives, works and enjoys so much.

Michelle & Skeeter DogIf you book your dive trip with Michelle’s company, Dive Experience, you are treated like family, taken to the best dive sites on St. Croix, charmed by Skeeter, Michelle’s dive dog who often accompanies the staff, and also educated about the local environment and reef life. It’s easy to understand why Dive Experience has received outstanding service awards and has such a high rate of return guests. If you haven’t booked your trip yet, be sure to follow Dive Experience on FaceBook.

 

Michelle, how long have you been scuba diving? 

I have been diving since 1970. I learned at the North Hollywood YMCA.

What is your current scuba certification?

I have NAUI, SSI, and LA County CMAS certifications, but I am most currently a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) #6961.

What is your most memorable dive?

My most memorable dive was diving with killer whales in the Johnston Straights in Canada.

Where would you most like to dive that you have not been yet?

I have yet to go to New Guinea, Galapagos or Antarctica.

What is your favorite piece of dive gear or gadget?

I like my Cobra computer, but a close second and third is my camera and lionfish spear.

What is the latest dive gear you have purchased?

I purchased a Recsea housing for my Canon G12.

What do you enjoy doing while not diving?

I am a homeowner and I love to do gardening.

What is something that people may find surprising about you?

I am very radical when it comes to the environment.

Tell us about what you do for a living.

I own Dive Experience. I drive the dive boat, do the dives, work in the retail shop, teach classes and pay the bills.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our dive community?

We need to stop the over fishing and pollution now!

 

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