Sabrina Wyse uses her dark experiences to teach others

For one Calgary woman, the motivation to continue pursuing her scuba diving passion goes far beyond what happens above the surface.

Sabrina Wyse is a Divemaster at The Dive Shop in Calgary. Growing up, Wyse said she was always interested in the water and wished there was some way she could make a career out of diving.

“I read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when I was kid and I thought, ‘I want to be Captain Nemo when I grow up,’” says Wyse. “Then I discovered that Captain Nemo was actually not a very nice guy but diving was in fact a thing and then I was obsessed with the idea.”

Wyse recalls her first experience was on a family trip in Mexico where they had the gear ready for people to give it a shot. Wyse, her father and brother decided to go diving and she fell in love with the activity for good.

Produced by Zarif Alibhai and Jesse Buchholz

“Diving is a habit,” says Wyse.

Everything went well for Wyse underwater as she continued to dive recreationally for many years after her first experience. However, tragedy shook her world when one of the first people who helped her get into diving, her brother, took his own life.

“Just one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and so talented it’s not even fair,” says Wyse of her brother. “He was definitely one of the most kindest and generous people I’ve ever met.”

She credits her brother for much of her passion for diving, saying she feels as if she has to live for two people now because of his demise. She has since signed up for a lot of experiences, diving across all of Western Canada as well as in some tropical regions.

“I think he’d be happy that I got back into it,” says Wyse.

But, this wouldn’t be the end of her troubles.
Wyse on a dive with a laminated photo of her brother that she keeps by her side.

Photo courtesy of Sabrina Wyse
During her Advanced Open Water at Lake Minnewanka more than two years ago, Wyse flooded her dry suit resulting in an almost 13 meters descent to the bottom of the lake. Her instructor tracked her down and pulled her back to the surface, though the experience caused severe anxiety and almost caused Wyse to quit diving altogether.

“I didn’t have much experience, so I was still learning,” says Wyse. “I thought I was done for.”

September Mills, owner of The Dive Shop, says she is incredibly proud of Wyse and how far she has come since her incident at Lake Minnewanka.

“She’s quite the spokesperson for women in diving,” says Mills. “It would have been very, very easy after that incident to walk away and never do it again.”

After working past her anxiety in the water, Wyse uses her experience to teach others how to dive effectively and safely in all situations.

“I know it will never be my full-time day job, but that’s okay,” says Wyse.

“I’m just going to do it as much as I can.”

jbuchholz@cjournal.ca

zalibhai@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Ali Hardstaff at ahardstaff-gajda@cjournal.ca