OUR GUIDES

 

Amy Christopher

Amy Christopher

Amy has been swimming and snorkeling for as long as she can remember. Her first experience was snorkeling with her family at Playa de los Gatos in Mexico when she was 2. From that point on she was hooked. Amy has been fortunate to have spent the majority of her life traveling around the world with her family. She has lived in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Singapore and has visited numerous other countries as well.

Amy earned her Open Water certification in 1991 and is now a SSI Master Instructor. She experienced her first open water dives in the Coral Sea off the coast of eastern Australia.

Amy is the Director of Retail & Travel Operations at Ocean First. She has traveled throughout SE Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Borneo, Cambodia, Vietnam), Fiji, Maldives, Yap, Palau, Chuuk Lagoon, Caribbean, South & Central America, Cocos Island, Galapagos, Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Egypt, Oman, Jordan and Tanzania. Her travels have even taken her to Antarctica, but other than a polar plunge no diving took place there! Her favorite part about diving is coming across the unexpected, observing the behaviors of marine creatures, and exploring new countries. There is nothing more amazing than having a special encounter with an animal on a dive! Amy has been with the team since March 2000.

Graham Casden

Graham Casden

Graham was born in Jackson Hole, WY but moved to California as a child. He soon developed an insatiable love for the ocean and quickly realized his life was intertwined with the sea. In 1995, Graham moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado and study marketing and entrepreneurship. His love for traveling and the ocean have led him to dive destinations all over the world. Graham wanted to find a way to continue exploring while also protecting the environment he loves. Over the course of the next 10 years, he’s worked diligently to create a community of ocean enthusiasts who are passionate about experiencing and preserving our marine environments. 

Kathy Gagliardo

Kathy Gagliardo

Kathy has always loved and been intrigued by the ocean, all from the first time she was "bitten" by a starfish (when she was 6 years old). She has since learned that starfish can not bite people. Luckily, that "terrifying" encounter didn't stop her from pursuing any class she could take at CU based on Marine Science.  After a final internship researching sea turtles in Puerto Rico, she found herself landlocked and desperate for the ocean. Thank goodness Scuba Joe/Ocean First was hiring!

Kathy loves learning about the behavior of creatures in the ocean and teaching fellow divers how to find/identify them. There is no better way to be an ambassador of the ocean than to pass your love of it on to the next generation and your peers.

Since being certified as a diver in 1993 she has been diving in the Florida Keys, Mona Island (Puerto Rico), Belize, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Utila and Roatan Honduras, Bonaire, Curacao, BVI, and Dominica in the Caribbean.  She has also been to Fiji, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Cocos Island, the Galapagos Islands, Palau, Wakatobi (Indonesia) and the Sea of Cortez in the Pacific. Most of her local diving took place at Carter Lake and Chattfield Reservoir here in Colorado. She has also traveled to the Silver Banks (Dominican Republic), Playa Del Carmen, Mazatlan, Cancun, Aruba, Oahu Hawaii and Cape Town Bahamas.

Bruce Goodwin

Bruce Goodwin

Bruce's love for the water started with snorkeling the lakes in New Jersey. Thirty years later he earned his certification and was hooked. He was a school teacher for thirty years and has been retired since 2006. Because of his love for teaching, it seemed a natural progression to teach scuba diving. He has been helping or teaching professionally since 1995 and is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Bruce also works a few days a week at Ocean First as a service technician.

He has escorted divers to Cozumel, Roatan, Dominica and to Key Largo in the Florida Keys. His many dive trips have taken him to Micronesia and Indonesia, Chuuk (Truk), Bali and the Banda Sea, Palau, Yap, the Channel Islands, Flower Gardens in the Gulf of Mexico, Tobago, Curacao, Cayman Brac, Costa Rica, The Socorro Islands, Egypt, the Red Sea, and Dominica.  Bruce enjoys sharing his love of the oceans with divers including the many interesting land excursions the islands have to offer, such as zip line tours, hot spring and waterfalls, hikes through the rainforest, interesting restaurants and meeting the locals.

Bruce Penner

Bruce Penner

Bruce grew up on Kansas and Colorado farms until moving to the Pacific Northwest for middle school. The ocean became a passionate reality for him while in college at Washington State. Ironically, even though his older brother was appearing in scuba diving videos back in high school, Bruce didn’t take up diving until after leaving the west coast and moving back to Colorado. Now it’s hard to keep him out of the water as he actively progresses through his diving “bucket list”. His favorite destinations so far are Hawaii, Cozumel, Curacao, the Caymans and Costa Rica. Both of his kids became certified divers through Ocean First and now they all look forward to a dive trip every year.

Bruce has lived in Boulder for 13 years and has received all his scuba certifications here. Through Ocean First he became a dive professional in 2010 and an assistant instructor in April of 2011. Besides diving and rocket science, Bruce enjoys cycling, running, hiking in the mountains, playing guitar, and flying (after the appropriate surface interval, of course).

Gary Boyer

Gary Boyer

Gary was raised in southwestern Montana where his family would spend summer weekends boating and water skiing on a nearby lake. He always had a strong desire to scuba dive; however Montana didn't offer many opportunities for discovering the sport. Gary moved to Colorado in mid-1982, and finally realized his dream of scuba diving by earning his Open Water Diver certification in late 1997. He has since earned many instructor and specialty ratings. When not teaching or diving, he enjoys boating, water skiing, snow skiing, motorcycle touring, underwater photography and taking and developing his own black & white photography using various antique cameras.

Gary has led Ocean First trips to the Alaska, Florida Keys, Bonaire, Cozumel, and North Carolina. He has traveled to many dive destinations around the world, including Akumal, Belize, Curacao, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman, Harbour Island Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Roatan, Utila, Saba, St. John, St. Lucia, Channel Islands, Big Island Hawaii, Kauai, Solomon Islands, Vancouver, and the Rowley Shoals off the West Coast of Australia.

Mark Duvall

Mark Duvall

Growing up on a ranch in the middle of Montana doesn’t afford many opportunities to spend time in the water, but as a teenager Mark would get out to Flathead Lake in northern Montana for a couple weeks every day. One day, while at a Value-Mart, he noticed a snorkel kit, the typical cheap pair of fins, a mask and a snorkel. The following week Mark spent hours underwater until his mother would literally drag him out of the lake. In 1985, Mark moved to Boulder and worked as the IT Director for the Geological Society of America. Later that year, while at a GSA meeting, a group of managers decided they would go diving in the Caribbean. Unable to resist the lure of the tropics, Mark followed suit and never looked back. Since then, he has been diving in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Roatan, Mexico and all around the Caribbean.

Learn more about Mark here!

Mike Pivacek

Mike Pivacek

Mike grew up in upstate New York where he fished and snorkeled around cold, dark lakes as often as possible. His dream was to work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and spend time in and around the ocean. When his family moved to Colorado, he was forced to put his oceanic career on hold; Mike spent eight years in the military and graduated from Regis College with honors, beginning a career in technology where he became a Chief Information Officer and eventually the General Manager for a large data company in Denver. He has traveled extensively for business and pleasure – his favorite land destination was Zimbabwe, and his favorite diving trip was to the Socorro Islands. 

Mike lives in Broomfield and now splits his time now between management consulting, training students in his self-defense business, traveling and diving with his wife Erin and teaching scuba at Ocean First including middle and high school students in the TIDES program. 

He has been diving since 2009 and has been instructing since 2017 – all of his certifications and professional training were completed at Ocean First. Mike’s dive travels have taken him to Key Largo, Cozumel, Fiji, the Caymans, Roatan, the Socorro Islands, and Guadalupe Island where he got to see great white sharks up close and personal! 

Roger Young

Roger Young

Roger first became interested in scuba diving while watching the 50's television program "Sea Hunt," however growing up on a small farm in Oklahoma didn't provide many opportunities to experience the sport. He never lost interest and in 1985, while on vacation in the Caribbean, he had the opportunity to take a resort course. From that point on he knew diving was the passion of his life.

While he enjoys all aspects of diving, Roger has a special interest in helping others learn this exciting sport. In addition to teaching scuba, Roger is also a certified Alpine Ski Instructor and avid high altitude mountaineer.

 
Kelly Faulkner

Kelly Faulkner

Kelly, or Sassafras, as she is known around here, comes to us from Wisconsin, the land of beer & cheese.  She was introduced to snorkeling at a young age when she would spend time traveling with her family. After high school, Kelly  joined the program Sea|Mester where she picked up her love for the ocean and scuba. During the program she and sailed around the Caribbean, working as crew and studying marine biology, oceanography & Nautical Science. A graduate of CU Boulder with a degree in environmental science, Kelly was also the president of CU's Scuba Club.  She has been a member of the Ocean First family for several years.

Kelly has experience diving all over the Caribbean (Bonaire, Dominica, Grand Cayman, Bequia, Antigua, Nevis, BVI's and many more) as well as in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands. Her non-diving travels have brought her to European countries including Scotland, England, Iceland and soon Greece, Croatia and Bosnia. She is an outdoor enthusiast, and has been on backpacking, climbing and canyoneering adventures all over the US and Canada. 

Cathy Christopher

Cathy Christopher

Cathy grew up in northeast Ohio knowing that she loved science - biology specifically - from an early age. While her interest in marine science started with whales, by the time she got to undergrad, she was enamored with the invertebrates. While in grad school at Florida Atlantic University, Cathy earned her Open Water and Nitrox scuba certifications and gained experience with various projects about birds and sea turtles and everything in between.  

Although she has participated in several sea turtle studies, lived and worked on a dolphin research vessel, and has been dropped off by helicopter in the Everglades to count fish, her love and loyalty remain with the invertebrates, which she considers the most fascinatingly diverse group of animals on the planet. She likes to remind anyone who will listen that without invertebrates, there wouldn't be much to see on a reef!

Cathy moved from Florida to Colorado in 2015 to work full time for Ocean First Education (OFE) where she and the rest of the team develop K-12 marine science content. If you've taken any of the SSI Ecology courses, you're already familiar with the work done by OFE – the two companies partnered several years ago to make marine science education more accessible to divers. In 2017, Cathy became a dive instructor for Ocean First and enjoys pointing out the unique invertebrates she comes across on her dives throughout the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific. If you ask nicely, she might even help you ID your fish and invert images. 

Kim Crouch

Kim Crouch

Kim grew up in an Air Force family and moved around the country every two years until she settled in Colorado to swim for CSU on a swimming scholarship. She started swimming competitively at age six and still competes in Masters swimming. She has always been drawn to water sports and also enjoys water skiing, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, and most of all – scuba diving! She feels at home in the water and likes how diving makes her feel like a part of the ocean environment so she can observe all sea life, big and small. She was certified in 1986 and dabbled with diving over the years while she wrote air traffic control software and raised two kids. She became an instructor in 2016 and is fascinated by all the math and science in diving. 

Her diving travels have taken her to Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St Lucia, St. Croix, Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, and Florida. She also loves riding her road bike and traveling to Europe, New Zealand, and Asia with her family.

Kim's enjoys seeing her scuba students grow their skills by challenging themselves to become open water divers, and loves sharing their experience on their first ocean dive.

FIND US

HOURS: MON-FRI 10AM-7PM // SAT 10AM-6PM // SUN 12PM-5PM