TCC Texas/Oklahoma member Karin Sinniger scuba dived her way into the world record books by diving with an elephant in the Andaman Islands, in India, in February 2013 (see video above). It was the 115th country she has dived in.
“I’ve been locked up in jail in Burma; shot at by African border guards and a deranged soul in Macau; dogged crocodiles, hippos and great white sharks; dived under the ice with Santa Claus, in volcano craters, in caves, trains and submarines” said Karin. “But diving with a retired logging elephant was one of my most memorable experiences.”
Rajan, 63, used to be forced into the sea to help the timber trade. Today, he only goes into the sea if he feels like it. “The first day Rajan only wanted to be in the water for two minutes. He was not forced to stay longer. Since the dive operator who owns him is ethical and they don’t want to turn him into a circus act, they limit the number of dives he does a year to just 12. I had to wait a week to dive with him again and the second time he was in the water for 24 minutes. It was a beautiful experience” said Karin.
A citizen of Switzerland, Hong Kong and the US, Sinniger is Assistant General Counsel for Africa and BP Angola’s Vice President for Legal Affairs. She has been diving since 1992 and has logged over 1,000 dives. She began her world record quest in 2005. Because she travels a great deal for business, she decided she would try to combine those trips with a visit to a new country to dive. Her most recent dive was in Peru in April, where she dived with a colony of hundreds of sea lions in the chilly Atlantic.
Sinniger was the featured speaker at the Texas chapter’s July 2012 meeting in Houston. She also spoke at the Dublin, Ireland, International TCC meeting in April 2009.
“I’m often asked what the best place to dive is,” says Karin. “The Solomon Islands rank as one of my all-time favorite dive destinations because they have wrecks from World War 2 at Guadalcanal, pelagics (sharks, mantas and thousands of barracuda and jacks), macro fish life, beautiful scenery and interesting little villages you can visit with dark skinned people with blond or red hair. I got one of the best haircuts of my life there, because finally someone knew what to do with my hair!”
“Mexico also has great diving. You can dive with great white sharks, mantas, whale sharks and even in the middle of hunting sailfish. Plus the cenotes or sink holes in Riviera Maya are addictive. Many of the dive instructors who have guided me there had high pressure jobs they gave up after they saw the fantastic rays of light of different shades of green and blue bending through the opening of the caves.”
A long-time patron of the award winning charity Blue Ventures, Karin hopes to raise awareness for the deteriorating condition of aquatic life globally.
For more about Karin’s underwater adventures, visit her Web site at www.diveandtraveltheworld.com.