Andrew Pugsley

NAUI Membership Status: Active


Andrew, known as AJ around Ocean Optics / Mavericks Diving, started diving aged 12 while on holiday in Hawaii. Shortly thereafter he joined the BSAC club at his school and started diving in the UK. He progressed through to assistant club instructor by the age of 15, and assisted in the training of fellow pupils and even his own teachers. He became actively involved in the organizational side of running trips, from dive leading to boat coxswain, continuing even after he left the school. He has dived many locations around the world, including: Ascension, Australia, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Ireland, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, South Africa, the UK and the USA.

As an 18 year old student, AJ joined Ocean Optics on a part-time basis, taking clients through underwater camera systems. He had taken his first proper underwater photographs at the age of 14 with a Nikonos V, and previously had only used point-and-shoot and disposable underwater cameras. In order to bring him up to speed with the housed SLR systems, Ocean Optics took him to Aliwal Shoal, South Africa, to photograph ragged-tooth sharks. Photographs from this trip were published in Dive Magazine, on the Thomas Cook website, and in the Monty Halls book Dive - The Ultimate Guide to 60 of the World's Top Dive Locations.

Since then, he has returned to South Africa twice, to the Western Cape, to photograph great white sharks. In 2002 AJ became one of probably fewer than 50 people in the world, and possibly the youngest person, to deliberately swim outside of a cage free with great white sharks. In the same year, he was awarded the first European Our World Underwater Scholarship Society photography prize, presented at the Festival Mondial de l'Image Sous-Marine at Antibes, France for a close-up photograph of the head of a great white shark.

He has had photographs published in a number of periodicals, including: 2excess, Dive, Diver, Families in the South-East, Gibraltar Magazine, London Diver, Maxim, Maxim (Czech Republic) and UWP Magazine. Andrew has been a speaker at the London International Dive Show, Visions in the Sea underwater imaging festival, and MC of Shark Day in London. He has authored diving articles for Dive International and Diver magazines. Andrew, with the Mavericks Diving (London) team, organised the Diver magazine Buoyancy Challenge which was held in the filming tank at Underwater Studios.

He has dived in a range of conditions for a range or reasons from a garden pond to wrecks in the English Channel, and from recovering equimpent lost overboard in dock to playing tic-tac-toe with kids through the glass at the London Aquarium. Recently, Andrew has been freediving with orca in arctic Norway and the Straits of Gibraltar. Andrew has crossed over to NAUI in order to provide NAUI training to Mavericks Diving (London) Clients.



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