What is your name?
My name is Anneli Sara Banderby, but I go by Sara or Norpan.
Hi Sara, how long have you been diving?
I have been diving since 2012, first only on vacations and about 2 years ago I started diving more intensely at home in Sweden.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Im 27 years old, working as a Research Scientist at a medtech company in Stockholm. I currently live with Magnus (my underwater and overwater buddy) and a cat. I work as a Divemaster at Dykhuset and my biggest weakness is chocolate and undiscovered old wooden wrecks. People who dive with me know that I’m happy and loud.
What made you start diving?
Well, I was walking around the pool at the resort in Playa del Carmen when I saw some people playing in the pool with tanks. I thought “Huh, that looks nice”. Tried it in the pool and the next day we did a try scuba dive in the ocean. So dare I say it was almost a fluke? I grew up in the archipelago, so water has always been a part of my childhood. Diving was just a natural next step.
What is your favourite dive memory?
My favourite dive memory is the first try scuba dive I did in the ocean. Everything was weird, new, exciting, scary at the same time. I almost shot up several times from the bottom breathing to hard. It was the most chaotic and amazing feeling ever. The feeling of weightlessness. I also had the most relaxed and chill instructor with me at that point. He kept a good eye on me, hahaha. But from that dive, I was hooked.
What type of diving do you prefer? Wreck Cave etc?
Oooh, I love both wrecks and caves. It was the caves that got me to dive more seriously and to keep educating myself in the art of technical diving. I’m doing my Mine CCR in November, but in the Baltic Sea, it’s the wrecks that are the most amazing. Low salt, no shipworms and low oxygen conserves the wrecks. They become more than wrecks, they become snapshots and windows back in history, to the point when they sank. Its most exhilarating to drop towards a new wreck and see its hull appear before you and to discover what secrets they hold.
What made you start diving closed circuit rebreather?
I knew that not before long I would be looking towards doing longer dives, deeper dives and the rebreather offered a solution and a more enhanced way to make those dives. But even on shallower dives a rebreather offers a lot of advantages, such as warmer air and nitrox in the loop. As well as talking!
What made you choose JJ-CCR as a rebreather?
I looked at what type of diving I would be doing. I also knew I was doing the course in Sweden so I looked for instructors, tried the JJ two times outdoors. It was easy to get spare parts for it; a lot of people dive the JJ in Sweden so there is also a lot of collective knowledge about the machine. I liked how it felt during dives and that it was easy to maintain and clean. The machine itself is clean, everything has a purpose and it also is aesthetically pleasing to look at.
What advice would you give fellow diver who is looking at starting to dive rebreather?
Try different models, and try them outdoors as well. Not only in the pool. Don’t be afraid to take a basic course for one model and then try others. With the course you gain the knowledge to evaluate other models and can easily do a cross over. Be prepared that a rebreather carries with it more preparations, but that is all worth it when you enter the water. A rebreather offers different kinds of problem solving, which I love. There are many different ways to solve the problem, and you usually have time to do it. You are going to love the silence that comes with the rebreather, and the wildlife does too! Suddenly, fishes move closer, sharks come closer and you can hear them as well. And you can develop an individual style to how you choose to fly the machine. Whether you want it fully automatic or fully manual and all in between. When you dive the machine for the first time the buoyancy is going to feel all off, because you can’t use your breathing to control it like you do on an open system. But after a while, you are going to love it. Because when you find it, you can breathe how hard as you want and you won’t move an inch. So, if you are into photography, a rebreather is a good investment!
Any other funny memory that you want to share with us?
The funniest thing I have had to do, was when I did a photo shoot with Magnus for a book. The book was about love, food and diving. And the photographer wanted us in full gear, at sunset, in the archipelago. So, in full gear, we climb up the cliffs because he had rigged it in the most inconvenient place he could find, hahaha. And for 30 minutes we posed, kissing awkwardly with masks and everything on (dry suits, rebreathers, tanks, fins, ALL) while trying not to tumble down on the other side of the cliffs. It was awesome and we had a lot of fun! Muscles sore the day after!