May 25, 2012

Geek of the Week: Meet Tara

What's your name?
Tara—also known as Dive Mistress

Where are you from?
Auckland, New Zealand

What does it mean to you to be a geek/nerd?
Without being quite cliche, it was harder than I thought to answer this question!

I'm quite possibly the person that they had in mind when they invented calculators—I'm shocking at math and I can't think in 1's and 0's.

I work full time in the telecommunications industry as a Principal Infrastructure Designer and I like to see systems put together.

To me, being a geek girl means I like technology—and I like sciency stuff too—and I really love it when I can combine all these things with my hobbies.

What are 2–5 things you're particularly passionate about?
In the back of my mind, I think given half the chance I would sit around on my butt all day watching Brainiac's "Things—But Very Slowly" clips, however I seem to have ants in my pants and I am always on the go.

I'm a technical scuba diver—and part time Master Scuba Diver Trainer.

I am a serious amateur photographer (underwater and above water).

I love to travel.

I'm pretty proud of my music collection.
Ed. note: I tried to learn how to scuba dive during high school, but never completed my certification. All these photos make me want to someday try again!

Why are you passionate about these things?
I've always loved taking photographs but it wasn't until a friend of mine talked me in to learning to scuba dive that I really got serious about it. In fact when I took a camera underwater for the first time was when I decided that I really really really liked to dive! Time almost stops and there are only a couple of things that you need to—can—concern yourself with ... continuing to breathe and keeping yourself buoyant in the water. Technical diving takes it to a whole new level as you need to understand the effect of the air mix you are breathing on your body, how depth and time need to be factored in as well and how to move in the most efficient manner. If I put my camera in my hand and suddenly there is how to maximize light, where to find the best creatures to photograph and how to work out all of the above so I can stay under for the most amount of time possible!

As you descend, less sunlight makes it through the water so I practice with different levels of light on land to try and improve my photography. Getting out and about and seeing the world gives me the opportunity to capture some pretty amazing scenes and hopefully tell a story with each of these images.

I've been doing a 365 Project since October last year. It is both easier than I expected and harder than I thought but I have learned so much that most days, it encourages me further. Using I can get inspiration and encouragement from others all over the world who are doing the same project that I am.

Do you have any special or hidden talents?
I don't really get a chance to show off this talent nearly as often as I would like but I am the sleep-in queen!!!

Oh and I have developed a talent for discovering lapis in Minecraft.

What was your favorite book/movie/TV show/other from 2011?
Like 90% of the world, I discovered the Game of Thrones series in 2011 and read all of the books. I'd really like a castle and a sword.

What book/movie/TV show/other are you most looking forward to in 2012?
I've just discovered Bored to Death and have managed to track down the first series so I'm waiting for the first rainy day to hang around in my pj's all day watching it.

Do you have a "go-to" karaoke/Rock Band song? What is it?
"Trouble" by Pink. I am a terrible singer but I totally think that the louder I am, the better I sound. Of course I am even better after 2 or 3 wines (and I mean after you have had 2 or 3 wines and are a little fuzzy around the edges). My brother and my Mom can belt out Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra like nobodies business ... I was ripped off!

What are three websites you like to visit every day?

Do you have a blog/website/Twitter name/etc. that you'd like to share?

Tara's bonus questions:

Where's someplace in the world you've always wanted to dive but haven't had the chance?
Do I have to pick just one? I have a list ... and I can only narrow it down as far as two.

The first place is tropical—It would be Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon in Micronesia (photo credit: Pete Mesley). The lagoon is filled with World War II Japanese battleships, an aircraft carrier and a bomber plane. It was a forward base for the Japanese and the Americans bombed it in 1944 after they captured the Marshall Islands. As well as wrecks, the marine life is amazing and these old ships are now covered in corals and encrusted life. It's a mission to get there from New Zealand .... one day!

The second place is cold water—and stunning. The Silfra Gully in Iceland's Thingvellir National Park allows you to dive between two techtonic plates. You can actually touch one with one hand and one with the other! The visibility is amazing!
Ed. note: Wow, those places both look spectacular!

Which Game of Thrones house do you see yourself fitting in most?
Everyone wants to be a Stark don't they??

I think I identify with the Greyjoys—loving the sea as I do. I'd love to grow up as one of Cersei's children—she defends them like a lioness defends her cubs.

To be sure, I did some Googling and completed a couple of online quizzes:
Which Game of Thrones family are you from? I belong in House Stark
Which Game of Thrones character are you? I am Daenerys Targaryen.

Ed. note: OMG! Red pandas!

Thanks, Tara, for being a Geek of the Week!

If you'd like to be a future GotW, please email me.

P.S.—Happy Geek Pride and Towel Day(s)!


  1. I loved Brainiac, I'm so glad you linked to those and I'm fascinated by your underwater photography too, great interview!!

    1. Thank you Rhianne.
      Its my 'Go-To' on YouTube :)