By Dorothy de Souza Guedes, for The Gazette

Like an airborne fowl or swimming fish, Nate Northup is no lengthier sure by gravity. He feels weightless. Surrounded by peaceful, he is conscious of each individual breath.

“It’s a counterintuitive encounter to land mammals,” Northup reported. “There’s that thrill and exhilaration you get from breathing underwater.”

That is what he feels every single time he dives under h2o. With a finite total of air in one’s scuba tank, divers need to conserve air and come to be adept at stress-free and controlling their breath and muscle movements.

“A ton of (diving) is receiving out of your head and relaxing, becoming present in that instant,” Northup explained. “It is a very meditative experience.”

It is that calm that has compelled him to log additional than 120 open up water dives. All through the past 13 many years, he’s dived in numerous options, from the obvious, chilly waters of the Good Lakes to the warm saltiness of the Caribbean.

“It definitely is a total new planet underneath the water,” Northup claimed.

HOOKED THE To start with TIME

Like numerous divers, Northup’s initial practical experience with scuba diving arrived on holiday vacation. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, he went to Jamaica with buddies in 2007. He and his mates took a free of charge, one particular-hour crash system on fundamental diving techniques.

“It wasn’t even my notion at first. I was just variety of likely along with it as a enjoyment issue to attempt,” Northup stated.

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The class then headed to a close by reef. Northup, sporting swim trunks and simple scuba diving equipment, used about 45 minutes in the ocean on that initial dive.

“Upon obtaining in the real open up water in the ocean, I just straight away fell in really like with the experience and all the underwater sights,” he mentioned. “I was hooked — I was hooked from the start.”

Having Certified

Rising up in La Crosse, Wis., Northup used a ton of time on the drinking water — canoeing, fishing and boating on the Mississippi River.

A year right after that Jamaican vacation, he talked a good friend into getting an introductory scuba diving course with him as an elective school system. At the time a 7 days that semester, the students met in the classroom or in the pool.

The remaining weekend of the class, a diving certification was scheduled in Devil’s Lake, Wis.

It was early November, and the temperature was in the 40s. He and the other divers wore thick soaked satisfies to safeguard them from the cold. He accomplished his certification as an open water diver that weekend, and above the past decade has advanced to a Stage 5 certification, which denotes that he has taken specific continuing training courses and logged at the very least 100 dives.

Cold Drinking water DIVING

Because getting qualified, he has invested a lot of several hours diving in Wisconsin lakes and in Lake Michigan. An estimated 6,000 ships have sunk in the Great Lakes, some dating back to the 1800s and even the Innovative War era, Northup stated. The fresh new water and colder temperatures assist maintain the wrecks.

“The water is so clear, and the visibility is so fantastic. It is just like currently being in the ocean,” he mentioned.

In addition to looking at wrecks and underwater web pages, Northup enjoys interacting with nature under h2o.

Even on that very first dive into Devil’s Lake, he saw crayfish and inquisitive smallmouth bass, investigating every movement to see if it was food stuff. He reported divers can apply what they see and learn to fishing.

“Just observing fish react to different issues underwater, you can get a superior strategy of how to existing your lure,” Northup mentioned.

A Occupation Switch

Just after school, Northup taught middle college and large faculty for a number of a long time. Then he and his wife, Claire, moved to Iowa Metropolis in 2017 so she could finish her Ph.D. in environmental engineering at the University of Iowa.

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The Northups couldn’t have timed their go to Iowa Metropolis any better. While he was doing work as a substitute instructor in the Iowa Metropolis school district, Diventures, a Midwestern chain of comprehensive-service scuba and swim centers, began design on its North Liberty spot.

Northup made a decision to take his passion for diving and follow it into a new job. He was employed to control the retail profits area. When the aquatic facility opened in the slide of 2019, Northup became an open h2o teacher.

“Between all of our divers at Diventures, we have an remarkable wealth of information,” he said. “It’s this sort of a fun thing to be element of.”


Northup has built about 40 open up water visits during the Midwest and distinct areas of the earth, lots of by Diventures.

For 2021, the business has tentatively scheduled excursions to the Caribbean as properly as to the Crimson Sea, South Africa and Fiji.

“It’s this kind of an remarkable opportunity to travel,” Northup said. “My most loved ocean dive has been drift diving down in Cozumel.”


Northup’s spouse, Claire, shares his appreciate of scuba diving. Originally from Seattle, she became a accredited diver in Puget Seem when she was a teen.

On their honeymoon in the Florida Keys, they dived jointly alongside a rocky reef and saw a variety of little, vibrant fish plus eels and a sea turtle.

“It was seriously breathtaking,” he reported. “Seeing each colour fish and coral, it is a wholly various planet. It’s so remarkable and lovely. Which is what gets a whole lot of folks hooked.”

Northup can rarely wait for his son, Wally, who turned 1 in January, to be his future “dive buddy.”

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With a new infant and the pandemic, 2020 was a slow diving yr for Northup. He took a pair of journeys to Wisconsin and invested time shipwreck diving on Lake Michigan.

“We’re seeking forward to having some visits this coming calendar year and getting back again into some warmer waters.”

Diving: the fundamental principles

You can learn to scuba dive yr-round here in Japanese Iowa.

Future divers must move an untimed distance swimming need — a few lengths of the pool — and be equipped to tread drinking water for about 10 minutes. Then divers indication up for a class that suits their agenda, both a person night a 7 days for three weeks or a full weekend. Private lessons are out there.

Not sure if you want to commit that a lot time? Through Diventure’s just one-hour Try Scuba class, students discover about equipment, hop in the pool, overview a few simple abilities, and then get pleasure from the relaxation of the time getting weightless underwater.

The key, Northup stated, is obtaining relaxed respiratory underwater. Instructors train pupils how to relax and breathe generally, trusting that their products has been properly-preserved and will functionality.

Beginning divers are expected to appear with their have mask, fins and a snorkel, which can price tag on normal $300 to $400. Diventures supplies the rest of the equipment: buoyancy compensators, regulators and oxygen tanks. Most freshly qualified divers lease this additional machines as they come to a decision what sort of diving they plan to do and what tools they like.

Master much more

Identify: Diventures

Handle: 1895 W. Penn St., North Liberty

Cellular phone: (319) 665-2741


By Harriet