Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview with Nick Fazah

Paul Adler (current owner of East Coast Divers)
 with Dive Instructor/manager Nick Fazah (on the right)
When we created the concept of At The Table With…. there was a realization that the idea of sharing an intimate dinner with 12 people opens the door to subjects and hosts that reaches beyond the typical wine/beer pairing that one sees at a more traditional restaurant.  We started thinking about new and different hosts. Why not an artist or an author or a teacher? Based on my previous experience as a certified diver it occurred to me that my dive instructor Nick Fazah (manager and soon to be co-owner of East Coast Divers) would be a great host for a dinner. For potential guests that are in to diving, this dinner is a great venue to share war stories and learn about new equipment/dive sites. For those that are dive curious, this is a great forum to explore the possibilities of taking the plunge (pun intended) and becoming certified. With all this in mind we scheduled a dinner with Nick. I recently met with Nick to learn more about him and to collaborate with him on a menu.

How long have you been diving?
Since I was 13.
Was that in the UK?
Yes, I was actually born in North Dakota, but raised in England. I have dual nationality. My mother is English and my father is American.
What was the moment when you realized that you want to teach diving for the rest of your life?
It was when I did my instructor training down in the Keys (Florida). Earlier when I was in England I kind of realized that I wanted to be a teacher. I was teaching rock climbing and archery, then I kind of got in to teaching snorkeling. Being in the water and combining that with teaching had this massive draw. At that point I realized, “I want to do this everywhere”. A light bulb went off and in August 2004 I moved to Florida. I did not look back.
If you did not do this then what would you be doing?
God knows. I have no idea. Maybe advertising or teaching high school PE, something that did not involve a cubical. I would shoot myself if that happened.
What is the scariest moment that you have had diving?
I have not had a scary moment, for myself. I have had a few whoa moments, that stopped me in my tracks, but never to a moment of panic.
Do you attribute this to your training or are you naturally a calm person?
I am definitely not a naturally calm person, but my training and my natural comfort in the water, more than anything prevents panic. I have always been able to find solutions with gear underwater. Being underwater does not make me nervous. Other than the free diving aspect (diving with no tanks) being at 200 feet is certainly the most intense moment. Well actually that was not so bad either…
Would you rather be free diving or scuba diving?
I can’t pick. They are both very different. Free diving is done with very minimalist equipment with a focus on finesse and perfecting one’s technique. Scuba is done with a lot of equipment with a goal or different facets of the game that you have to understand. Technicalities and stuff like that. I’m huge gear head and I love gear, diving with new equipment, checking out new sites. But on the flip side of that coin
The mental and psychological game and perfection of my own psyche with free diving is a different roll.. but I love them both.
I’ve come up with a scheme for a menu for our At The Table With… dinner. A five-course dinner based on your five favorite dive sites, with ingredients sourced locally. What is your top five list of dive sites?
The place that I did my open water certifications is Stony Cove near Leicester England so this would be my first choice.
Then we would have to do a Gloucester course.
My favorite dive in Gloucester is Cathedral Rocks.
What about the Caribbean?
I think a better choice would be the Maldives. It’s in the Indian Ocean. I recently finished a ten-day live aboard dive trip and it was absolutely amazing. Four dives a day with Nitrox, and every one of the dives is 100 feet deep, working up walls.
Cool, we can sneak an Indian food course. What is you next choice?
The Red Sea, at Sharm el Sheikh is unbelievable.
Awesome, this course will be inspired by Middle Eastern Food. So what is the last site?
It’s a toss up between the Bahamas and Bonair. Bahamas is where I did my free dive and was one the most beautiful blue holes the world. It’s basically a drop off from the shore form 15 feet to 600. Bonair is great, but now that I think about it a more unusual choice would be Malta.
Where is Malta?
It’s an Island off the coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean. It’s basically a dessert, with lots of World War Two wrecks to dive off the coast.
Sounds good. I’ll do some research and work up menu. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
No worries and look forward to a great dinner!

So there you have it folks. The menu will consist of five courses, each one inspired by each one of these dive sites:
1.     Leicester, UK,
2.     Gloucester/MA,
3.     The Island of Maldives,
4.     Sharm el Sheikh/Red Sea, Egypt
5.     The Island of Malta

I’ll be posting the menu shortly so stay tuned!

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