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Scuba Diving at Rosario

Scuba Diving at Rosario

Dr. Nestler’s Diving Experiences at Rosario Beach 

By Summer Boulais 

Dr. Jim Nestler, biology professor and dive safety officer, learned to scuba dive at Rosario beach. His very first diving experience was in 1996, and he has now been the Walla Walla University diving safety officer since 2008.  

“When you first learn to dive in cold water, you are so focused on yourself you don’t get the opportunity to see the great wide world,” Nestler explained. [1] He noted how learning to dive can be overwhelming at first with using new equipment, moving with gear on, and trying to remember your training in the pool.  

Nestler’s first six dives were at Rosario beach where the maximum depth is about 150 feet. [2] “My first time, I was a fumbling but safe disaster. It took me about five dives to get used to the process of diving then I could start looking out and enjoying,” described Nestler. [3] By his seventh time, he got the opportunity dive at The Great Barrier Reef.  

Many people had told Nestler that diving was incredible, but it was hard to tell from the surface of the murky waters at Rosario beach. Nestler noted, “The first time I did it, I realized they were right. I asked myself why I didn’t do this sooner?” [4] The more dives Nestler got to experience, the more he fell in love with sea cucumbers and underwater photography.  

Dr. Nestler used his underwater photography skills to capture a photo of a sea creature. Photo by Jim Nestler.

Not only does Nestler enjoy recreational diving, but he has also developed specific research goals to accomplish while diving. “I love doing science and focusing underwater on specific goals,” Nestler said. [5] Much of Nestler’s research is focused on studying sea cucumbers through scientific diving.  

Though COVID-19 has affected the past two summers at Rosario, students are still able to take advantage of the opportunity to do scientific diving as one of their summer courses. Students will take Scientific Diving I on the main campus then Scientific Diving II is offered at Rosario. The skills learned during these courses include underwater scientific methodology, search and rescue, emergency management, and operating small boats. [6]  

Becoming scuba certified is not required for any courses at Rosario, but it is highly recommended to students with the opportunity and resources to learn to dive. Rosario gives students a chance to learn about sea creatures in their own habitat outside of the classroom.  

Nestler expressed his love of diving by stating: “Everywhere you dive has something special about. There have been very few dives where I didn’t come up with a smile on my face.” [7] 

See Also


  1. Interview with Jim Nestler, 1/13/22.  
  1. Dive Buddy (2022). Deception Pass State Park, Anacortes- Fidalgo Island, WA. Local Diving Info About: Rosario Beach.  

3-5. Interview with Jim Nestler, 1/13/22.  

6. WWU (2022). Scientific Scuba Diving. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory: Scientific Diver Training.  

7. Interview with Jim Nestler, 1/13/22.  

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