In today’s episode, we’ll be talking to Teagan Kane from Infinite Blue Dive Travel. Teagan was born in Pennsylvania, and he always dreamed of seeing the world, he ended up in another country teaching at an International school in South Korea. He began to travel a lot around Asia in his free time and then found SCUBA diving and later on Freediving both in the Philippines.
He discovered the world under the water and saw that it was disappearing fast. He gave up fish and that started him on his vegan journey when he realized that he didn’t need eggs and cheese and made the switch to being fully vegan.
Now Teagan helps others on their journey while showing the delights the ocean and cuisines around the world have to offer and is also a certified yoga instructor.
On this podcast we will discuss:
- Why you should consider a dive holiday, especially as a vegan
- The difference between living aboard boats and dive resort
- What are some common concerns and worries before diving
- How to get started even if you have dived before
- Some of Teagan’s favorite destinations for diving
Learn more about what we talk about
- Scuba Diving Certification | PADI Open Water Diver
- Diving in Amed
- Dahab – Freediving
- SS Thistlegorm
- Palau Siren – Diving holidays – Master Liveaboards
- Raja Ampat Islands
- Nusa Lembongan
- Dauin – The Phillipines
- Lembeh – Indonesia
Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode
- First Ever VEGAN Korea Trip? | Verena Erhart, Kim Giovacco & Donna Zeigfinger | Ep 85
- #12 | Vegan Resorts and Retreats in Thailand and Sicily | Stefano from Kapuhala
- Animal Rescue Organizations in Thailand
- Safety Wing: A New Kind of Travel Insurance | Jared Schachter | Ep 84
- Nine Best Tips For Vegan Travel Anywhere
Connect with Teagan
Brighde: Thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast. I was so excited to get connected with you because diving is such an interesting, past time, passion thing that you can do when you are traveling that vegans should probably consider a little bit more if they haven’t already. Before, we get into diving into all of the ins and outs with that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are, maybe your vegan story what you are doing in the vegan travel space?
Teagan: So I have been a vegan for about five years now. I actually gave up fish first about eight, nine years ago when I got into diving because you go in the ocean and these beautiful fish and creatures and I was sad to see them ending up on and. A lot of fishing nets and pollution and it’s not something many people get to see and so I fell in love with the ocean there and I worked my way up from Open Water Diver, which is the first level in PADI and advanced. And about five, or six years I worked my way up to the instructor. At the dive shop I trained, and worked I met a man, Brett, he’s my partner business partner and he’s also a vegan. We were talking about how when you go diving and you go to places, it’s very common to have french fries and beer is an after-diving thing while the beer is usually vegan, the french fries maybe not be a lot of food in a lot of these places, that’s good Maybe a little head of lettuce and salad in things. And it’s a shame cause there are good local products and there are good cuisines and mostly Southeast Asia where I’ve been living in East Asia. And so we got together, sadly, it was right before the virus and we started this company to find and partner with liveaboards, you go on boats and tours. It’s open water divers, beginners to advanced to certain places in the world, to resorts and, dive centers to find out if they’re vegan, Are there any vegan divers, and is the resort eco-friendly? You’d be surprised how a lot of resorts and places aren’t eco-friendly with single-use plastic. So we’ve been, over the last couple of years changing a little bit the plan for the company. But now we’re able to get out and travel the world and we’re visiting dive centers and hotels to make sure the quality of the food is there. Because a lot of times it’s being vegan, everybody knows are you sure this is vegan with this cook?
So we have to make sure all of this and that’s what we’re doing, partnering up with different places and we’ve had some companies reach out to us too, we want to join, become vegan. How do we do So we’ve been doing a few consultation services, especially in Indonesia I’ve been the last couple of weeks since I moved back.
Brighde: You are actually in Indonesia right now, whereabouts are you?
Teagan: I am on the island of Bali in a smaller village in the northeast called Amed that’s where I am diving and free diving. I’m an instructor with both.
Brighde: Oh wait. You’re a free diver too. Wow. . That’s amazing. This is such an interesting idea. I remember when I became certified, I got my PADI open water certification in the early two thousand, and I was just vegetarian, and like I think many people, I didn’t do diving again for quite a few years. Just the opportunity never presented itself and it wasn’t until after I became vegan and coincidentally actually in Amed on the east coast of Bali that I actually went again. So it was like my second lot of dives. And I will say that the experience was much, more profound than it was as non-vegan just awe, and respect and excitement I had for what I was looking at, was multiplied so much in intensity.
Teagan: I’m not pushy. I don’t push people into veganism, but I always bring it into my courses and talk about things like ocean waste and plastic. 70 percent of the world is covered in water and most people never get to see it so it’s something I do focus on and bring up in the courses bring a bag along to pick up the waste and things just to set a good example for other people. Talk about the fishing industry, half the ocean’s plastic nets, and discarded fishing equipment. And it’s very profound to see this with animals. biting plastic and you come up to the surface in some areas the rain happens and there’s just a thick layer.
Brighde: Yeah I remember one time was in Jakarta and I used to live in Jakarta and I did a boat ride out I think they’re called the Thousand Islands, just outside of Jakarta and we took a boat from just at the mouth at the river or about a kilometer or so in, from the mouth of the river. And I was just absolutely horrified at just how much plastic waste. Now, this didn’t happen to be fishing waste. was due to, insufficient garbage collection, but it was just pretty horrific just how much plastic there was there at the foot of this, at the mouth of this river that was going out into the ocean.
All right. So now we really wanna talk about the benefits of diving, especially as a vegan, and how this is a really great way to travel, But people who don’t know about it, like how, do most people start this hobby, this passion, and sort of grow with it and travel with it?
Teagan: Cool. Yeah, I’d love to answer that. Its people are on holiday often and they’re curious and they see everybody else trying it Oh, what’s that? That could be interesting. And a lot of people, think it’s difficult and there’s a barrier in physical capabilities.
So they sign up for a discovery dive, It’s called it’s just a half a day to a full day trial dive.
We take you to the pool, make sure you’re comfortable, teach you some skills, and then we take you in the water for the discovery dive. You are a salesman, as a diver, so you’re Okay, you did great. Do you wanna do the course can be done in about three days properly. And so people usually go from there. That’s the open water course where you can go down to 18 meters, you’re certified or 60 some feet and you do usually around four to five dives, depending on what you’d like to do. And then you’re certified anywhere you go in the world. Thankfully PADI is getting rid of the plastic cards after many years of fighting and complaints. I have some friends writing petitions cause they used to send you a plastic card, every single certificate, and charge you more for the digital. Now they give you the digital, so thankfully they’re moving in the right direction. There’s not just PADI there’s SSI and Nowi and all sorts of other different organizations, but I would say if you’re going. Start diving. Make sure you choose a reputable, preferably vegan dive shop. Do a little bit of research, talk to them, and just make sure it’s done correctly it’s not inherently dangerous, but you do wanna be trained by a professional and make sure everything is safe
Brighde: What is it that most people are really scared about? Cuz I will say that. The first time I went diving, just hearing my breath all around me was just a little bit off-putting. One time I did get a little bit fearful, but otherwise, apart from that, I wasn’t too scared. I’m a little bit of a cautious diver now. Like I’m never being too blase. Like I’ll stick very close to absolutely everybody, and I’m very aware of that. It is a little bit scary for some people. What are some of the fears that some people have and can these fears be addressed?
Teagan: Besides breathing, which everybody holds their breath, quite an issue and can be dangerous. People forget to breathe. It sounds very odd, but it’s like I, for one am an athlete and runner and I nose to breathe, so when I started scuba diving, it was very weird for me only breathe through my
And like you said, you hear your breath, you’re underwater, and everything’s super quiet. All you can hear is your breath and maybe some bubbles or noise of tapping of some sort. Oddly, I would say my biggest fear is probably sharks. Everyone was always scared of sharks and something was going to eat them.
I’ve seen hundreds of all over and different types of sharks, and I’ve never had anything even remotely an issue. Honestly, the thing that’s attacked me underwater would be Nemo. The Clownfish, like they’re very aggressive. they’ll come by and if you get near, they’re usually in soft, these beautiful soft corals.
They have mucus around their skin to live in but if you get over to look at them and they’ll come at hit your mask. And so Nemo is much more than your average shark. I’d say those are two wildlife and breathing. How people overcome it is the first part of your training is in a pool so we make sure that you can see everything, you’re in a pool and you get comfortable before going in the open water. We don’t just throw you out there in the depths before you’re comfortable.
Brighde: Yeah, I, I would really advise if you have the opportunity, to give it a try because it really is such a special experience, and maybe that’s what should talk about now, is. Should we be going out into the ocean and spending time on a diving holiday exploring the ocean when there’s plenty of stuff that we can see above water much more easily without having to do a course do anything special in that area? If you were going to persuade somebody to do a dive holiday, what might you say to them?
Teagan: As I said before, 70% of the world is water, so it’s good that you can see other things. The big thing I could say. It’s just, it’s eye-opening. There’s just so much stuff. And it varies from to place. Like we were just talking about, you dive with whale sharks.
When I lived in the Philippines and I could see these massive Whale Sharks, eight meters long or almost 25 feet just passing by me you could never even imagine this. Even an elephant is not comparable in the water. It’s so gracefully passing you by. And then you have things called Frogfish that are the size of your nail, and they’re beautiful, red and green colors and the wildlife is just
We’re on land. I’ve been attacked by a monkey before I lived in Alaska and Moose are quite a bit dangerous. Animals there’s stuff on land I’m a bit afraid of the water, everything’s just kind of hanging out. You’re in their house and it’s just passing around and it’s beautiful. And these sights. Let’s say for Bali you come here on a trip you dive, say five or a seven, eight-day trip. Even if you go longer, there’s a hike, there’s great food. Bali has world-class vegan food in a couple of different cities. There are just other activities you usually do. There’s very rarely just diving too but if there is, I mean a lot of variety to that as well
Brighde: It really is special. And they have some really cool wrecks as well in Amed for example, don’t they? So you can go and check it out. These ferries, or sunken boats, have become just this incredible habitat for animals. Like it’s really quite special to see.
Teagan: The Liberty Wreck is the one in Tulamben, and then there’s the Japanese wreck down here from World War 2 I believe. There are a couple around here you can get to pretty easily. There’s also a ferry boat that sunk recently during a typhoon, so you can go through that as well.
Brighde: You’ve been diving and free diving for many years. Are you able to use maybe some of the most incredible, spectacular things? Of course, the more diving you do, the more likely it is you’re gonna be able to see something special. So can you share with us some, maybe some incredible things that you have seen while diving?
Teagan: Sure. As I mentioned before, my favorite thing in the world is the Whale Shark. They’re very rare and you can’t really be guaranteed to see one. There are some places in the Philippines where they feed them and it’s not the most above-board operations, but you can still see them. I was just there looking at it, actually, it was a Nemo fish with a student and I hear another [clicking]. I turned around and it was literally a meter away just passing by. And if someone didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t have known me and the student, I just grab the student back and turned them. Yeah. Wrecks? I dove into Egypt. Dahab is a free diving and scuba town. It’s where I became a freediving instructor.
There’s an old wreck the Thistlegorm in the middle of. Red Sea and it’s huge. There are sharks around it and black tips, I believe, or white tips around and it’s about 30, 40 meters deep. The wrecks are really neat because they’re not only just a ship, but it’s just a habitat and biomes for so much life and corals and things. As long as you’re respectful and don’t bump into anything, it stays pretty preserved under the water, Speaking of Bali, sorry, the last one. I would say the Manta Rays giant manta Rays are three, or six meters long and you dive down 15 meters not even 15, and they’ll just swim. There’s a cleaning station where they come to feed and clean themselves they’ll be five to ten, just swimming about above you gracefully. They have no effort in moving.
Brighde: So you’ve described, I guess more tropical kind of diving situations. Had you done any diving in more temperate places? For example, I live in, I live close to Vancouver at the tip of the Howe Sound and even though the water is quite cold there is some actually really incredible diving where you can see glass sponges and things like that. So I guess my question is, have you ever done any other kind of like more temperate diving? Maybe people don’t have tropical diving close to them, or they don’t like the tropics, for example. Have you ever done what’s that like?
Teagan: I’ve done a bit I’m let me say I’m weak. I get cold. Anything below 25 Celsius. But I get a little cold. But Dahab in the winter gets down to 17, 18 Celsius. I have dove in Cyprus in the Mediterranean. There’s a huge wreck there. The water’s about 20 degrees. It does get a little bit chilly there for me and there is a lot of other different wildlife like off the coast of California you can see up to towards you, kelp forests and seals, and a lot of mammals interactions with things. In the Great Lakes, there’s a lot of wrecks and more fresh water and yeah, I haven’t done too much cold diving. It requires a little more gear and a lot more planning and so that’s why I try to keep it simple with a lot of my things. And it tends to be a little more expensive as well to get prepared for all of that courses. It is one thing to consider if people are thinking about doing it, maybe try a try dive in cold water. A course, including flights a lot of times, is actually cheaper in the Philippines, in Indonesia to fly quite far from other places, do a course stay for a week or two, and cheaper than you would do a course in a lot of, western countries and just as safe and just as fun.
Brighde: I did my course in Ko Phi Phi just about a year and a half or so before the tsunami in 2021 or something like that. And I am just on my week off. I was tour leading in Thailand at the time, and I just decided to go down on a week off and just do my open water certification. And then a few years later when I was also living in Thailand, again, I did advance diving. I had done very little diving between those two certifications except in Bali and it was really quite reasonably priced. And you can often get packages as this is something you do, I think, where it will include like all accommodation food. And several dives as well, correct?
Teagan: Yes, that’s quite a common model. You’ll come for, I don’t know, let’s say a week or 10 days, and you get first. you sign up for the second course, people usually do them back It takes about five days, six days if you take a day off. And then you get a discount on the rent of the place for doing the diving course. And sometimes, like we now have a dive center. We worked with recently Maloy Dive Center up in Tulamben, and the people got I don’t know was it five dives? And they stayed for three days and they had all-inclusive food for breakfast, lunch and dinner snacks and that of thing. That is the model that usually works with this
Brighde: Now I know that you work with dive resorts and liveaboards as well, so can you explain maybe what like a day in the life of this kind of vacation would be and maybe draw attention to the differences between liveaboard and staying in a resort because I will say that until I had experienced this, really didn’t understand how it all worked logistically. So what is a day in life like on one of these kinds of experiences?
Teagan: So we’ll do resort first, and depending on how many are dives, I would say probably people dive three times a day, maybe two to three times a day would be quite common. Maybe more. If they feel like it is a night dive per se. So you wake up, divers are not the rushy people on earth, so wake up leisurely at seven, eight o’clock, have your coffee, have your breakfast. The nice thing about scuba diving is you don’t have to starve yourself and it’s not a super intense sport. You get tired, but you can eat all the time. So you have breakfast and do a dive briefing. They would explain to you where you’re going, what you’re doing for the day, the dive site, and the safety plan, and then you do your first dive. Usually, the deepest dive is first to say a wreck first and then come back and you have a surface interval between the dives so as you get rid of nitrogen gas. So an hour, maybe two between the dives, probably about an hour and you do your second dive, little snacks between, nothing heavy, but probably little snacks, maybe some more coffee. I like to nap. That’s my little nap time again between dives and then probably head back to the beach, or the resort, or whatever you’re doing. If someone wants to do an afternoon dive, they could do what most boats and things will offer. They’ll give you two and then a discounted third from the way back.
Everybody usually takes it unless you’re not feeling well because it’s quite cheap and you’re already out so why not then come back and then night dive you’re going to do that. And that’s usually at dusk would go out. While it’s still light so it would change over. can see things changing, logistically and safety-wise, it’s much better to go out at dusk then come back that’s the evening have food, and then do it all again the next day. Usually, they don’t wake up too early unless it’s some special dive, like we said, the Liberty Wreck. There are some fish that come at sunrise. So sometimes people will get there really early, these giant schools of fish, but that’s not super common. Usually the dive guide, Master Diver yeah Will be a local. And so they are usually more relaxed than the Western person going out.
Where a liveaboard. Is quite different. A liveaboard is just diving with all of where you take a day off on land a liveaboard, you really wanna get your monies worth and so they’ll have dive scheduled four to five dives a day they will have a morning dive, they will have two more, three more, and then an evening dive. Most of you don’t have to join them but they will have four to five dives per day on those and they’ll have chefs on board. There’s a dive company that we’re working with Palau Siren, Master Liveaboards they have very talented chefs and started having a vegan option recently, and my partner Brett was working with them so we pushed them forward to that so now you can have all the vegan food on the during the liveaboards but you are on the boat. Three to five days, you can no longer liveaboards, but they’re usually around five days, depending on the location may be a day more for travel there and back. If you’re going to the Galapagos or you’re going to Raja Ampat, Indonesia is another famous place with pristine, clearwater, and amazing wildlife. So seven days
Brighde: That’s always been something I’ve been a little bit hesitant about on liveaboards is that you are basically stuck with the food that they will give you. Whereas if you are in like a resort town, which has lots of different dive places and maybe other resorts and what have you, in hotels, there’s plenty of other places to eat. So the fact that you are making sure that vegans can have delicious food when they’re diving is just so amazing. Where is your favorite spot to dive in the world?
Teagan: I might say here. This access to the beach for scuba diving here is macro, looking for little things. I like to spend an hour, maybe solo diving if I do just looking for little things hanging out underwater, not deep, searching for the little creatures, but then I can go to a wreck. The Gilis? Gilly Trawangan Gili Meno, Gilly Aire over there. And there’s also some really good diving over there. Nusa Penida is also a boat ride away, it’s where the manta rays are. Nua Panda, Libo. There are a lot of options here. Lembongan Strait comes through and there’s cooler waters and is faster, and so a lot of plankton and bigger things so we’ll go over there some sharks different stuff I also like the option here for free diving. I have access to depth. You can get 50, 60, 70, and 80 meters for diving easily off the shore. Or you can go to. Gili again, Gili Trawangan. My friend owns a freediving shop over there. The first one in Indonesia is Free Dive Gili, and they have a vegan restaurant there as well as and vegetarian restaurant. You go out in a boat for free diving. It has both my hobbies here and there’s also hiking. I don’t just love diving, so I can run, hike, dive do everything here, and eat!
Brighde: You are making me miss Bali so much. It really is just such a great destination for vegans. Just the food is great, the nature is great.
Something I wanted to ask you is whether people need a lot of gear to get started, or if is it something that they can rent. Like how does all of that work? Because I think people think that it might be a little bit like skiing where you have to have a certain amount of equipment and it seems really, really pricy so, and of course, difficult to carry when you’re traveling.
Teagan: So no, you don’t need really any gear. I always recommend a dive computer just for safety. If you’re starting out, you don’t need it. Don’t worry about it if you like it, then you could purchase, I would say a dive computer decent one, two, $300, and a mask a set of fins basically the things that I, had started out for years. As you said, I didn’t really have much besides a dive computer. You can rent gear everywhere that you go. That’s not an issue. They usually have quite quality gear and I always recommend doing that cause you can try different gear, see which things you like and maybe you buy a mask, then you buy a BCD, the air, and the regulator. You can buy parts at a time, with something that you like. And it may be an upfront investment, this stuff lasts 10, 15 years. It’s a very sturdy, thing. you’re doing liveaboards most people will bring their own gear. But basically on the holidays and things, nobody really, I wouldn’t say anybody, but it’s much more common just to show up to a dive town, and rent the gear. It’s quite affordable, 15, $20, maybe rent the gear for a day, maybe. You’ll probably get discounts the more you dive and if stay with the resort and that type of thing
Brighde: I can’t really imagine an opportunity where you would get to be so up close and personal with such incredible animals. For such a reasonable price. Now, when I consider the cost of going to see the gorillas in Rwanda or going on a safari, for example, versus seeing these incredible creatures that we’ve just only ever seen on documentaries and being able to get fairly close to them sometimes they’ll even come and see what you are all about as well. Just to have this incredible interaction with wildlife and seeing them in their natural habitat really is so inspiring. I just absolutely want to book a dive holiday right now just talking to you.
Teagan: Yeah, should come back to Indonesia becoming the rainy season in January, and February. But other than that, fish are still there. They like the cloudy days anyway, so a little wet on land.
Brighde: That’s true. That’s true. As long as the visibility’s good. It doesn’t really matter about the weather. I think a lot of people feel overwhelmed about booking a dive holiday, particularly maybe a vegan dive holiday, so they should just definitely check out what it is that you do. If somebody is interested, in diving or vegan diving or maybe learning to dive and would like your help and support with that, what exactly would they need to do where would be maybe a good first stop place to go?
Teagan: Okay. Again, this a lovely question. I would say go to the site first. www.infinitebluedivetravel.com. And we have, you can see the different options and sites and everything that we’re working on. As I mentioned before, the site is a work in progress as we’re making sure these places are vegan. We’re getting to them, we’re adding places. Most of the places are in Southeast Asia. We have some in the Galapagos and South America. But most of them are based over here. We wanted to do one region at a time so we could do quality control. I can go to them or Brett can get to them and make sure it meets our standards and quality.
If you do want to contact us infinitebluedivetravel.com. It’s on the website. You can just type it in there. You’ll see a little chat box if you’d like to send us a message. It’s me and Brett, so he’ll get one of us, happy vegans, to answer any of your questions and help you out with any needs regarding, what airlines, and what type of visas you need. Anything like that. like Indonesia offers a 30-day visa. And 60 days you can renew it. So you can come here for 60 days, basically, for $80 US As for places, I would recommend the Philippines as one of our favorite ones. Dauin, a completely vegan resort, is made from recycled environmentally sustainable materials and they have a bakery and outlets in the town. There’s another one Dive Into Lembeh, and this is my partner’s, one of his pet projects and things he’s been working on. We’re directly involved with this resort. We know the quality control, and they have a two-week vegan menu so you can have different meals every single day for two. If you stay longer, then yeah, you may get it a repeat. But for two weeks we have set that so you’re not eating the same food, which can be an issue in some places. The food is delicious in Indonesia. Don’t get me wrong, you want some different things, burgers to maybe the pizza you want not.
Just Indonesian food all the time. Yeah, those are the two places I would recommend. Or there are liveaboards for people that are seasoned divers to stop over the website and shoot us a message. Tell us you heard about us from the podcast and yeah, we’d love to help you out.
Brighde: I really urge absolutely everyone to listen to this to consider diving as a really great way to travel. I know a lot of people, who fall in love with diving and then they end up working and living overseas I think this is probably what you did traveling around the world as dive masters and diving instructors. What an incredible way to see this underwater environment that we don’t normally see and to travel around the world. I wanna thank you so much for joining me on The, World Vegan Travel Podcast. I am so excited. I am definitely gonna try and get some sort of diving in the next 12 months if possible can. Before we say goodbye, tell us again your Instagram handles and all of that stuff so that people can get out of their phones and follow you right now.
Teagan: We just got the Instagram up and going. Everything is Infinite Blue Dive Travel. For the Instagram ifbdivetravel, it’s quite a bit too, IFBdivetravel on Instagram, Facebook, Infinite Blue Dive Travel. The website, infinitebluedivetravel.com. We’re working on getting a lot more materials and we’re gonna have some walkthroughs and photos of the resorts as we get them so you can see the diving and the food as well. But if you have any questions or you’re looking to go somewhere, please just shoot us a message and we’d be happy to find something. I’ve been in the business for a little over 10 years. My partner’s been in the business for almost 25 years, so we have connections all over the world in different places that even if they’re not on the website, we’ll be able to try and help.
Brighde: Amazing. Thank you so much for joining me.
Teagan: Thank you. It was great to be on your podcast and I really appreciate it.