How does a former Boy Scout from Chicago escape the snow and cold and end up living on an island in the Caribbean? It’s my happily ever after story that I’m glad to share.
Growing up outside Chicago, I was introduced to snorkeling and scuba diving in my teens. After taking a sailing trip to the Florida Keys with my Boy Scout troop, I was hooked on life above and below the waves. My love for the underwater world inspired me to pursue oceanography in college. Afterward, my determination to escape harsh winters and cold water diving landed me a job as a dive instructor in Puerto Rico. Sometime later, I returned to Chicago, where I met my wife, Sara. Together, we made a deal. I would learn to play golf, and she would try scuba diving. After twenty years, we now go diving every chance we get and sometimes talk about golf.
Incredible sea turtle encounter while narrating a dive video at Cane Bay on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.
We moved to St. Croix with our son Evan in 2014. Evan immediately expressed an interest in scuba diving and started soon after we landed on island. At the time, he was only eight years old and was limited to diving in a pool. On his 10th birthday, Evan was ready for the open water and instantly fell in love with the underwater world. A few months past his 12th birthday, he earned his master scuba diver rating with PADI. Besides being each other’s dive buddy, Evan and I both have a passion for underwater photography.
The concept of Triton’s Realm custom performance gear evolved once the three of us started taking dive trips to other destinations. We wanted something to take back with us to remind us of our trip and, more specifically, the dive location itself. We would see the same few shirts repeatedly, the only difference being the name of the country printed on it. I’d see a shirt with sharks on it in Belize and later see the same shirt in Florida.
I wanted to find a way to embrace the sport of scuba diving and appreciation for marine life that our family is passionate about. I also wanted to celebrate St. Croix as the incredible dive destination that it is. It didn’t take long before the concept of Triton’s Realm dive-inspired apparel came to life.
As we looked for partners and suppliers, we sought out like-minded companies who love scuba diving as much as we do. We wanted to work with companies that keep the environment in mind. I’m proud of the fact that our entire supply chain has a conservation mindset. We were also very selective about the quality of our shirts because they have to hold up in the elements; sun, saltwater, and sand will take their toll on fabric. You’ll be delighted that our performance gear shirts’ colors stay vibrant after countless dives and washes.
Once we had the shirts in-hand, I presented them to local dive shops, and the shop owners loved the concept. The dive community on St. Croix is exceptionally proud of our world-class dive destination status and view Triton’s Realm shirts as another way to share our love for diving and the environment. After a successful launch on St. Croix we sought to move to other incredible scuba diving locations. We are proud to say that several dive shops in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States sell Triton’s Realm dive-inspired shirts. We also recently partnered with the Reef Box, a scuba-themed subscription service.
Whether divers or ocean lovers are local to a diving destination or spend only a weekend there, they can now take something with them that genuinely represents their diving experience and showcases the beauty of the underwater world.
-- Jeff, Sara, and Evan