If you ask Outer Banks locals what they love about living on this little sandbar, most of the answers you will hear will be pretty similar: the laid-back beach lifestyle, the opportunity to take advantage of so many of Nature’s gifts, the ever-changing and exciting weather patterns, and the sense of community. Our little island has about 35,000 residents. To put that in perspective, Penn State’s University Park campus has over 40,000. We may be small, but we are mighty. We take care of each other and like to give back to our community.
Eric Almarode, Executive Sous Chef and Kitchen Manager at Blue Moon, moved to the Outer Banks from the mountains of Staunton, VA and quickly fell in love with the beach lifestyle. He thought about getting his scuba certification for several years and finally reached that goal in 2013. After receiving his certification, he began volunteering at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island in October 2013. He has the lucky job of cleaning the shark tank!
Twice a week, after working long hours at Blue Moon, Eric spends his days off volunteering to clean the tank and performs the dive show for aquarium visitors. In just over a year, Eric has given 190 hours of service and logged 105 dives for the Aquarium naming him Diver of the Year! We are proud of Eric and glad he’s part of the Blue Moon family. Thanks for all you do, Eric!
Oh, and P.S. ladies…..he’s single!
Q & A with Eric
Q) Why did you want to get your scuba certification?
A) It has been a childhood dream of mine to become scuba certified. I have always loved the seas and the animals living in them. There is so much to explore and much to be thankful for from the oceans.
Q) Favorite things about diving?
A) Diving is yoga for me. Being surrounded by water is very serene and soothing! It is reviving to see new things I haven’t before.
Q) Best part of volunteering at the aquarium?
A) I enjoy the rewarding feeling from volunteering. It’s win/win for both parties, I gain experience and knowledge, they receive helping hands! Watching the kids faces light up during dive shows is a highlight! Plus, it is very thrilling to be that close with sharks.
Q) Now that you are RICH AND FAMOUS :)….What’s the next step for you? More certifications?
A) Hahaha…rich and famous indeed! Yes, I am working on an advanced certification now. Planning on master diver and instructor certifications after that.
Q) Does seeing fish from a different viewpoint give you a different perspective when you are preparing them for someone’s dinner?
A) Yeah, it’s cool to see fish I have prepared, and look forward to preparing, in their element. I can picture their filets on a plate. It’s kind of amusing. I get to thank them personally for their sacrifice! Watching them swim gives me perspective on how and why fish have such varied flavor and texture.