Scuba diving a family affair for father and daughter
GABRIELLE Nieuwenhof may have been taking tips on how to drive from her father when she was 16 years old, but underwater it was the other way around.
Her dad Andrew Nieuwenhof has held off getting his advance diving certificate so he could be his daughter's first advanced student.
The Lennox Head father-daughter scuba dive team have been regulars at Byron Bay's Julian Rocks ever since a dive off the Great Barrier Reef six years ago.
Ms Nieuwenhof said she fell in love with diving when she was 13 years old.
"The first dive I got addicted so I knew I wanted to keep diving," she said.
"It's a whole different world down there.
"Once you dive off the boat and you're under the water you're just in a different place.
"I love the animals, the creatures, the respect that we all have for each other."
Now 19, Ms Nieuwenhof has achieved her open water dive certificate, advance dive certificate and completed her rescue and dive master course.
She has also qualified as a dive instructor with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and works part time for Sundive in Byron Bay.
"It's one of the best jobs because you're introducing people and you're allowing them to be in the environment and see all the cool stuff I get to see," she said.
"We went out to the rocks and it was just us two and this manta ray came across and sort of found us and put its wing around me and swam for a bit," she said.
"Manta rays love interacting with people but I spoke to a few people and they hadn't really heard of an encounter like that."
Both father and daughter have matching shark tattoos.
Mr Nieuwenhof said it was on both their bucket lists to see a great white shark while diving.