The World’s Youngest Antarctic Diver

On Balancing Life & Adventures

How did you get the time off of school for a month long trip to Antarctica?

I’m a pretty good student, so my teacher trusted me to go out there and get all of my work done. I brought a few weeks worth of homework along with me and by the time I got back I was actually ahead of all the other kids in class. So, I didn’t have to learn anything while I was at school my first week back.

How do you balance these very challenging projects and adventurous expeditions with school and the other commitments you have back home?

The main commitments I have at home are soccer, guitar and school. I don’t really have a problem taking time off from soccer or guitar, it’s mainly just school. So far, I’ve maintained pretty high grades so that all the teachers let me go on these adventures. They think the experience of going on trips like Antarctica will allow me to learn a lot more than just sitting in a classroom. I’ve written a report or done a slide show for all the adventures and presented them to my class so everyone knew exactly what I was doing. When I went to Antarctica, the kids at my school helped me revise and edit some of the articles I wrote and we gave them to Elaine Jobin, who helped me update my emails and keep my blog going when I was gone. The kids at my school actually kept up a second blog for my trip as well. So, the other students are definitely active with all of my adventures. In that way, school isn’t really an obstacle for me when I go on these kinds of trips.

Photo of Antarctic Penguins taken by Evan - photo © Bozanic

Photo of Antarctic Penguins taken by Evan - photo © Bozanic

Are you a bit of a hero in your classroom?

I don’t know about a hero, but I’m definitely experienced. When I came back, a lot of the kids kept telling me how lucky I was. I think they kind of just remember that I’ve been to all these places and have had all these experiences, so they sometimes tell their own friends about my adventures.

You are very fortunate, but these adventures don’t just happen by themselves. They require a certain type of person that can deal with all the kinds of challenges that come up, so what you’re doing isn’t necessarily easy, is it?

Not at all. A couple weeks before coming to Antarctica, they told me I had to do 20 dry suit dives before I was allowed to go. I went to Catalina every weekend for a month and did five dives a day. I was completely exhausted from doing all of that. A lot of those hard dives kind of made me not want to dive anymore because at that point the word “diving” just made me think “work, sleep, tired, cold, wet”.  But after doing some less challenging dives, I’ve come to love it.

Some of these projects and trips are very long. Do you ever get to a point where you don’t want to do it anymore? Do you ever think to yourself, “I’m tired of doing five dives a day, I’m tired of being cold, I’m tired of being in airports?”

Airports aren’t really a problem for me because I just sleep on the ground [laughs]. During the actual trip I start to miss home: the food, my dog, the rest of my family and my friends. A lot of the times I can’t bring my guitar or soccer ball or anything, so I basically just miss doing what I like. Sometimes, I’ll get fed up with all the walking and traveling and just want to sit down and sleep right there.

Can you share a few examples of how you managed to push through some of those challenging times?

Evan, enjoying a ride in the back of the pickup - photo © Bozanic

One time my dad helped me suck it up by just saying, “fine”, and he started to walk away. I knew that I couldn’t just sit there and be abandoned in the middle of nowhere, so I ran ahead and caught up with him. And he also tries to incorporate some fun things I like to do. When I was eleven and went to Patagonia, we went in a four wheel drive truck and he had me riding in the back while we were driving, and that was a lot of fun because I’d stand up and get to look over the cab at all the wildlife. There were a lot of Rheas, which are a lot like ostriches, and plenty of armadillos. I met a lot of people too, so it was really fun for me.

So how do you relate to kids your own age after you’ve been through so many extraordinary experiences like that? Is it difficult at times?

Yeah [laughs]. For example, a couple times my friends would get hurt and whine about it and then I’d say “Try sticking your hand in Antarctic water for sixteen minutes. Then stick it under hot water.” That usually shuts them up. I haven’t really met anyone my age who has been able to have as many adventurous experiences as me, but I’d really like to, so I could have someone to relate to.

When you’re on these trips you’re mostly around other adults, aren’t you?

Yeah, I’ve become pretty good with adults since I’ve been around them, traveling for so long. They seem like another species, but after being with them for awhile I’ve begun to understand them. I think I’ve matured a lot from it. Before I took all these trips I was a little, annoying brat. After trips when I was surrounded by adults who didn’t really want to be around a little, annoying brat, I shaped up so that I was more pleasant company. That helped me be able to relate to teachers and parents a lot better, so it’s not as hard to understand where they’re coming from now.

Lofty Goals

Tell me a little about your other various projects that you’ve done or are currently working on.

My next science fair project is going to be a multi-year project. We’re going to build a portable underwater habitat that scientists can go live in for a couple days and observe wildlife. I’m going to try to make one of those, then test and patent it, so scientists can stay down and can move it from place to place.  I wanted to do this project because I’d like to be able to go underwater without getting wet. My least favorite part about diving is drying off my hands and hair, so we were discussing ideas and eventually my dad and I came to up with the concept.

This habitat and a lot of your diving require a lot of complex and customized equipment. Where do you get the equipment you work with? Are companies or individuals supporting you?

Luckily, my dad knows a lot of people, and they know even more people, so if we need equipment or anything he can always ask them whether they know someone that can help. That usually helps us get a lot of the equipment we need.

Do you have a list of the places you’d like to dive someday?

I want to dive in the North Pole. My dad is taking a group of people to go diving up there, near Svalbard islands, which is about 600 miles south from the actual North Pole. There is a spot you can get up really close to polar bears up there. It’s not just diving in the North Pole either; it’s also touring the ice and getting off the boat to look at the scenery. Plus, it’s also being able to say you went to the North Pole. I’d like to go to Australia and dive there as well. Those are pretty much the places I want to go for now, but I’m sure my list will grow as I get exposed to more places.

Your focus seems to be set on cold water dive locations for the most part. Have you been diving in any warm water destinations?

In August of 2009, we went diving in Fiji and I enjoyed that a lot. There were tons of bright colors and the water was really warm. We did a wreck dive there, and after that, I can say I don’t want to stop diving at all. It’s just a lot of fun for me and allows me to push myself.

Evan on his first wreck dive in Fiji - photo © Bozanic

Evan (front, left) on his first wreck dive in Fiji - photo © Bozanic

Speaking of pushing yourself, are there other activities beyond diving that draw you to these remote destinations?

Not too much. Just being able to get through uncomfortable situations and fears of doing something frightening usually makes me pretty happy, at least once I’ve already pushed through it. A lot of activities like diving in remote areas make me really self conscious about getting hurt, so I’m constantly trying to be aware of my surroundings. I’m very immature and I don’t really want to think about that kind of stuff, so it’s still pretty challenging for me, but I try to meet those challenges as best I can.

What harrowing experiences have you or others on your teams had?

I’ve experienced a couple. In Antarctica, I saw our videographer, a really good friend named Harry Donenfeld, go absolutely crazy one night from pain after we went diving. His leg just cramped up and he couldn’t move it. He was running from room to room, screaming. When we got back to the mainland in Argentina, he was taken to a hospital and they put him into a coma and just let him recuperate like that because his leg was hurting so bad. So they knocked him out for a couple days, but he’s fine now. When we were in Fiji, there were a couple people who got hurt on the first day. When we had to do a test dive, a guy had internal bleeding and had to be taken back immediately. On the last day, an elderly woman slipped and broke her hip, so she had to be taken back as well. I saw her in a lot of pain, screaming, crying and grabbing people.

When you experience these kinds of situations, like dive accidents, do they ever make you second guess your own desire to dive or visit some of these really remote places where you aren’t close to any hospitals or help?

No, it mainly just makes me think I have to stay safe. It reminds me not do anything too crazy and to be careful not to get hurt at all.

The World is His Oyster

Where have you done most of your diving? How many continents have you gone diving off so far?

I dive a lot here in Catalina, California, but I’ve mostly been diving in South America at Ushuaia, which is the southernmost town in Argentina, and the world. I’ve also been diving in Antarctica and Israel. I went there two weeks ago to dive in the Dead Sea. So far, I’ve been diving on four continents. I still have to do Europe, Africa and Australia.

What are your major goals as a diver?

I’m trying to be the youngest person to dive on all seven continents. Once I’ve done that, I’m going to write a book about it on how we can raise awareness surrounding the environment and help people protect the Earth. I want to donate the money I make from the book to different charities, one on each continent. The one I have picked out for Antarctica is Antarctica 2041, a group that has built a research station out there from recycled materials. I like to please people and watch faces drop when I tell them what I’ve done. I also like going through experiences that make everyone feel uplifted and let them know what kind of person I am. I’m not a wimp who can’t take anything, I can deal with things. I know now that I can do a lot.

Are there any specific companies or people you’d like to thank for their support in the projects that you’ve had or the work you’ve done?

Titan Dive GearOMSWeezleOtter Dry Suits, Oceanwide Expeditions and Elaine Jobin.

Evan discovering a Whale Bone off of Catalina Island, California - photo © Bozanic

Evan discovering a Whale Bone off of Laguna Beach, California - photo © Elaine Jobin

Follow Evan Bozanic’s adventures on his Blog
Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this article are © Bozanic, All Rights Reserved.

 

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9 Comments


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    avatar brett bozanic
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    kids pretty cool, dads not a bad guy either.


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    avatar Edward Tu
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Brave and Ambitious… Evan-AWESOME-Bozanic!!!


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    avatar Henry Tonnemacher
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    My first adventure with Evan was to Machu Pichu when he was only 2, he handled all the steep steps there amazingly well, I could tell by his abilities then that he would do many more adventures.


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    avatar Rebecca Gabriella
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Impressive and inspiring! May you always see the world as one incredible adventure after another waiting to be enjoyed. Well done Bozanics!


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    avatar Andy Sallmon
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    This is the most inspiring thing I have read about the future of diving for a long time. Excellent Evan!


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    avatar Steve
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    We, as neighbors, friends and a family have got to know the Bozanics not through diving but through every day life, they are an inspiration to us in the way they are raising their children. Truly a remarkable story from a very humble and modest person. Evan you are a tribute to your parents and siblings. I raise my hat to you sir.


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    avatar Brother-Man Vic
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    This kid is the pimp! I want to grow up one day and have the cajones this brother carries with him (not sure how he got back to surface with-’em). I have trouble getting in and out of the hot tub at the Y.


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    avatar Brad Bozanic
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Truly spectacular and amazing.
    You will probably have to tough it out and converse with adults. As it may be a while before
    you meet another 11 year old with similar experiences for you to relate to.


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    avatar bailey williams
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m doing a biography on you in class because you inspire me. And I was wondering what your date of birth is 🙂

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