Adventurous Spirit in the Big Blue Waters
Ah, sir, live in the bosom of the waters! There alone is independence. There I recognise no masters! There I am free. ?-Jules Verne, 2000 Leagues Under The Sea
The warm, clear-blue seas of the world beckon this southern beauty to their coral reefs, teeming with colorful life, splendor, and awe. Scuba diving since she was only 13-years-old, Meredith Wood has explored some of the most incredible places on our planet. "I have just been drawn to it. I want to get close to the marine life, to be right there with it." She continued in her soft-spoken voice, "I'm into the bigger-sized marine life, and I think, 'Will I see turtles, sharks, rays?'" Family vacations in Cancun as a kid, along with her marine biologist uncle, not only gave her the scuba bug, but she also dreamed of being a marine biologist when she was young.
In the spirit of adventure-and the confession that she went through a crazy phase in college-Meredith has gone cliff diving in Jamaica, swam with sharks in Australia, dove 120-feet down into the Blue Hole in Belize, and has gone repelling and mountain climbing. "I don't need to fulfill these crazy endeavors anymore. I'm a nurse practitioner now, and I know what can go wrong." Age and professional vocation has made Meredith more cautious and in tune with her real fears. But she will always scuba dive.
Her trip to Australia while she was in college offered her the greatest adventures, but also the realization of one of her greatest fears. On one excursion she spent three glorious days on a boat 18 hours offshore in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, diving everyday. "My favorite experience was swimming with the sharks. The chum was thrown off the boat to feed the sharks and the food was falling down all around us. They were reef sharks, so not as dangerous, and we sat on the bottom of the ocean, watching. It was really cool." She met her fear in skydiving. "I went skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef. It was beautiful, but I found out I'm deathly afraid of heights." It was a tandem jump so she didn't have to make the choice of jumping. She was strapped to her instructor. "Once the parachute was pulled I calmed down and it was amazing. The free-fall was terrifying!"
She still centers her vacations around diving. She is an obsessive planner and researches for weeks and weeks in advance. Meredith's destination bucket list: Her number one choice is the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt. "It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful reefs in the world, rivaling Australia's." But due to unrest in the region, she'll have to wait. "The Maldives, south of India, may be my next choice because the reefs are dying due to climate change, and may not be around much longer." Another choice is off the coast of Thailand. "I'm a warm-water diver. I don't typically go deep because the water gets cold and really the beauty is up closer to the surface," she explained.
In her short 29 years, Meredith has seen, experienced, and achieved more things than many people do in a lifetime. She just completed her doctorate at MUSC last month. "I don't know what to do with myself. I have had no time for a social life, so I look forward to playing tennis again, getting out on the water, and taking my three dogs to the beach." In short, Meredith is just gearing up to dive into the rest of her life!
Hometown: Grew up in North Augusta, SC, but her parents had a house in North Forest Beach, so she spent a lot of time on Hilton Head. She has lived in Bluffton for three years.
Schooling: "I went to Clemson for my undergraduate work. Many people in my family earned degrees at Clemson, including both of my parents. We're huge Clemson fans! I received my masters and doctorate from MUSC in Charleston."
Loves her job: "My job at Global Family Medicine in Bluffton is always interesting. Everyday is different." She's been a nurse practitioner there for 2Ω years.
Reading: One of the most interesting books she's read was about the death of kings; it detailed the health history of all the monarchs. The most common cause of death? Murder. She reads at least a book a week, and her favorites are biographies, history, and historical fiction.