WA’s Only Female Abalone Diver is Alex Pere
Meet Alex Pere, 27, Western Australia’s only female abalone diver and the state’s unlikeliest gender equality campaigner. Pere is the newest recruit at Ocean Grown Abalone, an abalone “ranch” in the waters of Augusta’s Flinders Bay.
She spends hours at a time in the frigid seas doing often-gruelling work of harvesting abalone, re-seeding the artificial reef blocks that the shellfish grow on, and scrubbing the blocks clean of weed and growth.
Aside from the cold water and physical work, there’s the ever-present threat of sharks, though Pere wears an electronic repellent and the boat crew have a shark cage on standby if a predator is spotted.
She says a lifelong love affair with the ocean led her to commercial diving, which she describes as a dream job.
And being the only woman diving for abalone in WA doesn’t faze her either.
She urged other young women to follow their career dreams, regardless of whether the path lay in a male-dominated field.
“It’s about what you want to do and what you want in life. Just go for it,” Pere said, who has also worked as a dive instructor, cleaning the hulls of superyachts in Sydney, and on salmon farms in Tasmania, after completing commercial dive training in 2012.
She has moved to WA with her partner Tom Wall, who is also a diver at Ocean Grown Abalone.
The pair eventually plan to buy their own vessel and travel the world on the open seas.
Original article by Trevor Paddenburg, PerthNow, July 1, 2017.
Photo by Russell Ord.