Katie Yonker

 

A Brief Bio:

Katie is the Director of Operations for Bluewater Travel. Her interest in scuba diving started many years ago while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands. Though not yet certified, she was mesmerized by the marine life below the surface. As soon as she returned to Los Angeles, she swapped her mask and snorkel for a regulator and BCD (and a mountain of other dive equipment) and hasn't looked back since! 

Katie is no stranger to the Southern California waters, but prefers to travel around the world and experience new cultures, food, and marine environments. Her most memorable dive moment was swimming 20 feet from humpback whales off the coast of Moorea. At the top of the list for her next dive vacation: returning to Raja Ampat.

When she's not in the office, you're likely to find Katie attending a concert in LA, snowboarding at Mammoth, attending to Sadie, or cheering on her alma mater, The Michigan Wolverines. Go Blue!

 

Upcoming Trip:

Socorro, March 18 - 27, 2020

 

Katie's underwater camera setup:

Panasonic Lumix GH4 with Nauticam GH4 housing. Olympus M.Zuiko ED 9-18mm lens with Nauticam 4" wide angle port. Panasonic Lumix 8mm fisheye lens with Natuicam 4" dome port. Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm lens with Nauticam macro port 65, with Bluewater +7 macro lens. Dual Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobes. Light & Motion Sola 800 photo light.

 

Testimonials:

  • "I first dealt with Katie almost three years ago when I wanted to join the November 2013 group trip to Anilao after the deadline for the trip had passed. Not only was I able to get on the trip but I had a lot of advice and recommendations about where to stay during the trip. After the trip was over, I provided her with feedback about things that went wrong as well as went right. She was happy to get that feedback.
  • Since that time, I have had multiple diving trips that were arranged by Katie. I am always amazed at her fast response time and the completeness of her answers to questions that I would have. Her honesty makes me feel that she looking out for me and giving me options and alternatives to consider. And that is why I continue to use her in planning my diving trips.
  • But I had also gone on trips where Katie is the trip leader. In fact, I pay special attention to the trips that she leads because I know that it will be a wonderful trip. She sets the tone for the group with her enthusiasm and friendliness. But I go on her trips because of her low key approach. Unlike other group trips that have a lot of review and critiques of photos taken during the day, Katie just wants everyone to have a good time and enjoy the experience. If anything needs to be taken care of during the trip, she will handle it. That is all that I want from the trip. And hope to go on more trips with her....such as the upcoming trip to the Maldives and Cuba." - Franklin Mah
  • "Katie Yonker and Blue Water Dive Travel go above and beyond what any other travel agent and group leader I have ever used have done.  On the first trip I booked through her, with 3 friends from different parts of the country, so many things went wrong, none of which were Blue Water Dive Travel’s fault, including the liveaboard not being prepared for a new itinerary and last minute changes made by customs and immigration in the country to which we were travelling. 
  • 4 days before we were leaving, the liveaboard personnel advised Katie that they could no longer get our Visas for us, and we were on our own. The liveaboard got paid in full for our very expensive trips, and there would be no refund if we could not get the last minute Visas. As we had booked the trip 5 months prior, this was extremely aggravating and stressful.  It was a Thursday night, and the only embassy was in DC. Katie and her team spent hours on the phone with the embassy, where the only person in charge of Visas was not going to be there on Monday, the day before we were scheduled to leave. 
  • Blue Water Dive Travel offered to pay the agent to go into work for an hour just for us and pleaded with her to try to get anyone else to do it, which she eventually did.  Blue Water emailed us FedEx overnight labels for all of the shipments we had to make, and paid for our visas on top of it all. We got them back just in time, thanks to Blue Water Dive travel. 
  • I know the other guests on the boat, were on their own for the same problem, and were out thousands of dollars rerouting their trips to find an embassy on the way. One of my friends on the trip had an emergency and had to go home after the first part, and Katie got her a hotel and new flights quickly.  In the end, we had an excellent trip!
  • Every trip I have booked since has had its share of complications with flights, as the best diving is not easy to get to and Katie has always found a way to make everything work including making awesome recommendations on hotels and post dive land excursions.  I am looking forward to my first trip with Blue Water Dive Travel and Katie to the Philippines. I have to say, I will never use any other agency again, and I am so grateful I found them.
  • Thank you Blue Water Dive Travel and Katie for everything!!" - Erica Fleck - Boston, MA
  • "Katie (and BWDT) is my go-to resource for dive trips, and I can recommend them unequivocally!  Buddies and I have booked several trips through Katie, and could not be happier!  Those trips include Guadalupe for great white sharks (which Katie led and where I met her), Cayman Aggressor, a Philippines trip, an upcoming Cuba trip, and two more upcoming Philippines trips, one led by Katie and one for which I'm chartering an entire liveaboard through BWDT. 
  • In planning all of these trips (as well as a few others that we ended up not doing), Katie and the BWDT website have served as a wealth of information!  The site has extensive information about virtually every dive destination in the world, as well as resorts and liveaboards at each, and Katie offers additional insights and research to help me make decisions and ensure that the trip goes as planned!  In several instances, Katie has made suggestions that saved us considerable money (and made her and BWDT less), so I totally trust that she has my best interests in mind, not her own.  Sadly, nowadays it's hard to find people/companies about which one can say that." - Bruce Yates
  • "My first BWT trip in 2016 to the Maldives was my introduction to the group liveaboard dive experience. Initially apprehensive and uncertain, I quickly found the ease of booking and absence of effort researching trip logistics, itineraries and charters refreshing. I quickly booked another trip to Guadalupe in Sept 2016 for their Great White Shark adventure (a trip that solidified my allegiance to BWT). Being impressed by both experiences (BWT trips are well organized, conservationally minded, welcoming and fun) encouraged me to book two more trips - French Polynesia in Sept 2017 & Galapagos in May 2018. Each of these trips, in their entirety, far exceeded my expectations. I found the excellence of boat, crew, dive masters and guides that BWT utilizes comforting. I am now booked on two future trips with BWT to PNG in Sept 2018 and Raja Ampat in Mar 2019, confident that I will again be given the opportunity to witness the best that these destinations have to offer - without requiring the usual legwork and uncertainties on my part.
  • Although destination travel is full of complications, the staff at BWT is remarkably capable of putting these trips together. I know that if I get myself to the assigned meeting point, I can be assured that all other details regarding my dive trip will have been addressed. No small feat considering the many foreign destinations BWT offers and one that I fully appreciate. It’s relieving to know I have BWT working for me.
  • BWT delivers high-quality professional service and experiences that are worth my valuable investment of time and money. I look forward to exploring many more future destinations with BWT. I can’t thank or recommend BWT enough, and Katie Yonker in particular, who has thoroughly and thoughtfully led all my trips to date." - John Estrada

 

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