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‘There’s a whole other world’ under Idaho’s waters and this man wants you to experience it through diving

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SHELLEY – For Kory Christensen, there’s nothing better than the peaceful serenity of life underwater.

The 32-year-old combat veteran from Shelley grew up in his parent’s scuba diving instruction business, Inland Scuba Inc., which took him to places around the globe. He was the third 10-year-old in the nation to become certified once it became the minimum age requirement.

His parents closed the business in 2012, but he re-launched it in February after spending five years as a diving instructor in San Francisco.

“I was working about 90 hours a week, and I figured if I was going to work that hard, I might as well (have) my own business. I had a lot of friends and a lot of other people who were divers ask me to come and re-open Inland Scuba,” Christensen tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Kory’s parents, Keith and Patty Christensen, used to work full-time for the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. Keith was part of the search and rescue dive team. He loved it so much that opening a side scuba business just made sense. Patty quit her job as a dispatcher to run the business full-time.

After high school, Kory enlisted in the military and did a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Inland Scuba had been a family business from the beginning, but when all the kids were grown, the Christensens decided to close up shop.

As a disabled military veteran, Kory says diving has been helpful in dealing with PTSD and other mental health challenges.

“It’s peaceful down there. There are no cell phones, no sudden sounds. All you hear is your breathing and the water,” Kory says. “And the great thing is there is no weight underwater. I have disc problems and being under the water takes (the pain) away.”

Kory says diving feels like flying because “you’re never on the bottom and you kick right along on top of everything.”

One of his most memorable diving experiences was seeing the remains of a crash from World War II at the bottom of Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia.

“We actually got to go inside and see everything (80 to 100 feet under the ocean). We got a glimpse of the history and what happened,” he says.

Japan took control of Micronesia during World War I and used it as a naval base in World War II, one website points out. More than 40,000 men were stationed there at the time.

During Operation Hailstone on Feb. 17, 1944, the U.S. attacked the island, destroying at least 250 Japanese planes, 50 ships and killing thousands.

To this day, it’s regarded as “the biggest graveyard of ships in the world.”

truk lagoon skull
A scuba diver finds a human skull in Truk Lagoon. | Stock image taken from allthatsinteresting.com. No copyright infringement is intended.

“They already removed all the (human) remains and gave them proper burials. There is one boat that has a couple of skulls fused to the metal from the explosion,” says Kory. “It was really cool to go inside a wreck and see how they designed everything (back then).”

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Despite what critics say, Kory says there are a lot of great diving locations in Idaho. You don’t have to be a good swimmer to participate.

Classes are held twice a week, and Kory takes an international diving trip with a group every year.

“I’ve been doing this all my life. I love diving and I love seeing people get excited about it,” he says.

Kory also sells and rents diving gear in a storefront at 1557 North 800 East in Shelley. See it in the video above.

To register or learn more, visit the website or call (208) 521-3835.

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