Kitty Philips is a 7th generation Floridian, growing up around the water in the Florida Panhandle. She met her husband Jeffrey and married him in 1981. She received SCUBA lessons as a wedding gift from one of Jeffrey’s friends. After learning to dive, she dove with Jeffrey for 10 years in the springs around north Florida. Then in 1984 they began diving in salt water and her love for the ocean became apparent. After numerous dives and working as an Assistant Instructor beside Jeffrey she became a PADI instructor in 1987.
The pair operated a dive charter boat out of West Palm Beach, Florida for several years. Then the call came to dive other places around the world. They wanted to set up a dive travel company. But after a while, they realized they could not do both and continue to work full time in corporate America. So they decided to travel for a while, showing groups of fellow divers how wonderful the ocean is and how diverse the life in the sea can be.
During all of this diving – Kitty has about 2,000 logged dives – she became interested in the marine life and joined REEF, an educational organization that counts fish. So on most dives and snorkel dives she can be seen with her pencil and slate in hand counting the different species of fishes on the reef and in the sand. She also notes interesting invertebrates or behavior and then sends the information along to REEF for input into their database.
Also along the way, she became a Coast Guard Captain, running the dive boat on the weekends. It did not take her long to realize that being a captain meant less diving time! On a beautiful day, everyone else wanted to be in the water. But they all volunteered to be the captain when the weather was cold and rough or the visibility was poor.
In addition to a love of the sea, Kitty also loves horses. She has 2 of her own and enjoys trail riding one or the other of them. She also enjoys taking horseback trips in other countries. She has been to Ireland and Canada as well as several places in the Western United States, enjoying her time on horseback.
She is a Florida Master Naturalist instructor and teaches classes on the weekends in partnership with another instructor. In her free time, she is a member of 5 local plant societies and helps a friend sell plants at shows around the state. Oh, and she is still employed in corporate America full time.