Hi! My name is Alexa Krakowiak and my start into diving and Lionfish might not be what you think. I didn’t grow up diving, I never had the urge to be a Marine Biologist, but I did grow up a water baby and loved the feeling of the ocean and the calm it gave me. I attended Emerson College in Boston, MA and majored in Marketing Communications with a minor in Psychology. I worked in various advertising agencies for about 4 years in Louisville, KY and San Diego, CA. In 2016, my sister and I decided to move back from California to Florida to be closer to family and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to backpack Thailand for a few months.
The only thing I insisted on doing while we were there was getting Open Water certified. We scheduled our course with Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand. After the first day in the pool, I was sold. We stayed and did our Advanced Open Water immediately after and ended up changing the rest of our travel plans to just dive everywhere we could while on the other side of the world. Once returning back to the states, I left my marketing background and have never looked back. I am currently a PADI MSDT, can teach over 15 specialties, lost count of my dives after 1,000, and get to dive almost every day, all day.
The first time I saw a Lionfish I was doing my Divemaster training here in Miami Beach and I thought, “Oh my gosh, what a beautiful fish!”, two second later, there comes a spear and frantic divers coming to de-spine and contain said beautiful fish right in front of my eyes. I swear the regulator almost fell out of my mouth! I was shocked. Why would anyone want to harm such a gorgeous creature?
I got involved in participating in REEF Lionfish Derbies. I was just brought on as a spotter, but on a shallow reef they dropped us to scout and then send up a bag if we found a lot. We didn’t, but we did find one, I will never forget the feeling of spearing my first Lionfish. WHAT A RUSH.
After that I became fascinated, some would say obsessed, but tomato, tomato. I wanted to hunt Lionfish at all times. Not only for the fun of hunting but also how much it can help our reefs and marine ecosystem by bringing light to this insanely, incredible invasion and eradicating this alien species.
My boss told me I couldn’t hunt while I was teaching, so I decided to write my own PADI Distinctive Specialty, Invasive Lionfish Containment Diver. My course would teach divers how to correctly spot, spear, shear, and share Lionfish. My fascination then most definitely turned into obsession. I was constantly researching articles and staying up to date on what was happening with this worldwide Lionfish invasion.
I find Lionfish to be the most amazing creatures and the perfect invaders but unfortunately, they have to go. I focus my efforts on teaching my Lionfish course as well as running Lionfish Derbies. A lot of people hunt for Lionfish, but what do you do after we have caught them?
Lionfish are VENOMOUS not POISONOUS, so we can eat them! They are delicious, a white flakey fish, similar to Hogfish or Snapper. As a wise divemaster once told me, they taste like