PINE RIVER -- If you're looking for Mary Hendricks, she's probably out diving.
The Pine River woman took scuba diving lessons nine years ago when her youngest daughter, Katherine, now 23, wanted to become a certified diver.
"I just took the lessons because she wanted to do it," Hendricks said. "But the first time I saw fish, I was hooked."
Hendricks now dives at least once or twice a week at area lakes in the summer, particularly at the mine pits in Crosby, and has been to Lake Superior and Lake Huron. She also travels to Cozumel, Mexico, a couple of times a year to dive among the beautiful reefs on the west side of the island. She just returned Jan. 26 from a two-week trip to Cozumel where she rented an underwater camera to take photographs of the marine life around her.
Mary Hendricks, Pine River, looked at slides from a recent trip to Cozumel, Mexico. She rented an underwater camera to take underwater photographs of marine life. (Dispatch Photo by Steve Kohls)
"The fish are so curious that they come right up to you," said Hendricks. "A big barracuda posed for me. He got right up into my face."
Last summer she was diving in the mine pits near Crosby when she ended up face-to-face underwater with a loon as it swam close by her as if trying to figure out what Hendricks was doing.
"That was a real high for me," Hendricks said of her underwater loon encounter.
A few years ago she traveled to islands in Micronesia, specifically to Truk Lagoon and Palau, to go scuba diving with other divers from the Minnesota School of Diving in Brainerd. Hendricks also has worked as a divemaster for the diving school and has taken groups of certified divers out to the Crosby mine pits.
A soaring hawksbill turtle, captured underwater by Mary Hendricks, Pine River.
Hendricks, who is co-owner of Cass County Abstract and Title Co. in Walker, hopes to buy her own underwater camera equipment. She also wants to go diving at the Galapagos Islands one day. Her husband, Bill, and daughters, Stephanie, 27, and Katherine, 23, are glad she has found such a unique interest.
"They think it's pretty cool," said Hendricks. "It's good exercise and it's fun."
Mary Hendricks, Pine River, photographed this school of blue-striped grunts while scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico.
A French angel emerged from a small tunnel in a coral head along the reefs in Cozumel for Mary Hendricks to photograph.
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