Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Pau Hana with John Thielst

Photos: Courtesy John Thielst

If you look at John Thielst today, sitting in an office in downtown Honolulu, you would never imagine his previous career.

The managing principal of Coffman Engineers, a Honolulu-based engineering consulting firm, once worked almost entirely underwater.

Photo: Courtesy John Thielst

For about three decades, Thielst, 53, was a commercial diver basically, an underwater laborer – sometimes diving to depths of 850 feet to work on offshore rigs and equipment, even living in a pressurized chamber for two weeks.

“I’m a water person. I like being on or in or under the water,” he says. “I miss (commercial diving) every single day.”

Diving remains one of Thielst’s passions. He has dived around the world, from work sites off Nigeria and South America to wrecks around Oahu. One of his fondest memories is diving through the enormous kelp forests and vibrant marine life around the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.

“Going through the kelp forest is like walking through the giant sequoias (in the Sierra Nevada),” he says. “They were cathedral-like and cast different shadows.”

He went on his last commercial dive at age 50. Now he dives for fun and surfs whenever he gets a chance.

“When you’re diving, everything is pristine and very real. The whole ecosystem is in balance and it’s doing its thing. We’re just visitors down there and looking around.”

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Add your comment:


Don't Miss an Issue!
Hawaii Business,November