Jon is a CCR and technical diving instructor trainer who brings 30 years of diving and boating experience to the team. He has been involved with scientific diving for the past 12 years, primarily focused on the technical, logistical and safety elements of many varied projects.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I have so many! One that stands out for me is a sailing trip out to dive Bassas da India, which lies about halfway between Mozambique (where I lived for 12 years) and Madagascar.
Bassas is an uninhabited atoll, formed by a volcano, which rises from the sea bed at 3000 meters to just breaking the surface. It is difficult to find a more remote or more pristine part of the Indian Ocean, the diving was out of this world and the fantastic sense of isolation was surreal.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I love to experience new locations and cultures and it is great to get into the Caribbean vibe! Carriacou has that lovely old-world charm of a bygone age which is hard to find nowadays. Getting back into sailing after a bit of a hiatus is my short term goal, the region is awash with boats and boaters!
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
The large number of return students we get speaks volumes for their enjoyment of their time spent here. As I write this, we have 1 return student working here as a dive instructor and a couple who have come back for a holiday. It seems like every month we have at least 1 person coming to dive who was previously a student here.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
That would depend on previous diving experience. A qualified diver would want to get straight into marine fieldwork, learn scientific diving techniques and data collection/entry techniques, possibly rounding this off with some higher-level diving qualifications.
Non-divers would want to start with their Open Water dive course before getting into the scientific fieldwork. As our structure allows for both these groups, students just decide where they ''get on'' to the course and how long they want to stay.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
We are a group of passionate divers, conservationists, and scientists with incredibly diverse backgrounds and skillsets. For me, it is really gratifying to see local staff get enthusiastic about conserving the underwater world and being part of their progression as professional divers, skippers and the conservationists of tomorrow.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Good open and honest communication is vital not just for a company, but for daily life. Many problems stem from poor communication, conflict can arise over misunderstandings and no team endeavor can succeed if all members are not clear about objectives and roles.
Scientific research is also of far more important when the results are in the public domain, enabling people to make informed decisions and policies.