Our ScubaCo Diving Professionals
We are ScubaCo Diving & Travel – unique, boutique, magnifique! As a small family ourselves, each client arrives as a guest and leaves as part of the clan. We take pride and have passion for what we do – a point that’s apparent in our emphasis in safety, clean, high caliber facilities, and the amount of uninhibited fun we have on a daily basis. You can read more about what makes us tick here.
Below you will find some juicy tidbits about the people that make it all possible!
Dean has been involved in the diving industry in Umkomaas and South Africa for over 20 years. He has skippered dive boats at Aliwal Shoal, Sodwana Bay, Mozambique and the notorious launch at Port St Johns for the Sardine Run since 1994.
He is a qualified PADI Instructor and has a real ” soft spot” for Aliwal Shoal. ScubaCo Diving & Travel is his passion and sharing this special place with our clients is what he loves to do. He enjoys spending time with our guests above and below the water and sharing his experiences with everyone.
Dean spent a few years in the corporate sector and this has added immense value to the way in which ScubaCo Diving & Travel is run. With a passion for customer service and scuba diving, his enthusiasm and professionalism will have you returning to dive with us time and again.
Tamara has been a PADI instructor since 2002. Diving is her number one passion and she feels that there is nothing more exciting than to see the awe in a student’s face as the they experience the underwater world for the first time.
Scuba diving opened a whole new world for Tamara and through her teaching and hard work she has travelled the world on cruise ships both teaching and exploring the globe.
Having visited over 100 countries, participating in more than 2500 excursions around the world, she has gained invaluable experience and insights into working with different cultures. Making her our destination specialist… When it comes to travel and diving she is the one to ask.
Passionate about scuba diving and travel Tamara’s enthusiasm is contagious! Her high level of service generates a sense of excitement and expectation in both.
JP has been diving since October 2015 and since then he’s been hooked on scuba diving. The following year he did his Dive Master internship and qualified as a DM in July 2016. Currently, he’s looking forward to becoming an instructor in the spring. He has done 200+ dives on Aliwal Shoal and has one years’ experience in leading our baited shark diving.
He’s energetic and loves to talk to people that come from around the world and to hear about their traveling experiences. He’s a hard working person and thrives on giving clients the best possible experience on Aliwal shoal and to share his knowledge about Aliwal Shoal and the sharks we have here on the shoal.
He also has a diploma in coaching science and has been a sports coach for two years working with children and adults. This thought him how important team work and communication is in a team!
Lindsay started diving in 2014 off the coast of California in the beautiful kelp forests of Catalina Island, where she grew up and attended the University of Southern California. During these years she was heavily involved in archaeological and biological research diving in Sicily, California, and Palau, which vastly developed her understanding and appreciation of the marine environment and prepared her to share her passion with all who dive with her!
Upon graduating with two degrees in archaeology and biology respectively, she realized her passion for teaching diving and decided to peruse a PADI Professional certification. She has been fortunate to dive in many places around the world, most recently enjoying the tropical waters in Bali for her PADI instructor training. However, after falling in love with the spectacular aquatic life on Aliwal Shoal during her Divemaster course in 2016, she finds herself back here and living the dream. She eagerly looks forward to educating and introducing each guest to the beauty that the underwater world of South Africa has to offer.
Ernest started working at ScubaCo in December 2016 after coming from Sodwana where he also worked in the dive industry. He grew up in Empangeni with 5 sisters and 3 brothers and his mom. In 1995 he joined Pisces dive center, as an oil-filler. The owner took him under his wing and taught him the many skills he now uses today.
Ernie met Tam while he was working in Sodwana and he was helping clients at Coral Divers. 16 years later Ernie is now at ScubaCo , he’s an integral part of our daily operation, for our maintenance and upkeep of the dive center and the equipment as well as our cheerful attitude and high regard for safety!
What we do isn’t possible without the full staff, so make sure you keep scrolling to learn about our office mates that we really can’t replace!
Oceanic Blacktip – Carcharhinus limbatus,Pictured here is Smiley – with that distinctive grin, she’s a hard one to miss. Smiley is known to come round with her colleagues for some sardine treats on our bated dives. A succinct example of how humans can impact sharks, and a lucky duck, (or shark…) to live the life she does!
Tiger Shark – Galeocerdo cuvier!These sleek beauties come around on baited dives during our summer months here in the southern hemisphere when the water warms to the mid 20’s. They command respect with their mass and elegance, though they are also known to be quite shy. To say the least, it’s a rush and a treat to share the water with these creatures.
These guys all start out as gals, and the males of the species are known for their colorful appearance once they’ve changed from females. Some, such as the Harlequin Goldies are endemic to the KZN waters, and thus far have only been found on deep wrecks such as the Produce.
Pineapple fish – Cleidopus gloriamarisA unique little fish with hard, pointed spines and a glowing mouth. The green or red glow is a result of bioluminescent bacteria that live symbiotically in organs next to the mouth of the fish. These little guys are quite shy and difficult to spot, but come try your luck with our talented divemasters.
Trumpet fish – Alostomus chinensisThis fella has a fascinating habit of turning vertical in the water column and changing colors when he’s hunting. This technique fools small fish and other prey by disguising him as a strange yellow splot rather than a hungry predator.
Nudibranchs – various sp.Nudibranchs come in all shapes, colors and sizes, but the one characteristic they share is that they’re all striking. A sea slug named for their exposed gas exchange organs (Naked gills), they have a habit of weaponizing their food. They are known to use stingers, venom and other chemicals from hydroids, jellies, sponges, and even their own species as defenses incorporated into their own anatomy. Their coloration makes for striking photographs if you’re lucky enough to find one!
Turtles –Dermochelys coriacea, Eretmochelys imbricate, Chelonia mydas, Caretta caretta, and Lepidochelys olivacea, or Leather back, Hawksbill, Green Sea, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley turtles respectively. These charming, grandfather-ly sea creatures are all on the Vulnerable to Critically Endangered species list, yet the bustling shoal offers divers a chance to find them. While they’re in the neighborhood, they stop to munch on algae, crustaceans, insects, seagrass and worms among other tasty morsels.
Humpback whales – Megaptera novaeangliae.These guys are strictly migratory out here on the shoal, but during the winter months divers may be fortunate to hear their song as they pass by. Events such as Sardine Run also offer opportunities to get in the water with them, so there’s no reason to rule out an encounter!
Rays, eels, feather stars, sea stars etc. – with the incredible biodiversity of marine life out here on the shoal, the list is never-ending. Come take the PADI Fish ID, Shark Aware, or Fish Aware specialty to earn a deeper understanding of the characters mentioned above! Join us as ambassadors of the sea in promoting conservation and appreciation of the critters that make our ocean colorful, put food on our tables, and fill our hearts with joy.