MEET THE TEAM – MARK CATO
This month’s “Meet the Team” features Mark Cato one of our PADI Instructors, our Social Media Guru and our lead Sidemount Instructor! We asked Cato (as he is best known around these parts) about his take on diving.
When did you start diving? First try dive was in Egypt when I was 17 or 18, something like that. I booked onto my PADI Open Water Diver referral course in the summer of 2011, I did my open water dives in Portugal.
What made you start diving? I have snorkelled since I was 8 when I had the chance to snorkel with sharks at a theme park in America. I think this really got me interested in the ocean, then I snorkelled on every holiday after that pretty much. I just like the water!
Where and when was your last logged dive/dive related experience? Last logged dive was a Eccy Delph for a fun dive on 7th February with Sally Ball and Dave Shaw (who both had dry gloves, mine have been ordered today hahaha).
Dive goals? I guess my goals include trips that I am booked onto. My goals include dive destinations and dive sites that I haven’t visited before. I am booked to go to the Sound of Mull in May 2016, the Red Sea in October 2016, and Scapa Flow in June 2017. So for me my goals are about diving places that I haven’t been before.
What keeps you diving and how do you keep the passion? I think that passing on my enthusiasm and love of the underwater world to others is one thing that keeps me diving. I get a kick out of teaching, especially Sidemounts, and sharing what I love with others
Favourite dive site? The best diving I did last year was up at Scapa Flow with the brilliant Emily Turton aboard the 1 week old (at the time) MV Huskyan Emily provides without a doubt the best briefings I have ever been privy too, suffice as to say we’ve booked to be back there next summer.
There are some brilliant dive sites up there my favourites were the Markgraff and the Brummer http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com/
Favourite piece of equipment? I spend ages researching every piece of kit that I purchase. I love my Hollis Sidemount Harness, and it has never let me down, but my Othree Drysuit has definitely accompanied me on more dives than other purchase –saying that I have just decided to upgrade the wrist seals on it to have the Kubi Dryglove system fitted to it.
So…Sidemount Diving….whats all that about then? I had barely finished my PADI Advanced Open Water; when I saw Alex and Dave playing with Sidemount (SM) diving, and so by dive No 11 I was on a SM try dive, and before Dive No 17 I had finished the course. Since then I have dived around 80% of my dives on SM.
Most people think SM diving is just for technical uses or cave diving -don’t get me wrong it was initial developed for these purposes; but it is also awesome when used for recreational diving. Buoyancy and trim in the water just feel really natural, and the extra flexibility underwater is brilliant, if you don’t believe me, why not give it at try?
If your interested in trying out Sidemount we now offer Sidemount Try Dives on this and other ways of diving with redundant air sources. Contact Ben at the shop for details or to book a try dive with Cato.