Meet The Dive Team - Neil Scarlett

Meet The Scuba Leeds Dive Team - Neil Scarlett

Meet the Dive Team - Mike Chatwood the man known as Captain Scarlett. So tell us.....

When did you start diving?

I did my first dive as a DSD in 2008. I decided there and then to learn but it took me 3 years to book a course – I went to Dahab to do my Open water.

What made you start diving?

I went to the Rugby league world cup in 2008 – a long dreamed of ambition for me. During the break between the quarter finals and the semi finals we went to Cairns. One of the scheduled excursions was a snorkeling trip in the Great Barrier Reef….they also gave you the option to do a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience and it blew my mind. My personal blog just said..”best day out……ever’. I saw a Green turtle and interacted with a Remora. Unforgettable.

Where and when was your last logged dive?

Outside of UK training my last personal dive experience was on the Scuba Leeds January Liveabord trip to Egypt. It was a super week of wrecks and reefs – 2 great dives on Thistlegorm were memorable as was a superb drift dive from The Barge to Bluff Point on Ghubal island.

Dive goals?

Loads – to go back to the best places I have dived – Scapa, Truk and to dive more destinations. Galapagos is a personal goal – I’d love to see the schooling Hammerheads. On a professional level –I plan to complete my PADI IDC Staff Instructor course quite soon.

What keeps you diving and how do you keep the passion?

I enjoy training new people and introducing them to the great experience of scuba diving – I have made so many new friends all around the world diving. On a personal level, I cant think of any dive which I haven’t enjoyed at some level – I love the peaceful serenity you experience when your buoyancy is just set and you drift along – all other worries and issues disappear. Your always likely to see something beautiful, wonderful or exciting…sometimes all 3 – from the smallest Nudibranch to a huge wreck.

Favourite dive site?

UK – I love diving the Farnes – seals are like ‘Underwater labradoors’. Regular overseas – any in Sal, cape verde ( I have lots of friends and its great diving with them any site anytime). One off overseas – I think it would have to be the Hanu Maru in Truk Lagoon – still full of cargo 70 years after being sunk.

Favourite piece of dive equipment?

That’s a tough call – my 3600 lumens torch is a newest toy but I reckon its my Hollis Explorer SCR

You recently qualified as a Rebreather Diver. How did you find that?

Weird at first – breathing has no impact on your buoyancy so you have to relearn how to dive – especially going over/under objects. Once you get that you notice mostly how quiet it is…..open circuit is noisy. Its also the extended bottom times the units give you that make it worthwhile. You can also get really close to marine life – I managed to get within 5m of a female Scalloped Hammerhead in Egypt recently that remains one of my most treasured memories……
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