Many people might know me as ‘Sidemount Bob’ as you can see from my picture, there’s no need to ask why… 😉 and my passion for diving precedes me.
Since my first try-dive in 1999, people have struggled to keep me out of the water…even Capernwray staff have to kick me out so they can go home !!!
My fascination of diving has always been about the feeling of weightlessness in water. Other than jumping out of an aircraft or being in space…scuba diving seemed the safest way to feel it.
The beauty of the underwater world never ceases to amaze me, whether it’s the fragile, colourful corals of our seas or the awe of the remote, stunning speleology decorating the caves systems around the world. I’m equally as happy being mesmerised by the gracefulness, elegance and beauty of marine life, as I am in the eerie silence of the deep.
It’s this obsession which led me to take the plunge…excuse the pun…and become an instructor. I was spending that much time under water, I figured passing my knowledge and experience on to others whilst I was down there would be time well spent. The greatest reward I get from teaching is helping people to overcome their fears to allow them to enjoy this peaceful, new found world as much as I do.
My intrigue into various kit and configurations led me to research the theory, understanding, practicalities and advantages of Sidemount diving. Something my ever aging back will be eternally grateful for. It has also allowed me to explore previously inaccessible places whilst diving backmount wouldn’t. Click here to read more about Sidemount.
It’s always been in my nature to push myself to the limit, setting new goals to see what I’m able to achieve. That’s why after years spent admiring magnificent photos of underwater caves, I decided it was time to visit the real thing for myself. Knowing how dangerous these environments can be, it was essential to be properly trained and prepared so I sought out training to become a fully qualified cave diver. Many years later and being priviledged to have dived some pretty awesome caves, I’m always seeking out new cave systems to explore. Click here to read about Apeks Cave Exploration Project. Having dived Sidemount almost continuously for many years now, these two aspects of diving, Sidemount and cave go hand in hand.
I’m a Recreational, Technical and Cave diving Instructor Trainer, co-owner and director of training for RAID UK & Malta training agency, a key member of the “Apeks Cave Exploration” and “Apeks Tek Testing” teams, exploring newly discovered cenotes in the Yucatan district, Mexico as well as mines and caves in UK and Spain. Several years ago, I successfully completed my MOD2 CCR course on a Sentinel Rebreather, this led to some testing and development on a Sidemount Rebreather in Malta. Currently, I’m diving the latest digital JJ CCR and the new Sentinel REDBARE. My preferred choice of configuration though, will always be Sidemount, including staging my deco cylinders in true Sidemount style. Accessibility of all my equipment is key, demonstrating this perfectly whilst at 100m on CCR using 4 bailout cylinders. Relaxing and enjoying the dives is exactly what it’s all about, right?
There’s not many people who have the privilege to be able to call this surreal, enticing and inspiring underwater realm ….their ‘office. I’m humbled every time I’m in it… that’s why I enjoy my ‘job’. ”