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Scuba Diving Crew
The Team Bio
Aqua Cat has been rated #1 by the readers of Scuba Diving magazine for BEST CREW! We have found few other recreational activities where the general public relies so heavily on the professionals in charge for their enjoyment and safety. For this reason, we have assembled a top notch team to meet your every need on board!
We have the most dynamic team of talented individuals on board and their goal is to be sure your trip is one that you will never forget! Their gracious ways and outgoing attitudes make guests on board feel like family in no time. Each brings something unique to the team. Check out this team bio to find out more about all of our crazy awesome team members!
Captain Ron McCaslin – 23 years and counting! Captain Ron has been captain aboard The Aqua Cat since she was commissioned in 2001 and with us at Blackbeard’s Cruises since 1992. Hot Texas summers led to lifeguarding and later a Scuba Instructor in 1981 while finishing a Chemistry degree at Texas University. Ron holds a 1600 ton license from the US Coast Guard and when not aboard is trying to escape his “honey do list” in Tallahassee, FL, by riding motorcycles, hunting, or woodworking.
Captain Des Greyling – Des is from Port Elizabeth, South Africa where he grew up loving the ocean. He began his career on the Aqua Cat in 2005 as a dive instructor. Previous to working on the Aqua Cat, Des was an instructor in South Africa and Thailand. On the Aqua Cat he worked his way up to first mate before becoming the captain on the Cat Ppalu in 2010. He was promoted captain on the Aqua Cat in 2012. After working in the real world and aging behind a computer, he decided to set sail and search for the eternal fountain of youth. His travels took many years and many miles but he finally found the fountain of youth here in the Bahamas and ever since has been getting younger.
First Mate Carlis Harrell – Carlis is from somewhere and has his associates degree in Mixed Gas Theory. Everyone calls him Car-Car for short. he likes to play with fire- poi that is! He also enjoys long walks on the beach and sailing. You would never guess he likes to sleep in pink tutus! He’s traveled thru most of North America, Germany, Italy and a lot of the Caribbean.
Diego Cortiza – Diego Cortiza is from Sao Paulo, Brazil and has a degree in International Business. His first diving experience was recommended to him for medical reasons as a stress reliever! He is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with 14 years as an active DI with many specialty courses to offer! He loves diving and sharing his passion for diving more than anything else. When not diving, he enjoys traveling, beach volleyball and soccer.
Instructor Julien Thomas – is from France but grew up in Africa. Julien has travelled extensively and has been diving since 1993 and professionally since 2006. Julien has been an Instructor and dive shop manager in Asia, Maldives, and Egypt prior to joining Aqua Cat last December. He is affectionately referred to as our Crazy Frenchy on board and rightfully so- who else would want to play the guitar underwater for the sharks?!
Instructor Caitlin Chock – Caitlin hails from Redwood City, CA and has her bachelor’s degree in Photography from Northeastern University. She has lived in Utila, Honduras for over four years and has traveled Central America and Mexico. She has also sailed the Lesser Antilles. She used to be afraid of swimming in the ocean and now her favorite creature is a shark. Go figure!
Dive Instructor Austin Belden – The Kid, as we all call him, is from Virginia Beach, VA and is just barely out of high school but he knows what he wants and he is going for it! He loves all sports, diving, music, skydiving, hiking and camping and plans to travel the world while he is still young. He likes to make his own jewelry and is artistic too. He grew up by the sea so he is a perfect fit for this life!
Dive Instructor Eric Fresquez – Eric is our own NEO and hopped the gulf stream from Fort Lauderdale to join our team. He loves history, spear fishing and cycling around south Florida. He’s been around the globe on his diving travels including Guam, Philippines, Turks, Puerto Rico and now the Bahamas. His favorite color is orange and can do some damage to lamb chops. He has a mantra that keeps him going- “I know I can do anything therefore I will”.
Engineer Adam Rademeyer – Adam hails from Capetown South Africa and started as an instructor on board. He is into braiding hair and taking long walks on the beach. He loves to travel to Brazil and the Med. You would never guess he is really good at twerking.
Engineer Shawn Grigsby – Affectionately known as “grouper Grigs” on board, Shawn assist with all manner of mechanics on board- from engines to heads. He hails from Newcastle OK and is also a journeyman electrician, dive master and all around good guy. He’s been to Hawaii and back and leaves a trail of magnets everywhere he goes. His favorite color is yellow and he goes nuts for sushi!
Sous Chef Mishka Badenhorst – Affectionately known as the BUNION, she is from South Africa and her degree is in Drama. She dabbles in just about everything. She dreams of traveling and for now they are dreams….she believes in the tooth fairy, and her favorite food is sushi. Shh…don’t tell the fish!
House Mouse Lario Mostert – She has her diploma in Hospitality and Event Management. She loves sports, baking, dancing and all outdoor activity. She plans to travel the world and so far has been to Australia, New Zealand, UK and the Bahamas. Wonderland is next on her list. The cutest thing about Lario is that when she laughs, she snorts like a little piggy!