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Willie Wellington 
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer 

As a kid growing up in Iowa, I wanted to be an astronaut. But when I grew in age and height, I learned that I was too tall to be an astronaut, requiring me to change goals.

While in college at Iowa State University studying Landscape Architecture and Environmental Science, I saw a scuba diving course in the catalog. I thought that this was the closest thing to being an astronaut that I could experience, so in the fall of 1999, I gave it a try. I was excited, apprehensive, and a bit scared as I was not a strong swimmer. It took me the entire semester before I was comfortable enough to pass all of the skills. The class challenged me in many ways but ultimately helped me develop a lot of self confidence. I signed up to help teach the class the following semester and have continued teaching ever since, eventually owning my own scuba shop in central Iowa with a focus on providing exceptional customer service in a safe and friendly environment. My scuba diving education progressed with Advanced Open Water Diver in 2003, Rescue Diver in 2006, Divemaster in 2010, Open Water Scuba Instructor in 2014, and Master Scuba Diver Trainer in 2016.

During my time in Iowa, my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut took one step closer to reality when I was approached by former astronaut, Clayton Anderson, to teach scuba diving as part of a new program at ISU, Spaceflight Operations. This was such an amazing experience and nearly a dream come true! Perhaps one day I will make the venture to the outer limits of Earth and beyond - or at least touch the lives of those who also dream of exploring other worlds through scuba.

Diving has taken me around the world from Iowa to Florida, Norway to Australia, and many places in the Caribbean. I absolutely love to teach scuba diving and can’t wait for my next adventure!


As a PADI Professional I have the opportunity to see:
• Fear changed to courage
• Faintheartedness converted into accomplishment
• Timidity transformed into confidence
• Anticipation turned into passion
As a PADI Professional I can:
• Open hearts and minds to the hidden beauty of nature’s creation and our obligation to protect it
• Foster self-esteem in another person
• Teach the value of character and integrity
• Transform another human being and change a life for the better and forever

Pearce Daley – PADI Course Director
Underwater Photography Training
Picture world famous model Christie Brinkley and her husband, musician Billy Joel, swimming in the Oahu Hilton pool on December 22, 1987. At the side of the pool is a PADI Instructor offering the use of scuba equipment to see if I would like it. After 30 minutes of “testing” the gear and never looking at Christie, I was hooked. I had two more dives at Waikiki Beach before flying home to Toronto.

Returning to Toronto I immediately met Joe and signed up with Letts Dive. It was 1988. One year later I was an Instructor and three years after that I was a Course Director.

I have taught hundreds of students to all levels and organized group travels throughout the Caribbean. Since that time, I have travelled to all 24 time zones and dove some of the most spectacular sites in the world.  At one point my wife, an IDC Staff Instructor, and I ran a dive and sail charter in the Bahamas, and we have our 100ton Bahamian Ships Masters license.

As an International Company Sales Manager and CEO, I have combined my work travel to take advantage of diving.  Today I run my own business consulting firm while teaching new photographers the ins and outs of U/W Photography.  Many of my photos can be seen at www.h2ofotos.com.

I look forward to assisting Brenda and Joe at Letts Dive!! to create more PADI Instructors and U/W Photo fanatics.
Charlie Kessler
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
Charlie is our resident sidemount guru. He started diving in 2005, during his Army days, while stationed in Sinai, Egypt. The passion stuck with him and in 2010, he did his Advanced course in Airlie Beach, Australia. His mind never really came back to the surface and by the summer of 2010, he was living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on the path to getting his PADI instructor ratings. He worked for a while on Cozumel teaching and guiding certified divers until it was time to move on.

In the fall of 2011 he moved on to train as a Commercial Diver and learned how to dive in a Hard Hat while breathing on surface supplied air. Working in commercial diving was short lived as he returned to his primary skillset as an aircraft mechanic, returning to Afghanistan as a civilian to work as a maintenance lead on Afghan Airforce helicopters.

Being on that side of the world gave him the opportunity to continue his personal level of dive training and in 2013 he returned to Egypt, the place where it all began, to train in the technical side of diving.

He trained up to the Advanced Trimix level and discovered his favorite gear configuration in the water, sidemount! After his contract ended in Afghanistan, he returned to Playa Del Carmen to train as a cave diver. He is a certified equipment technician on a variety of manufacturers of dive gear.

Charlie now works locally during the week as an Aviation Maintenance Instructor.
Charlie will be our go to Instructor at Letts Dive!! when Capt. Joe is unavailable. Anyone that dives with Charlie loves his calm, focused style. We are lucky to have him on the staff of Letts Dive!! And if you haven’t tried sidemount…
Mark Sommer III
SSI Instructor Trainer 

My Uncle introduced me to SCUBA diving when I was very young. That was the days of double hose regulators, no BC’s, no SPG’s and steel 72 cf cylinders. Finally got certified in 1968. You went from there on your own initiative.

Joined the US Navy in 1972. I passed the screening test for BUD/S. Completed BUD/S in December 1972. Joined Underwater Demolition Team 21 after BUD/S. We dove both double hose and single hose Open Circuit regulator kit, mixed gas rebreather kit, and Oxygen rebreather kit. Gear setup and maintenance was the operator’s responsibility. Had the opportunity to work with the Naval Experimental Diving Unit on rebreather research as a test diver. Learned much from the USN Master Diver and the Officer in Charge of the Naval Special Warfare section of NEDU.

In1976 I earned my Assistant Instructor credentials. Stayed at this level through the ’80s and ’90s. 2002 after a quarter of a century in finance I started earning my instructor credentials and technical diving qualifications. I am currently an Instructor Trainer with SSI and DAN. I am additionally an instructor with SDI and Diveheart.  The courses, I teach, include Open Water Diver, Full Face Mask Diver, Diver Propulsion Vehicle Diver, Cavern Diver, and XR Trimix Diver.

I like to know how my kit works. I have taken the manufacturers’ repair technician classes for more than a dozen brands. This includes some rebreathers. That experience back in the Navy has paid off. Gas Blender and Visual Inspection Procedures are courses I teach.

I enjoy cavern diving, with Eagle’s Nest being one of my favorite sites. But the best part of diving is all the amazing people I have met in the sport.
Note: To date, Mark has made over 6000 dives and will be working with us as a Tech, Cavern Diving Instructor, and Chief Repair Technician.  Mark is a walking encyclopedia on diving. We are privileged to have him joining us in this venture.
John Mowrey
SSI Open Water Instructor 

John grew up in West Texas in a small town called Memphis.  Growing up, one of his favorite shows was Sea Hunt.  He always wanted to try SCUBA Diving but did not get the chance until he moved to Redondo Beach, Ca in 1980. The local dive shop was giving free Try SCUBA experience.  Long story short, he was hooked and has been diving ever since. He has made over 6,000 dives.  He first got certified in 1980 with NASDS Open Water One.  Then went right into Los Angeles County Advanced Program where he earned his NAUI Dive Master Certification. In 1982 he became a YMCA and NAUI Instructor. In 1990 he was certified as a TDI Nitrox Instructor and then in 2002 a Public Safety Diving Instructor for PSDA.

From 1999 to 2002 he worked as a SCUBA Instructor or Safety Diver on various major motion picture and commercial projects.  Some of the films he worked on are: Castaway, Men of Honor, What Lies Beneath, AI (Artificial Intelligence), Baby Boy, Triple X and a music video for Incubus. He also worked on commercials for Health Network, Pepsi, Visa, Atlantic Bell, Flintstones, & Oxygen Sports Drink.

From 2002 to 2004 he trained and worked with the Los Angeles Port Police in their Search and Rescue team. He trained and supported the team on search and recovery of drugs, explosives, weapons and bodies.

As for recreational diving he has made dives up and down the California coast, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. He has traveled and dove in Mexico, Philippines, Fiji, Australia and most of the Caribbean Islands.

In 2016 John and his wife of 47 years (Rebecca) moved from Los Angeles to Seminole, Florida to retire.

John loves to dive and looks for any reason to do so.  He enjoys teaching, especially new students.

Jonathan Brown 
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Jonathan began diving recreationally as a teenager with his father. He was immediately fascinated with exploring marine ecosystems and the desire to dive and learn shaped his future career choices. Jonathan took scuba diving from a recreational hobby to a professional pursuit during an internship in Mexico. He conducted coral reef fish research and studied to be a Divemaster on the beautiful Mesoamerican reef system. After working as a diver and educator at an aquarium in Tennessee, Jonathan moved up to Alaska to guide snorkel and free dive tours (It’s not as cold as you’d think!). The enormous sea stars and occasional humpback whale or orca made every tour a surprise and he loved to share that excitement with his guests.

 

Feeling motived to take his diving to the next step, Jonathan then ventured to Honduras to undergo training to become a PADI instructor. As a newly qualified instructor, he began working at a dive shop off the coast of Southern California on Catalina Island. There he worked for the local dive shop and ran his own dive program at a nearby Boy Scout Camp. The lush kelp forests, rocky walls, and playful sea lions made for an incredible classroom for his students.

 

While he had grown fond of the mighty Pacific, his roots back east motivated him to seek a new opportunity. Jonathan worked as a civilian diver for the Navy while pursuing a Master’s in Coastal and Marine Biology at the University of North Florida. With the new diploma fresh off the presses, he accepted a position with Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) where he conducts research on mollusks and crustaceans all up and down the northwest coast of Florida. He loves to talk science and is excited about sharing marine life knowledge with his students. Jonathan brings ample diving experience from across the continent and will go out of his way to ensure that you become a confident and skilled diver.

Jake Holzapfel
PADI IDC Staff Instructor
Jake's journey to becoming an Instructor started at age 10 when he first put on dive gear in a pool. Instantly hooked, he was a certified diver by age 13 and an Advanced Open Water diver by 15. Jake's initial dive experiences consisted of diving lakes and quarries in Virginia and diving on vacations with his family.  A few years later and after a short time attending college, Jake decided diving was going to be his career.

This decision prompted him to move to Key Largo, Florida and accept an internship at Rainbow Reef Dive Center. It was there that he learned the ins and outs of the dive industry and worked his way towards becoming an instructor. After eight long months, he completed his Instructor Examination and became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor at the age of 20. After being hired as a permanent staff member at Rainbow Reef, Jake quickly earned his Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating and began teaching additional specialty classes. In his first year as an instructor he trained enough divers to earn a PADI Elite Instructor Award.

After teaching and diving diligently for a year, Jake took the next step and upgraded his professional rating to IDC Staff Instructor. He took on the responsibilities of assisting with the Instructor Development Course and ran multiple Divemaster programs for the next year and a half. He again earned an Elite Instructor Rating and added a Certificate of Excellence to his resume. Jake also stepped into the world of ocean conservation by joining Rainbow Reef's conservation team and quickly emerged as a leader. It was there he worked directly with senior members of PADI AWARE and various Key Largo organizations to organize regular Dive Against Debris trips, Lionfish Derby, and coral restoration and outplanting dives. 

Along the way Jake also earned numerous technical diving certifications on both open circuit SCUBA and the O2ptima Rebreather. He is qualified to teach 21 different PADI specialties. 

In August of 2021 Jake moved to Tampa, FL and joined the Letts Dive!! Team, where he is excited to continue sharing his passion for the ocean with both new and veteran divers alike. 
Shanell Bosch 
SSI Open Water Instructor 
As a Michigan native, I was drawn to the water from the beginning.  Why wouldn't you be when you live in the Great Lakes State and are surrounded by water!? On a family cruise to the Caribbean while swimming with dolphins and stingrays, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I had always dreamt of becoming a marine biologist and that trip sealed the deal! 

During my final years in college, I was required to complete an internship.  While searching for the right one, I stumbled upon a diving live abroad internship.  I spent one month in the Caribbean learning to dive and conducting reef surveys.  I fell in love with being below the water.  Feeling weightless, and exploring a whole new world that not many people get to see was amazing.  

I graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelors Degree in Natural Resource Management.  The summer after I graduated, I spent two months living in Fiji diving and exploring the untouched reefs off the island of Beqa.  It was such a spectacular experience.  I knew I had to continue to pursue this dream of mine.  

I had always wanted to move to the south and be somewhere warm where I could dive and Michigan was just not cutting it! The year I married my soulmate, we picked up our lives and made the move to St. Petersburg where I landed at Letts Dive to complete my Divemaster certification.  I fell in love with introducing new divers to the beauty of the ocean and began my my instructor training.  I am truly in my element and love coming to work every day.  They say, if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.  It is so true! I'm loving every minute of it.