James ‘Reggie’ Latham might have been the next Leonardo da Vinci had he not answered the call of the wild. He started life in the UK but wound up in the Caribbean, so the odds are good that more than just a few people are envious of his lifestyle.
Reggie was born in North London and got his first taste of scuba diving on a family trip to the Dominican Republic when he was eleven years old. This early experience, coupled with the fact that his father was a diver, was enough to encourage him to sign up with the dive club at his university in his first year. He was studying for a degree in fine arts, specialising in printmaking, and in his leisure time began to take dive courses.
The training was held in a quarry in Bristol due to a limited choice of inland venues, but as Reggie made his way up through Open Water, Rescue and Advanced certifications, he at least expanded his range to include sites around the Isle of Wight in the summer.
Maybe it was the five feet of visibility or the cooler waters off Great Britain, but once Reggie was ready to take his Divemaster course he decided he would head to different climes. He got his bachelor’s degree, and then went to the Canary Islands for three months to take the course. The plan after that was to go home and follow a career based on his degree.
Of course things don’t always go as planned. The three months overseas had shown Reggie that he wasn’t quite ready to give the diving a rest. That, plus perhaps the prospect of working indoors, turned his head in another direction. He decided instead to go back to the Dominican Republic which he had remembered from his youth, and take a Dive Instructor course. He packed his bags, got on a plane, and signed up at the Caribbean Dive College.
Once Reggie had successfully attained his instructor certification he figured he’d stick around and work on the island for a while, but it wasn’t long before he got itchy fins. The shop where he worked was a little lackadaisical for his liking, and so he started looking for employment elsewhere. The first position available on the PADI website was at Ocean Frontiers in Grand Cayman. He applied and was offered the job, which he happily accepted. He moved here in June 2011 and now spends his days teaching others diving off the coast of East End.
Reggie likes working at Ocean Frontiers because he enjoys being on that side of the island, spends time with a great team of people, and has easy access to some of the best dive sites on offer. Every day is different and brings new people keen to be shown the underwater world. Not a bad life when you think about it.