Serena first saw a poster while waiting for a fitness class advertising come and have a Discover Scuba in a pool. She had just completed her Studies at Bournemouth for Photography and was getting jobs with Advertising Companies and Production Companies as a Stills Photographer. Light Bulb moment "Oh if I learn to scuba I will be able to take photos underwater too which will help my CV" That was 1991 and became a professional in 1993 with SSI, and PADI, then in 1996 C-Life was founded. And yes, she also got hooked and just loves diving full stop.
Serena has taught many PADI, SSI, DAN, EFR, TDI, PSAI, IANTD courses since then and has developed other areas such as Kids Courses, Technical Diver Courses, Corporate events, and a second website focusing just on first aid in the workplace called Heartbeat First Aid Centre.
While working for C-Life, Serena has studied with The Open University and gained a Bachelor of Science degree - BSc (Open) in 2008. This was only possible due to the help and dedication of freelance Instructors and committed Divemasters. Her main passion is rebreather diving and enjoys the benefits it offers such as silent diving, relaxation and meditation. "Everyone should do this as part of their Mindfulness routine - helps me"
Serena has three teaching sides.
First, she loves teaching the kids - "They are so excited to dive, have little fear, very rewarding and we seem to connect. Something to do with the little Serena that never grew up."
Second, her love of First Aid and teaching people all the way to Instructor. "This is an important life skill you all need"
And lastly her main passion is Technical and Rebreather diving as C-Life Dive School's Technical Instructor. - "I like the challenge and potential Tec diving can offer. This is even more special and elite, as we can dive areas and depths either rarely dived before or for the first time." She is also a member of the 1% Club - Diving to 100m+. But you don't have to dive deep to enjoy Tec diving with C-Life.
Serena has led many dive expeditions and they include; Southern Ireland (Cork), Northern Ireland (Malin Head area), Scotland, Oban, Scapa Flow, Shetland, Wales, England, Isle Of Scilly, Lundy Island, Iceland, Madeira, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Cape Verde, France, Norway, Malta, Gozo, Menorca, Italy, Cuba, Belize, Tobago, Grenada, The Florida Keys, Florida Fort Lauderdale, South Africa, Red Sea extensively through land based and liveaboard trips (Northern & Southern from Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Safaga, Marsa Alam down to The Brothers, St.Johns, and Sudan), Maldives, Thailand, Micronesia, Chuuk Lagoon, Palau, Sipadan & Mabul in Borneo, South China Seas - HMS Repulse & Prince of Wales, Wakatobi in Indonesia, Gili Trewangan Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia, Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Cocos Island in Costa Rica, Socorro Islands in Mexico, and The Galapagos. There are still many more places to visit - so who is coming with me next time people?
Caroline Trewhitt - PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer & Tec Support Diver.
Caroline learned to dive in 2003 qualifying at Horsea Island, Portsmouth. She immediately got hooked and wondered why it had taken her so long to get started! Making up for lost time she booked a live aboard trip in the Caribbean and soon qualified as an Advanced Open Water Diver. Since then Caroline has dived all over the world and experienced some extraordinary sights including thermal vents in Iceland, dolphin pods interacting with divers in Mexico, and first class wreck divining in the English Channel, Truk Lagoon and Scapa Flow. As her diving experience increased Caroline qualified as both a technical and rebreather diver.
Caroline joined C-Life in 2004 and became a dive master that year supporting across a wide variety of recreational courses. She qualified as an instructor in 2009 and teaches a wide range of recreational courses and specialities.
Paul 'Test Dive Dummy' Varela - PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor & EFR Instructor
Paul has been diving since 2009 when a pool try dive on holiday in Mexico hooked him immediately. Initially his diving was limited to a few dives per year on holiday until he reached out to C-Life in 2013 following an unsuccessful dive in Portugal that left him nervous about diving and he was considering leaving the sport.
Since then, under the guidance of Serena and Caroline he has gone from an Advanced Open Water Diver with 18 dives to an Instructor with over 500 dives and now holds the title of C-Life’s ‘test dive dummy’ who is called upon when a leaky Drysuit or new dive area needs mapping.
Paul became a Divemaster in 2015, and completed his EFR and Scuba instructor courses in 2018 with his diving dad Chris Teverson. His desire to become an instructor was led by the enjoyment he took from helping students learn and progress while he was a Divemaster.
From the core courses the Open Water course is his favourite to conduct as the students go from taking their first breath underwater in a swimming pool to completing their final Open Water dive in one of the local lakes. During this time there is a huge amount learnt and the students transformation is incredible which makes it such a rewarding course to oversee.
Deep Diver Speciality Course - This offers more indepth dive planning, accurate gas management planning and the use of what specialised equipment associated with deep diving. Learning the effects deep diving can have on a divers body and mind, makes this speciality his favourite to teach. Once this course is completed, it also certifies the diver to a maximum depth of 40 metres, which is the very limit of recreational diving.
He is often found attaching lights to underwater Christmas trees, taking various objects underwater to show pressure changes, wearing an assortment of hats and being loud topside. He also leads the annual C-Life T-Shirt and shorts dive, sometimes with as many as 2 other divers!
Paul has dived all over the world including Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, Portugal and the Greek islands as well as variety of sea and inland dive sites in the UK. Lundy Island is at the top of Paul’s list. Swimming around with the seals and interacting with them in their natural environment is an incredible experience. They are so inquisitive and divers can easily spend an hour at a time in their company and it feels like just a few minutes.
Chris 'Starfish' Teverson - PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, EFR Instructor & Tec Support Diver
Chris originally became an Open Water Diver in the 1980’s in Turks and Caicos but after a long pause got back into diving seriously in 2005 when he found that actually diving in the UK was good fun too; especially diving with the C-Life team! C-Life provided small group training and is socially very active and he has made many good friends.
Chris progressed to become a Rescue Diver, Divemaster, CPR/AED/ First Aid Instructor and finally in 2018 became a PADI Instructor. Chris loves teaching the PADI courses, especially seeing new divers complete the required skills and become more confident in their diving abilities – especially those that are initially quite nervous!
With C-Life Chris has experienced some amazing trips in the UK and overseas, the highlights being swimming with Seals in Lundy, diving the wrecks of Scapa Flow, Iceland in winter (!) and multiple trips to Egypt.
More recently Chris got involved in more technical diving with the Advanced Nitrox, PADI Tec 45 and CCR Diver courses. Chris recently purchased a CCR Rebreather that allows extended dive times with the possibility of diving to even greater depths.
C-Life is a great club to learn to dive with and to progress your diver training with, wherever you are on the diving path. There are only ever small groups of student divers with personable and friendly C-Life staff to support and encourage you.
James Aquilina - PADI Divemaster
James first became interested in diving as a child when he used to watch Jacque Cousteau’s adventures on TV. As mainly a holiday diver James decided he wanted to do more UK local diving and courses. Jmes looked around and a local club recommended Serena and C-Life Dive School. The list of courses that C-Life teach is extensive and covered the courses that James wanted to do. And to cap it all off Dry suits were provided making for a much more pleasant experience compared to my earlier UK diving.
As James's children grew and became interested in diving he decided that it was time to train to be a PADI Dive Master. The course taught by C-Life was more of an apprenticeship, which at the end of it made him a much more competent and confident diver. The skills James acquired have allowed him to not only watch his children’s joy at experiencing scuba diving for the first time, but has also allowed him to watch C-Life students take their first underwater breaths during PADI Discover Scuba Diving and PADI Bubblemaker programs. Whereas the PADI Scuba Review course allows James to help qualified PADI divers refresh their skills so that they are more confidence to enjoy their upcoming dives.
Places James has dived include:
Brighton, Dover, Lundy Island, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Egypt (Taba, Sharm El-Sheikh, Marsa Alam), Florida Keys, Fuerteventura, Gozo, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Porto Santo, Sardinia and St Lucia so far.
Amongst James's favourite dives are Marsa Alam where he encountered over 100 dolphins and a Manta Ray, and the dives with his 13 year old son. Watching him discover and enjoy the undersea world was truly amazing.
Graham Miller - Divemaster & Tec Support Diver
Gabor Szell - PADI Divemaster
Liam Dunford - Divemaster
Gary MacFarlane - PADI Divemaster
Gary's diving started only by chance, after his wife dislocated her elbow on a dry ski slope trying new boots in preparation for a ski holiday. The holiday destination changed from Cold to Hot and travelled to Egypt resulting in Gary coming home as a PADI Open Water Diver.
Gary met Serena at one of the Crystal Palace pool sessions soon after qualifying as a diver. He then progressed up the PADI ladder as a professional PADI Divemaster, TecRec Technical Diver and BSAC Training Officer. "I feel Serena is a great diver and Instructor who will be my first choice for my next journey into rebreather diving very soon."
Jon Haines - PADI Divemaster
Pete Miller - PADI Divemaster & Tec Support Diver
Peter first got into diving eight years ago when he completed his open water course in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt. He then had a four year gap and after this became fully hooked on diving!
The main reason he first took up diving was to see and photograph Manta Rays. He was very lucky to achieve and experience this during 2019 in the Maldives.
Unfortunately as a UK diver there isn’t many Manta Rays in UK waters!
For Peter when he is at home diving it’s all about deep wrecks and especially German submarines. This is where C-Life PSAI DIve Centre has helped Peter with his first course in Closed Circuit Rebreathers. This intern has extended his bottom time and will reduce his deco times, which is tremendously helpful when you take as many pictures as he does!
Peter's personal diving goals over the next three to four years are:
With this endless thirst, which Peter has for all things diving he decided to become a PADI Dive Master. Peter gets a great sense of satisfaction when he helps out with new divers. Any lessons Peter learnt over the years (and there have been a few!) that he can pass onto new divers, then all the better whether this be from kit setup to gas planning.
The places Peter has been luckily enough to dive are:
Great barrier reef
South coast (Cornwall to Brighton)
Most UK quarries
I look forward to many more diving adventures!