Introducing Your Future Friends

HI!  Welcome to St. Croix and Sweet Bottom Dive Center.  We are glad to have you and are looking forward to diving with you soon.

 

Our staff of professional scuba instructors are experts in every type of diving imaginable here on St. Croix.  We could even teach you some ice diving...if we had ice.  As certified PADI Instructors we can conduct almost every certification available from our beach front dive center.  If you're making the run to warmer waters to finish your Open Water certification, want to learn how to take beautiful underwater photographs, or even become a professional dive master we can do it all for you.

 

Here at Sweet Bottom we focus on the fun and relaxing parts of the diving.  Whether you're on a full blown 5 dives a day adventure or just feel the urge to catch a quick dive, we'll help to make every moment count.  Don't you worry about a thing either because we are more than happy to put together, carry, break down, clean, and dry your gear after each and every dive!  Just relax and enjoy the underwater view off the closest dive site to "The Wall."

 

So let's meet your future friends...

 

Tim Getting Ready to Sidemount the Davis Bay

Tim Linse

Shop Manager

Technical Diving Instructor

 

Diving became a career and passion for me in the cold waters of Lake Michigan diving the wrecks off Chicago. Soon after my first few breaths on SCUBA in 2008; I worked my way up to become a shop manager in a large dive center, and taught as a technical instructor in my hometown of Chicago. When the time came to move to St Croix, it was an easy choice (Warm Water, Great Vizz, and Deep Depths! No Brainer!)

My favorite things to do in STX are long exploration dives on "less known" dive sites along the island.. the DPVs and CCR make this managable and quite enjoyable.

In the future, I hope to continue my education as a Paramedic/Fire Fighter and run the dive team. My non-diving hobbies are making beer (the hoppier the better), rock climbing, & skiing.

 

 

Favorite Dive Site: Deep Wrecks @ Butler Bay

Favorite Restaurant: Tavern 1844

Favorite View: Cessna Plane Island Tour!

Favorite Drink: Any IPA!

Flying Through The Water

Lizzi Schader

Shop "Go-To-Girl"

Dive Master Candidate

 

I moved down to St Croix to start a new adventure in the Scuba Industry.. With a past resume' of Early Childhood Education, Swim Instructor, and Lifeguarding this change was a BIG one. I have been learning so much about diving and how to ensure all our divers have the best possible time while in our care.

I started diving back in 09' because I needed the certifcation for an internship with the Miami Seaquarium. Soon after, I found my greatest joy, diving!

Other than diving, I love swimming, rollerblading, tennis, soccer, & watching the Chicago Blackhawks!

 

 

 

Favorite Dive Site: The Jungle

Favorite Restaurant: Rowdy Joes (Homemade Ice Cream)

Favorite View: Underwater!

Favorite Drink: Bananna Dacquri

Mark & Laura Teaching Taylor Kinny From NBC's Chicago Fire TV Series

Mark Linse

Director of Training

Course Director

 

During my 28 years of diving, I have had the opportunity to travel and dive in many different locals and dive environments…whether I was diving on the beautiful coral reefs of St Croix, the massive wrecks off of Lake Michigan, Key Largo or Fort Lauderdale, swimming with the dolphins in Curacao, playing tag with the baby peacock flounders in Bonaire, dodging the 12' bull sharks in Fiji or swimming inside a school of barracudas in Malaysia, my dive adventures are always fun and exciting.

 

During my 30+ year career as a Chicago Paramedic and EMS Educator, I have had the opportunity to hone my instructional and presentation skills.  What a perfect fit to take that experience and combine it with something I truly enjoy sharing with others…scuba diving!

 

As a dive educator, I can hold your hand during your very first breath underwater, or I can train you in unique underwater skills, such as; advanced navigation, search and recovery, sidemount diving, full face mask and dry suit diving, just to name a few.  I can mentor you into leadership roles, as you learn the information and skills necessary to become a PADI Divemaster.  Or, I can help you change your life forever; as I lead you down the path of becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, Specialty Instructor, IDC Staff Instructor or I can even mentor you, as you prepare to become a PADI Course Director.

 

My passion lies with people.  I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences with people, but more importantly, I love learning about you…your passions, your experiences and your dreams.  Scuba Diving has a HUGE social component to it.  Anyone, can teach you how to tie a bowline underwater…let me get to know you and see if I can't help you realize your dreams.

 

Favorite Dive Site: Davis Bay!

Favorite Restaurant: Rum Runners

Favorite View: My office... the Ocean

Favorite Drink: Samual Adams Boston Lager

Gonzalo Berrios

Master Scuba Dive Trainer

 

I came from Easter Island and have been diving since I was 7 years old. I have been teaching diving for many many years and love introducing people to my "office." I speak 5 different languages and am constantly learning about different cultures. I have been on the Island of St Croix since November and the diving is phenominal. As far as my future goes, I am currently working towards becoming a course director and a technical instructor. I am also apart of the Ski-Patrol in Chile!

  

Favorite Dive Site: Armageddon

Favorite Restaurant: Carambola Resturant

Favorite View:  My girlfriend, my love!

Favorite Drink: Any drink with friends, especially FERNET from Italy!

Jonathan aka "Jon" Hearn 

Open Water Scuba Instructor & Specialty Instructor

 

I have been guiding and teaching people in the outdoors most of my life. While passionate about outdoor activities, it’s the opportunity for shared experience and personal connection that I truly enjoy. Never scared of rough weather, long kick-outs or large creatures, my ultimate goal is safe and memorable experiences.

 

St. Croix has proven to be a hidden gem for diving. With good wrecks, healthy coral, good visibility and warm water. We could ask for little more but there is. Unique sites like Armageddon and Salt River make St. Croix a truly a memorable dive location.


Favorite Dive Site: Any site when the viz is good and the tank is full!

 

Favorite Restaurant: Rowdy Joe’s, when the pantry is bare.


Favorite View:  The island from the kick-out at Carambola


Favorite Dive Buddy:  My wife, Julie, best partner a guy could ask for!


Favorite Drink: Sapphire and Tonic, (if you are buying, please)

 

Julie Raschella 

Open Water Scuba Instructor & Specialty Instructor

 

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I was able to enjoy many outdoor activites and was fortunate to share my love for the outdoors with many clients as a sea kayak guide. I fell in love with diving during a Discover Scuba Diving experience while on vacation in Bermuda with my family. In 1992, I received my Open Water certification in the beautiful waters of The Puget Sound. Since then I have enjoyed drift diving around Lopez island, wall diving in Belize and most recently the crystal waters of St. Croix. I enjoy introducing people to the underwater world and love sharing a moment of inspriation while gazing at a creature with others. 

 

 


Favorite Dive Site: Butler's Ledge

 

Favorite Restaurant: Rowdy Joe’s


Favorite View:  Sunset from the North Shore


Favorite Dive Buddy:  My husband, Jonathan :)


Favorite Drink: Kombucha

 
Matt says hello to some Caribbean Black Tip Reef Sharks!

Matt Gale

Open Water Scuba Instructor, Specialty Instructor

 

Originally from Houston, TX, Matt was certified at 14 after his dad took him to a SeaSpace conference. Later on, after attending Texas Christian University he thought it would be fun to be an instructor and a great way to see the world. Matt became an instructor in 1999 and moved to Grand Cayman where he taught diving for a year. He then moved back to Houston and became a loan officer. 

 

In 2010, Matt wanted to move back to an island that was on U.S. soil and St. Croix offered all that he was looking for: remote, laidback, and plenty of diving!

 

Other places he's dived include Roatan, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Barbados, and one of his most memorable dives was a shark dive in the Bahamas.

 

Matt still works as a Loan officer when he's not in the water and likes to spend time on his sailboat, a Beneteau 343 called "Infinite Possibility" and with his furry children Daisy and Cetecea.

 

Favorite Dive Site: Northstar

Favorite Restaurant: Rowdy Joe's

Favorite View: Kick out from Davis Beach looking towards Hamm's Bluff

Favorite Drink: Dark & 7

Bill Colderbank

Master Scuba Diver Trainer

 

In 1964 Bill's father met an ex-navy diver that was teaching SCUBA at the local YMCA. Dad signed Bill up for the class and he's been diving ever since. Bill received his Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) certification in 2004. When he's not teaching scuba diving, Bill manages the logistics for an international marketing company.

 

Bill has had the opportunity to dive in exotic locations for over 40 years. He experienced a perfect "Kodak" moment on New Years Eve 2001 while he was on the surface waters off the coast of Bonaire with his dive group. There was a full moon overhead, and as he was waiting to descend he and his dive group watched the sky light up with the island's beautiful fireworks display.

 

Other than Bonaire, Bill's favorite dive locations are the Galapagos Islands to see a display of large sea life and St. Croix, USVI to observe smaller marine life and healthy reefs.

Bob Jensen

Master Scuba Diver Trainer


We think he started diving with Jacques Cousteau! But he will tell us all about it soon in his bio!

Bailey hanging out at the tidepools by Carambola!

Bailey Rowland

Open Water Scuba Instructor, Specialty Instructor

 

Bailey is from the close-knit beach town of Atlantic Beach, FL. Thanks to her dive-crazed parents, she was certified at the ripe age of 11 years old. Since then she has been diving in Jacksonville, Little Cayman, Grand Cayman, Belize, Curacao, and of course St. Croix! It has been a dream of hers to be a dive professional since the first time she took a breath underwater.

 

After graduating from Florida State University in 2011, she decided she wanted to take the road less traveled. On a family dive trip to St. Croix in 2012 she instantly fell in love with the island, Sweet Bottom Dive Center and its managers Mel and Greg. On that same trip, Bailey's mom mentioned that if she was young again she would move to St. Croix to become a dive instructor. A light bulb went off and a year later Bailey made the move to the island!

 

Favorite Dive Site: Shallow Wrecks out West

Favorite Restaurant: No Bones Cafe

Favorite View: Jack and Issacs Bay

Favorite Drink: Cruzan Mango Rum and Club Soda

Great kill Mike!

Michael Funk

Divemaster 

 

Mike was introduced to SCUBA diving at the age of 13 way back in 1962 in Colorado by his dad who was a member of the Denver Police Department underwater search and recovery team.

 

He is a Physician Assistant, works in the Emergency Department at Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center on St. Croix and is an Assistant Professor and the Associate Director of Medical Education at the Barry University Physician Assistant Program, St. Croix Campus.

 

When he's not saving lives or training others to save lives or under water, Mike rides his bicycle up and down the hills of St. Croix, and is generally a fan of being physically fit. He's also an avid lionfish hunter, a member of CORE (Caribbean Organization for Reef Education) Foundation and CRABBS (Caribbean Reef Association of Bubble Blowers).

  

Favorite Dive Site: Armageddon

Favorite Restaurant: Angry Nate's

Favorite View:  From the top of Scenic Road West

Favorite Drink: Captain and Seven with a lime ;-)