Asley Cota- Dive instructor and founder of Cota Kini, a sustainable swimwear brand.
I'm Ashley Cota! I've been diving for 11 years and teaching diving for 7. I studied marine biology and have also participated in treasure hunting for the remaining artefacts of the Nuestra Senora De La Maravillas, a Spanish galleon that sank in the Bahamas in 1656! I recently set up a handmade sustainable swimwear brand, Cota Kinis. I use recycled materials to craft custom swimsuits! Check them out on cotakinis.com
When did you start diving?
I started diving in 2012 when I was 17 years old.
What Made You Want to Become a Diver? A Dive Pro?
I have always been captivated by the mesmerizing creatures and awe-inspiring features of the ocean. From the very first moment I took a breath below the surface, I was hooked. Whilst volunteering in Mozambique with The Marine Megafauna Foundation, Dr. Andrea Marshall recommended I become a divemaster, It changed my life. By the time I completed my degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the USA, I had also become a PADI Instructor.
What is Your Best/Most Memorable Dive?
My most memorable dive took place in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. I saw two enormous Humpback Whales. A playful juvenile humpback also appeared near the surface, twirling down to investigate our group of divers. With a gentle tail flap from the adults, they swam just past us and slowly continued on their way. It was magical.
Most Gratifying Course You Took or Taught?
One of the most gratifying courses I have taught is Search and Recovery. This course focuses on multiple dive skills and critical thinking objectives. It is a course that provides practical knowledge and skills that can benefit divers in various scenarios.
5 Qualities of a Dive Pro
An outstanding dive pro should possess the following qualities:
Enthusiasm: To excite and inspire students about the wonders of diving.
Patience: To encourage students to continue trying, even when faced with challenges.
Adaptability: To facilitate individual divers in reaching their goals and accommodate different needs.
Knowledge: A dive pro should have a deep understanding not only of scuba diving but also of the surrounding environment.
Responsibility and Safety Consciousness: Safety should be the top priority for any dive pro, ensuring that all dives are conducted responsibly.
Do You Think Women Are Different Divers Than Men and Why?
Diving itself does not discriminate based on gender. However, women and men naturally have different physiologies that can impact gear fit and buoyancy. Ultimately, it's important to emphasize that anyone, regardless of gender, can become a skilled and passionate diver.
One Piece of Advice for Someone Starting Diving
For new divers, my advice would be to be patient with yourself and your classmates. Everyone thrives and struggles in different scenarios when doing dive skills. Enjoy the journey and embrace the wonders that await you underwater!
Ashley, you truly are one of the inspiring women divers out there!