Enable Excellence | Meet The Parents: The Diving Parents!
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Meet The Parents: The Diving Parents!

Meet The Parents: The Diving Parents!

Meet Neil Heston, my ‘Diving Dad’, at the Blue Hole in Gozo


I have been scuba diving for 20 years and have had the privilege of diving in many exotic places around the world but my husband and I keep going back to Gozo.  I am not sure what keeps drawing us back to the island; the people, the geology, the history; maybe it is the combination of a number of things that make it so special for us.  We had dived in Gozo on two previous occasions when a friend recommended us to Utina Diving College owned and operated by Neil and Sally, so we packed our bags and went diving with them for the first time in September 2012.

Neil is in his 70’s.  He did his first try-dive when he was 56, found his passion in life, and for the last 12 years has been pursuing his 3rd career.  He and Sally have found something that gives them energy and focus; the sparkle in Neil’s eyes says it all.  I knew all this from my previous visits, but what made it different for me this July is two things:

  • I was looking at their business and their life from a different perspective now that I am self employed
  • Neil has had 2 hip replacements; the second one completed at the end of last year


I realised that if you find that elusive ‘thing’ that you are passionate about there is no such thing as retirement; you don’t categorise what you do during the day as a job.  Being self employed has opened my mind to so many new and different possibilities and I have been liberated by the knowledge that you don’t have to work slavishly away at something you don’t enjoy.

I have so much respect and admiration for Neil.  He has not allowed major surgery stop him from diving.  There is determination in him to keep on doing what he loves.  I can’t help but compare him to people I know who are of the same generation; how different they are, the passive acceptance that age will define them, the excuses for not being able to do something when there is nothing physically or mentally stopping them.

Through life you have encounters with many different people and some have more impact than others.  My time spent with Neil and Sally in July caused me to reflect on these two things:

Find your niche  

There are a lot of dive operators working Gozo and Sally and Neil have an effective business model that helps them stand out in a competitive market.  As a self employed individual this is what I strive to achieve.

Don’t limit yourself

We often impose personal and professional limitations on ourselves without realising it.  These limitations can be driven by societal norms or the values and beliefs we all have.  Challenging ourselves to see beyond what we perceive we can and cannot do opens us up to opportunities we may never have thought of previously.

I aspire to have the same mindset as Neil and Sally so I have officially adopted them as my “Diving Parents”.  It’s a bit of fun but I know they were delighted when I told them.

P.S. A picture of a Godiva nudibranch (sea slug). I love photographing the critters.


  • Joanna Thurgur
    Posted at 12:15h, 25 July Reply

    I love your articles, and they always chime with me in some way. Perhaps it is just that most self-employed people go through exactly the same doubts, fears, uncertainties – call them what you will – but don’t often have the opportunity to share them.

    Every now and then I do find myself questioning how long I will be able to continue doing such a physical job as chimney sweeping . The majority of the time I am fine (like most people I still feel as though I am in my 30s, certainly mentally!) but when I do think about the reality of my age it does pulls me up short and I have a wobble. But as your article says, why do I let my brain try and put restrictions on what I can and can’t do. As long as I can, I will, and your Dive Dad is an inspiration that I will remember next time I have a wobble!

    Thanks for sharing x

    • enable
      Posted at 17:56h, 04 August Reply

      Hi Joanna, thanks so much for the lovely feedback! We all have to keep reminding ourselves not to restrict ourselves because much of it is in the mind and if you are aware of it you are 99% there. My view is give something a go at least once before dismissing it and if you have a passion for something, you will fight very hard to keep on doing it.

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