It all started in Bonaire, 1990.
A local dive master at Capt'n Dons Habitat had a colorful mesh bag - and told us about a local seamstress he called the "Cat Lady" who handmade them on the island*. To get your custom bag you had to go to her house, select your colors and sometime later you could pick up your bag or have it shipped to you. We set out to find her.
100 cats, no air conditioning. We discovered she rescued island cats and they were all over the place. Funny what you remember (or can’t forget). Anyway, we held our breath, went inside to shoo the cats off the samples and view the 5 colors in her ragged swatch book. If we wanted custom bags, we could wait about a month and she would send them to us via mail Bonaire to USA, so we decided to buy two of her stock bags.
Jump ahead 23 years: my wife and I are PADI instructors – semi-retired, living Key Largo. Last count, we’ve been through 10 wetsuits, 14 pairs booties, 9 pairs of fins, 7 BCD/backplates, generations of still/video cameras from Nikonos 1 to GoPro, multiple computers and reg set ups and the list goes on...
We still have and use those bags. They've been on thousands of dives from the Caribbean, the Keys, Palau and quarries in Pa, but they have stood the test of time. They’re still colorful. Bright. Sturdy. But not really big enough. We decided to buy new bags.
Opportunity knocks. Try as we might, we couldn't find anyone making mesh gear bags with the colors and personalization we wanted. We definitely wanted the same mesh because it seems almost bullet proof. Try as we might and hours of internet searching lead us nowhere so...
"We're doing this thing!" Why not a better mesh dive bag in the Keys? The humble mesh bag has remained relatively boring and bland. Most are too small - and made of lower quality materials that fray, fade or easily rip. So we decided to make the highest quality, best sized mesh bag on the market with over 1,000,000 color combinations and embroidery.
-You design it.
-We build it.
Carlton and Leslie
Key Largo 2013
*We recently found out at DEMA 2013 from a friend of her's, the Cat Lady’s name was Marlis Seelos, well-known in Bonaire, a great photographer, animal lover, world traveler and sadly, recently lost to cancer. Her friend told us she would have been thrilled to see our version of her classic bag. It feels good knowing she would be pleased.