Inspirational PADI Women in Indonesia

Written by PADI Regional Manager, Jen Clent

As a PADI Regional Manager I am blessed with the opportunity to travel around the world and meet amazing individuals working in this incredible industry. Along the way I meet many outstanding people and its fantastic to see the female to male ratio gap decreasing all the time.

Among those are the women I had the pleasure of interviewing below, and as we head towards PADI’s 5th Women’s Dive Day I wanted to share their stories.

Meet Anna Walker – Anna recently celebrated 20 years living and working in the dive industry in Gili Trawangan. Anna owns 5 Star Dive Centre Big Bubble Dive in Gili Trawangan.

When and how did you first get involved in diving?

I took my Open Water Diver course in Koh Tao in 1999 and got hooked so when we flew to Indonesia, I headed to the Gilis as keen to take the Advanced Open Water Diver course. I got that in June 1999.

What is your current role in the dive industry?

I stayed in the Gilis eventually managing the shop where I did my advanced course. In return for being trained up to instructor level, I did the accounting and office manager job for 3 years. I then moved to Big Bubble Dive as the manager / instructor and eventually bought it in 2004. I am still the majority shareholder and working there now but also have 3 new business partners to help too. We just had Big Bubble’s 18 years birthday followed closely by my 20th “giliversary” as it was aptly named. 

What is your current PADI Rating?

Master Scuba Diver Trainer / Emergency First Response (EFR) / Dive Against Debris

What tips or advice would you give to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

If it feels right – do it!! Even if you didn’t plan it (I didn’t) – follow your heart. 

What is your favourite part of working in the dive industry?

The people. Staff, instructors and even Dive Masters become like family as you are all away from home spending hours each day together as a team. Plus the guests – so many people over the years and so many friends made. 

Do you have a ‘bucket list’ dive destination you are dreaming of going to?

Maldives now as it was Raja Ampat, but I am finally going there in December all being well.

What attributes make you more successful in diving?

I like helping people – we are all different but deserve the same chances. Helping locals reach dive professional level, helping students (not mine as don’t teach anymore, but Big Bubble students) to talk about what’s upset them / tips to overcome their fears sometimes etc. And now after all these years, able to give advice to new instructors too. 

What is the next step in your diving career?

There is no step up for me as I have achieved more than I could have hoped already. To keep doing what I do despite being a single Mum and getting older (haha). Actually diving myself again would be good!! 

However for the dive shop, the next plan is to become an IDC centre in the future. An exciting new step

What has been your best moment in diving?

Buying Big Bubble – land based answer. Diving with manta rays – underwater answer. But getting a nervous / scared student to pass an open water course comes quite high up there too!

What will you be doing this PADI Women’s Dive Day?

Well we did a “drag queen” dive last year and it was hilarious as the local crew / instructors / few guests too dressed up in my daughter’s fancy dress stuff with bikinis, let a 6 year old do their make up and we all had a right laugh and funny photos of that dive, so we may do that one again or just round up some women and go fun diving…!

Meet Restuning Sandini – PADI’s first female Indonesian Course Director. Having recently returned from Kota Kinabalu’s Course Director Training Course (CDTC) programme, Restuning has hit the ground running and has already conducted several Instructor Development Course’s (IDC) whilst working for Two Fish Divers around Indonesia.

When and how did you first get involved in diving?

I was in Honduras over 15 years ago for my best friend’s wedding. As I had a few days, I went to Utila island to do her advice on an outdoor adventurous activity called scuba diving. I was hooked ever since!!! I realised then, I was a child of the ocean and submerge in it, makes me feel home.

What is your current role in the dive industry? 

Ah! I am working as the IDC/GoPro Manager at All Locations of Two Fish Divers in Indonesia. So I am hopping islands and dividing my time in different centres. I am also responsible for our local staff trainings, and also supervising our zero-to-hero internships program for Indonesians. We have some Indonesian girls too!

I enjoy teaching people diving, but mostly now I enjoy teaching people how to teach people! 

What is your current PADI Rating?

I am proudly a PADI Course Director. And I am thankful for many friends in the industry and people in my life who believe in me and support me to reach this far. It is not a solo project, it has shown me that PADI is supportive and the industry is thriving and solid. The amount of love was overwhelming. Couldn’t do it without them to come up to the top.

What tips or advice would you give to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

There are sacrifices like other jobs. There are of course hard work and dedication needed, and mostly commitment to the industry and integrity. BUT it is possible to make a happy living and a fulfilling career out of it. Just stay true to our heart and be brave. Don’t try to fit into a box. We are the round pegs in the square holes. 

What is your favourite part of working in the dive industry?

The people! I get the chance to meeting adventurous people. Free-spirited humans! So inspiring. Learning something new everyday I am in the industry.

Do you have a ‘bucket list’ dive destination you are dreaming of going to?

YES! Too long list of beautiful destination! But I am sure, opportunity will come to tick those list one by one. I just enjoy wherever water and beach I am happen to be at the moment, and not focus too much on other places. 

What attributes make you more successful in diving?

Dare in being myself, and at the same time, accepting others to express their desire in this industry too. I treat it as a way of living, not just a job. 

My favorite quote from Van Gogh: “Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”

 What is the next step in your diving career?

Bringing more Indonesian women into this career, and definitely showing the world that it is possible for a woman and a mother to have this career!!! 

With our cultural background, I’ve been told too many times that it is a career for only men. Not true!

What has been your best moment in diving?

When I looked in my student’s eyes and realized I just turned fear into passion. When I hear my students are happy, successful in their travelling and working in the industry. When more and more people come home to the ocean and care about it. 

What will you be doing this PADI Women’s Dive Day?

Diving, darlings! With my manicured nails, long eyelashes and colour coordinated dive computer! Haha. Doing what I love most, whilst embracing who I am:  A woman.

Meet Cindy Barhum, Cindy is 25 years old from Bunaken, North Sulawesi. She has been diving for only two years, but in that time she has logged over 500 dives, with around half of them being technical dives. She has been working as a dive guide for 1.5 years, and certified as a PADI Divemaster in March 2019. She overcame challenges, doing all of her technical dive training in English, which is her second language. She is also only one of a small handful of female dive guides in Bunaken, and could also possibly be one of the few female Indonesian technical divers in the country.

When and how did you first get involved in diving?

I completed my Open Water and Advanced courses in March 2017 in Raja Ampat. I liked the idea of diving because the first time I heard other divers talking about what they saw I wanted to see the same things. The ocean seemed like a whole other world, so I wanted to explore it.

What is your current role in the dive industry?

I work as a dive guide at 5 Star Dive Resort Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort. Located in Bunaken National Park we specialise in technical diving. In addition to guiding, I also assist on technical diving courses, manage the logistics on the dive boat, fill tanks, and help service the equipment.   

What is your current PADI Rating?

I am a PADI Divemaster and a PADI Tec 50 diver, and currently I am taking my PADI Rebreather Diver course on the Poseidon Se7en. After that I will be taking my PADI Trimix Diver course.

What tips or advice would you give to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

Keep an open mind. You have to work hard, keep learning, and have commitment and real patience for what you are doing. You should enjoy your job, and you must have respect for the underwater environment. A career in diving is a very rewarding one.

What is your favourite part of working in the dive industry?

I have two great instructors who always support me, and I learn a lot of new things from them. When I see them teaching and tech diving, I know that I want to be like them one day.

Do you have a ‘bucket list’ dive destination you are dreaming of going to?

I am interested in shipwrecks, and I would really like to go wreck diving in the Red Sea, Egypt. Hopefully one day I will make it there.

What attributes make you more successful in diving?

It’s essential to have support from your dive centre. You will need to work hard, have a positive attitude, and a passion for diving.

What is the next step in your diving career?

At the moment I am training to become a rebreather and Trimix diver, and I will be guiding technical divers to deeper depths. In the future I would like to become a PADI instructor, and have my own dive centre in Indonesia.

What has been your best moment in diving?

I have so many great moments, as I get to meet interesting people from many different places, and show them a different world. My all-time favourite underwater moment was when I first tried technical diving.

What will you be doing this PADI Women’s Dive Day?

This PADI Women’s Dive Day I will be helping organise the rebreather try-dive day in our resort. On July 21st we will be offering free rebreather try-dives to all our eligible female guests, and I will be there in support of the instructors and the students.

Find out more about hosting a PADI Womens Dive Day event here.

Read last years blog here.

Keep Learning

These days you hear “never stop learning” so much it’s practically a cliché, but for good reason. Today technologies and methodologies evolve rapidly so that more than at any time in history, continuous education is crucial to staying informed and relevant in every field. More than just keeping up, you also need it to open new opportunities and directions by expanding your capabilities and qualifications. Even in our retirement years, data show that life-long-learners tend to be more socially engaged, and (with good diet and exercise) have significantly slower age-related brain function declines. You’ve may have heard about these benefits, but there are at least two other continuing education benefits you don’t hear about as much.

Coral Reef - Scuba Divers - Underwater

1. Discover and extend your passions. While we know what our passions are, life-long-learners know from experience that we often don’t know what they could be. A mild curiosity sometimes only hints at a deep, underlying interest waiting to emerge and grow. The only way to know is to pursue these, ideally through courses or programs that get you truly engaged. As an example, an instructor I know had a slight interest in cave diving. Almost on a whim though, he took a cave diver course and 20 years later, cave diving is still one of his primary, favorite underwater pursuits. If he’d decided that because he’s an instructor he didn’t need to keep learning, he’d have lost two decades of something he’s truly passionate about.

There’s another side to this, too. By continuing your education, you also learn what your passions are not. We’re usually pretty good at choosing things that interest us, but it’s not a waste when you miss the mark and learn about something that’s in the wrong direction because it redirects you to where your interests really lie. A diver I knew chose the search and recovery dive in the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course thinking he’d really enjoy finding and floating lost stuff. While the dive went fine and he did well, he learned that it really wasn’t for him. So, having never dived a dry suit, he did that dive next and that hit his hot button because diving dry is way more useful for his diving.

But, we’re not just talking about diver courses. What you learn in diving takes you beyond diving, and vice versa, if you just run with it. I know several divers who started with underwater photography, but as their love for the art blossomed, soon they were studying the dry side of imaging. Today they’re professional-level photographers above water as well as below. Flipping it around, many public safety divers start as police officers and fire fighters, then keep learning so they can take their expertise underwater when needed.

Public Safety Diver - Scuba Divers - Safety
Photo: Mike Berry

2. Share and pay forward. Public safety diving – a profession that helps solve crimes, save lives and bring closure after tragedy – demonstrates that continuing to learn isn’t just about you. Learning more is often part of giving more – directly or indirectly. If we train in diver rescue and CPR/first aid, we’re better able to help someone in serious emergency situations – diving and non-diving. Learn how to help people with physical or mental challenges dive, and you’re uniquely prepared to buddy with someone who has those needs. Take a course or courses in marine life survey techniques, debris collection, environmental science, wildlife resource management, coral restoration etc. (this can be a very long list), put what you learn into practice, and you become part of the solution for a cleaner and healthier world.

Qualify as a teacher and/or instructor in any of these areas, and you can help others help others with these kinds of courses. Add American Sign Language (or the sign spoken where you are), and you can teach people with hearing impairment challenges. You get the point – none of this happens if we don’t keep learning.

While continuing our education is more important than ever before, fortunately, in almost every endeavor it is also more accessible than ever before. It’s true in diving. You probably know you can start most PADI courses with a call, message or visit to your local PADI Dive Center and Instructor, and with many, just a click at But, the life-long-learning door is wide open –in the modern world, the challenge isn’t finding, but choosing. Search “YOUNAMEIT courses” and you’ll almost always find multiple courses, programs and elearning opportunities to research further and pick from.

If you’re passionate about diving like I am, I’m sure you’ll keep learning about diving and the underwater world. Hopefully, your next course will uncover a new underwater passion or expand one you have now. But, please, don’t limit your learning to diver courses. You’re never too young or too old, so keep learning something to share and pay forward.

As Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

The Unifying Power of Diving

It’s a wonderful thing just how diverse we humans are. We differ in skin color, gender, physical details, language, culture etiquette, clothing and customs, and these are just obvious differences above deeper ones, like values, emotions, beliefs and even how we think.

Bonaire Diver - Women in Diving - PADI Diver

As the world shrinks, cultural differences and inherent tribalism increasingly cause friction, competition, bias, rivalries, prejudice, political discourse, war, social separation and other by-products, which is one reason intercultural communication is a rapidly rising, global priority. It studies effective, positive and constructive communication across cultures, customs, borders, languages and other variations in people groups. As it happens, diving is an effective, positive and constructive intercultural communication vehicle in at least three main ways (probably more).

1. Diving teaches us a common language. If you dive internationally, you may have experienced something like this: A diver points to two fingers at their eyes, then one finger in some direction, followed by a hand vertically at the forehead. Above water, they might have shouted, “¡Mira! ¡Tiburón!,” “देखो! शार्क!” or “봐봐요! 상어!,” and you wouldn’t understand. They told you, “Look! Shark!” and underwater you got it, regardless of what voice languages you do or don’t speak. As divers, we constantly communicate with formalized signals, improvised gestures and expressions. We don’t even need a common voice language for things like predive safety checks or to help each other back onto the boat, and we communicate clearly. This is not a small point because language is the fundamental – the very heart of understanding, interaction and respect between people. It is the basis for higher level thinking, and one of the strongest factors that brings cultures together.

2. Diving generates interpersonal experiences. Social psychologist Gordon Allport’s contact hypothesis says that interpersonal contact is one of the most effective ways to reduce prejudice (i.e., create understanding) between groups, and diving together can be a close, interpersonal contact. Increasingly, dive tourism puts us with dive professionals, buddies and others from other parts of the world – at some top dive destinations today, it’s common to hear three or more languages on deck. Diving not only gives us interpersonal contact through experiences shared, but through responsibility shared. When buddied and on group tours, we rely on each other to dive safely as a team, and to be there for each other if there’s a problem. After the dive, we post and share images together, sign logbooks, get ready to go again, etc. It’s difficult to do things together and depend on each other, and not come to know and understand each other, at least a little better.

3. We are an inclusive community united by common purposes. There’s a 4th century proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which applies very much to diving. Because we have a passion for the underwater world, anything that threatens it is our common enemy, and we unite against the threat. In the past few years alone, millions of divers around the world have come together to ban shark finning, preserve threatened species, restore coral, eliminate plastic waste and spread the healing power of diving. Against these threats and human needs, cultural differences fade because we’re in this together, and these are everyone’s problems.

Bahamas - Scuba Diver - Okay Hand Signal

As divers, our messages and images crisscross the planet in social media, drawing others from all walks and places to these causes, and to diving too. Moreover, our cross-cultural diversity adds legitimacy to what we say: When millions of divers (and those we influence) raise their voices in every country, in every language, from every culture, to every government, it cannot be a regional bias, special interest or part of a political agenda. Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro put it, “Individually we are a drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Wise words – and fitting. The oceans are nature’s most powerful force.

Let’s not overstate things though. Diving cannot, by itself, bring about the intercultural communication and cooperation the world needs to rise against these global challenges. But, diving is absolutely a needed unifying force pushing back against a myriad of social forces that try to divide and defeat us (meaning everyone, not just divers). In my opinion, this by itself, is a reason to be a diver, and a reason to invite others into diving.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Register Now for PADI Training Bulletin Live Webinars

Please join us for one of these live, interactive presentations of the PADI Training Bulletin, Third Quarter 2019 edition. During these FREE presentations you will have explained the latest standard changes, plus you can test your knowledge with a series of fun and interactive poll questions.

Training Bulletin LIVE- 3Q19 English 

Tuesday 16th July 2019, 6pm AEST (UTC+10)

Training Bulletin LIVE- 3Q19 Korean

Thursday 18th July 2019, 2pm KST (UTC+9)

Training Bulletin LIVE- 3Q19 Chinese

Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 6pm CST (UTC+8)

What do you need to do before the event?

First of all make sure you are registered by clicking the relevant link above. The above listed starting times are in the presenters’ local time zones – to ensure you don’t miss out, please verify the equivalent in your own time zone.

On the day all you will need is a computer/tablet or notebook connected to the internet and a set of speakers or headphones to listen in. Login early to ensure your system is functioning properly.

For more information about using the GoToMeeting software reference the GoToMeeting Attendee Quick Reference Guide (PDF).

You can download the latest PADI Training Bulletin by logging into the PADI Pros’ Site and then clicking on ‘Training Essentials’ and ‘Training Bulletins’. It is useful to have a copy for your immediate reference when you are listening to webinar.Under this heading you will also find recordings on previous webinars and registration links to future events.

Seminar Credits

If you sign up and attend this webinar plus another four PADI Asia Pacific LIVE webinars within a 36-month period, you will receive one seminar credit, which can count towards a future PADI Course Director Application. There are no seminar time restrictions for Master Instructor applicants.

To receive a seminar credit for having attended five live webinars, or for having watched five recordings of webinars, please submit either the webinar confirmation email or write a brief synopsis about what was presented during the webinar then submit these documents together with your Master Instructor or Course Director Training Course application.

We look forward to seeing you online!

For more information please email