An interview with Michael Petro
Scuba Nation Diving Centre
PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre
Phnom Penh & Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Describe a typical day in your working life as a PADI Divemaster.
A typical day at the Scuba Nation Dive Centre involves arriving at the shop at about 6.00am, packing all the equipment prepared the day before into the truck and waiting for the arrival of the customers at 7.00am. We then head to the boat which is moored at the local port – stopping at the bakery on the way for freshly baked, still-warm, baguettes. At the pier, we guide the customers on board and load on the dive gear and supplies. During the two hour trip to the local dive sites, we give the customers a boat briefing, prepare some fruit and baguettes for breakfast and ready the equipment for the first dive. After a further briefing on arrival at the site we commence the first dive, then it’s lunch and a siesta before the second dive. We then head back to the shop where we prepare the gear for the next day, then head home and rest up so we can do it all again tomorrow.
When and where did you start diving?
I started diving in October 2012. I had intended to do the PADI Open Water course in Thailand, but a friend of a friend that lived in Thailand had recently done the PADI Advanced course in Cambodia and said it was a great place to do the course, so I decided to go there instead.
When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?
In February of 2014, after having had such a great experience completing the PADI Open Water and Advanced courses at the Scuba Nation Dive Centre in Cambodia 18 months earlier, I decided to return and complete the PADI Rescue and PADI Divemaster courses.
What made you choose to become a PADI Professional?
I have always enjoyed working outdoors in hands-on professions and after breaking both my right ankle and shoulder within a two year period, I decided that I could use a break from the laborious landscaping lifestyle and that a sea change was in order.
What highlights do you recall from your PADI Divemaster course?
The dive sites of Cambodia were amazing (some of the most beautiful in the region) and a highlight in themselves. A further highlight was assisting on a search and recovery operation after a local fishing boat went missing.
What dive locations are on your bucket list and why?
I would love to dive the Cenotes in Mexico – the clear waters are very alluring. I would also love to try some river drift diving in New Zealand – a dive I think would be very exhilarating.
What has been the most memorable dive of your life?
My most memorable dive was a night dive in Ewens Ponds, near Mt. Gambier in South Australia. The water was crystal clear, my friend and I had the pond to ourselves, there was a full moon and we spent most of the time with our torches off – enjoying the majesty of seeing each other’s silhouettes slowly gliding through the invisible water as if we both were flying.
What words of advice and encouragement would you give to divers thinking of becoming a PADI Divemaster?
Whether you have never dived before or you wish to upgrade your certification, the PADI Divemaster course is an amazing experience. Anyone can do it, as it is not exclusively for those who wish to work as professionals. During the course you will become a wiser, safer, more confident and more skilled diver. Participating in and completing the PADI Divemaster course was one of the greatest things I have ever done, as I am now able to live, work, travel and dive all over the world – becoming a PADI Divemaster is one thing I will certainly never regret doing!