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.

Dive Community Comes Together for Coral Restoration Workshop

Situated near Bali in Indonesia are a group of islands growing in popularity. Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida are just a short boat ride away from Bali and are fast becoming known as an amazing diving destination.

With growing popularity however, there also comes an impact on the environment. To combat this impact members of this dive community are extremely proactive in ocean conservation. Regular environmental events, clean ups, Dive Against Debris, seminars and education based dive training are a regular occurrence. Most businesses have initiated waste management programs and are actively aiming to reduce diver impacts through environmental briefings for guests.

Workshop Group Photo

Recently Andrew Taylor, biologist and certified restoration practitioner from Blue Corner Marine Research invited this dive community to get together in an effort to begin coral restoration in an important area used regularly by divers.

Andrew initiated a pilot project to determine the restoration method best suited to the specific environmental conditions in the area. He then recommended the best restoration method for the chosen site on Nusa Penida, which was to conduct a two step physical and biological restoration effort.

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Divers installing the frames

First the team physically stabilized the rubble substrate using modular reef structures or coral frames. By installing these structures a framework is provided to minimize erosion and create patch reefs. Suitable hard coral species are then transplanted upon the structures to establish patch reefs which in time, will expand across the rubble area.

Andrew explains the workshop below:

“The workshop ran as an intensive 2 day event for professional local divers of the Nusa Islands in Bali. The first day involved classroom training on coral reef ecology and restoration techniques, followed by an afternoon of working dives. On the second day structures and coral transplants were inspected and documented for what will be an ongoing monitoring project. The workshop was offered free of charge to the local community in an effort to get all the dive instructors, divemasters and dive centres involved in protecting and restoring the reef. During the workshop 50 coral frames were installed at the restoration site! Funding for reef structures and operational logistics of the workshop were made possible with diver donations, assistance from several dive shops on the Nusa Islands, fundraising events at Blue Corner Bar, and generous donations from community partners”.

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This restoration effort is the start of what will be an ongoing restoration program in the Nusa Islands.  The event was attended and supported by 25 Dive Professionals and volunteers from 6 PADI Dive Centres and Resorts. Additionally, the event was supported by the Marine Megafauna Foundation, Coral Triangle Center, Lembongan Marine Association, Komunitas Penyelam Lembongan and the Ministry of Marine Affairs, Bali Province (DKP).

Logistics were arranged through Blue Corner Dive and the project had the backing of PADI & Project AWARE.

PADI Regional Managers get to experience some great conservation initiatives all around their region. If you are undertaking conservation initiatives through your PADI Dive Shop, contact your PADI Regional Manager to discuss ideas, implementation and support.

The Early Days in Nusa Lembongan…and 20 years on!

Reaching a 20th birthday is worth celebrating! World Diving Lembongan recently celebrated their 20th anniversary of PADI Resort and Retail Association membership and owner John his 25th! Below is a bit about their journey.

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About 22 years ago, a young British couple made their way to a then unknown island, Nusa Lembongan, off the coast of Bali. There they found pristine beaches with crystal clear water, friendly people who welcomed them to their island and their homes, and an amazing underwater world full of stunning corals with spectacular fish.  This adventurous couple wanted to dive but there was no one on the island offering this facility.  This lack of provision however sowed the seed of an idea on that visit. That idea flourished, changing the face of tourism on Nusa Lembongan all those years ago.

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Mark and Shirley, that brave young couple, stayed on the island for nearly eight years, training and employing all local staff as divemasters and boat captains.  They developed World Diving Lembongan and it became a flourishing, successful dive centre.  John Chapman & Sue Beebe took over in 2005 and said that this was “when the hard work had already been done”!

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Since 2005, tourism has grown exponentially on Nusa Lembongan.  There are now dozens of guesthouses, one or two bijou boutique hotels, bars, spas, private villas, restaurants serving a variety of meals from a simple dish of freshly caught fish to a culinary experience of haute cuisine, and at the last count, over thirty dive centres!

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As more and more divers have discovered how spectacular the underwater world here is, more centres have opened to provide for this ever increasing number of visitors.  John and Sue count their blessings daily- “witnessing a world class underwater environment, working with fantastic local staff, enjoying the fascinating ceremonies, and experiencing being part of the World Diving and Pondok Baruna family, we know how truly fortunate we are.  Despite all the progress on the island, the underlying strength of the island’s culture is still there, maintaining it as a magical island where we can all, indeed, feel privileged to witness this wonderful paradise”.

Highlights from the 20th birthday party celebration can be seen here

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It’s loyal  PADI members like these that contribute to the success not only of PADI, but of the entire diving industry! Congratulations once again on the success of World Diving Lembongan and for reaching your 20th anniversary as a valued PADI Dive Centre and John for reaching your 25th! We look forward to seeing the business continue long into the future!

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To find out more about the benefits of becoming a PADI Dive Centre or Resort please visit PADI.com. To view more photos from the previous 20 years of World Diving Lembongan, click here.

Indonesia Earthquake update

Indonesia made headlines this week after several large earthquakes hit the area of West Nusa Tenggara. These earthquakes, some reaching 7.0 on the Richter scale, caused widespread damage across Lombok and the three Gili Islands. Sadly, many lives have been lost and many changed forever. Homes, and businesses sustained damage or have been destroyed and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected.

Providing food to the community
Providing food to those in need

Dive Community Sticking Together

Since these events took place the dive community has rallied together to not only support each other but also look after the many tourists and locals who were left sleeping outdoors and trying to find news of their loved ones. Tourists were offered beds, food, water and comfort as everyone banded together as a community.

PADI Asia Pacific and the regional team here in Indonesia are very happy to report that we have been able to contact nearly every one of our members affected and so far, all are safe.

Updates from PADI Dive Shops and Instructors

Since the earthquakes, PADI Dive Shops and other dive operators have been contacted by many incoming travellers to the affected areas about whether they can continue with their travel plans. So, here is an insight provided by PADI Members on the ground in the affected areas of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Gili Meno and Lombok.

Many of the businesses in Lombok and the Gili Islands are temporarily closed. Although many businesses only suffered minor damage and could potentially re-open already, the Islands have been without power, internet, running water and basic essentials to run.

The priority right now is to help the locals in the worst hit areas. Most of the local staff at the dive operations in this area come from the worst hit areas in Lombok. This will continue to be the core focus before businesses re-open and ask anyone to come back to work.

Trawangan Dive Centre Manager Sarah Best had this to say:

“The immediate effect of the earthquake was horrific. Buildings had completely collapsed, people were injured and there was widespread panic that a tsunami was going to hit. Everyone was running to get to the top of the hill. The tsunami warning was removed quickly, but tremors carried on throughout the night, which was terrifying. Most people slept up on the hill and outside.

The island was evacuated the next day and by the evening of the 7th, the island was completely deserted apart from the remaining few who wanted to stay to protect their businesses. With no power, very little communication and security concerns this was probably the worst night for those who stayed behind.

Five days on and we are making amazing progress into restoring the island. An incredible team have rallied together to protect businesses, clean up, feed the horses and cats and keep things moving forward. They hope to have mains power by tomorrow. Others who have evacuated to Bali are now teaming up to provide urgent food, water and medical supplies for the people in Lombok who have lost their homes. Many of the dive shops are now pooling resources and working together as a team to make sure that all areas of Lombok are covered since there are hundreds of villages requiring urgent supplies. Donations are desperately needed to help with the immediate relief for hundreds of homeless people around Lombok”.

Sander Buis, owner of Oceans 5 Dive Resort on Gili Air has begun the clean up and is one of the many people raising funds to assist local communities. Sander had this to say:

“Dive centers, from all organizations, are working together with other businesses to give aid to the local community and maintain stability on the 3 Islands. During these days of the disaster we became a real community; helping and supporting each other. We were communicating not only on Gili Air but also with the other 2 islands and of course Lombok. All kinds of businesses have set up fund raising programs for their staff in Lombok. We are working all together to give the support where people need it. For now it’s food and blankets.

I will never get use to the shock, or the earthquakes. The impact is massive. But because we are all together at night and seeing each other a lot during the day we know we are not alone”.

What Can You Do to Help?

Continue with your travel plans! Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands – 4 of these islands are not quite ready to accept tourism but the rest of them, including neighbouring Bali, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are business as usual.

Bringing business to Indonesia is key to assist getting things back to normal and once businesses reopen they need customers to eat in the restaurants, people to sleep in the hotels and divers to go diving.

You can also donate to any number of the organisations and individuals raising money on the ground here to buy food, bedding, clothing and provide drinking water.

Many of the dive centre’s have set up Go Fund Me pages to raise much needed funds to buy supplies, clothing, bedding and building materials.

Alternatively some additional links below:

If you are looking for alternative areas to dive within Indonesia check out the PADI Dive Shop Locator for an up to date list.

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