To celebrate PADI 5 Star IDC Sairee Cottage Diving’s 10 year anniversary they put together the ‘Change a Life’ contest. One lucky winner would win an all-inclusive (zero to hero) PADI Divemaster package. Not only did this package include all PADI courses from Open Water Diver up to Divemaster, but it also included flights, accommodation, learning material, insurance, unlimited fun diving, gear rental and more.
I finally decided to enter the competition and began writing a blog post and filming a video to submit. A few weeks and one video interview later, Sairee Cottage Diving’s PADI Platinum Course Director, Marcel van den Berg, messaged me to let me know I had actually won the contest! After totally freaking out, I immediately started looking for flights. With my flights booked for the 22nd July, I couldn’t wait to go on my biggest adventure yet.
Living in Paradise
Being the lucky winner of the Sairee Cottage Diving ‘Change a Life’ competition, I won an all-inclusive PADI Divemaster package. Although I originally never imagined myself as a PADI Divemaster, I was excited to get started. I travelled to the beautiful island of Koh Tao, where I visited Sairee Cottage Diving. It was here that I was lucky enough to start a new chapter of my life as a PADI Divemaster, while living in paradise. My life was quickly filled with beautiful beaches, warm weather, amazing people and a lot of unforgettable diving!
Most people I talk to ask me if I can teach students how to dive after completing the PADI Divemaster course, but the answer is simply no. To teach students how to dive you must first complete the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor program. Instead, as a PADI Divemaster you can take already certified divers on guided tours (fun dives) despite their certification level (Open Water Diver and above). A Divemaster is simply an underwater tour guide that can show divers local dive sites, local marine life and basically anything interesting underwater.
To become a PADI Divemaster you
must first learn various demonstrating skills, theory about your equipment,
human physiology, physics, and decompression and recreational diving. You must
be able to prove your swimming, floating, snorkelling and towing abilities. To
deepen your rescue, navigation, buoyancy and mapping skills, you must also
attend workshops. Finally, you will also need to assist instructors on various
courses. Besides all that, a huge part of the course is fun diving so you can perfect
your confidence underwater and of course, your diving skills. Here at Sairee
Cottage Diving, they emphasise that your Divemaster course is about having fun –
and it absolutely is!
The PADI Scuba Diving Community
One thing that makes this
humbling experience of discovering this whole new world, even more fun, is that
I get to share it with so many other passionate divers. The PADI diving
community is literally just as diverse as the Koh Tao marine life. You’ll meet
people of all ages, from all over the world, with the most diverse backgrounds,
yet they all have a shared love for diving. I have learnt so much from just talking
to them about what we’ve seen underwater during previous diving experiences. Being
surrounded by those inspiring people and hearing their experiences have helped (and
still help) me a lot with progressing in my own diving career. For example, I
have been able to overcome my small fear of night diving by realising that with
the right training, a night dive can be a very special and meditative
Recently a friend of mine asked me about my most memorable experience in diving and I thought back to my first week on Koh Tao. Together with some other divemaster candidates, I went on a fun dive at a dive site called South West Pinnacle. It was a nice, sunny day and the visibility underwater was great. We were just hovering around the pinnacle enjoying ourselves when a giant school of beautiful gold band fusiliers came in sight. Those small, agile fish were everywhere, surrounding us from every side, moving whenever we moved. Some of them even came very close which made the experience of being a part of this community and one with the environment, even more exciting. It absolutely made my day and it still puts a big smile on my face today. Another dive I will never forget was when we saw a whale shark. It was so unbelievably exciting to see the stunning whale shark swim gracefully in the distance.
Sharing the Passion for Scuba
Putting a big smile on someone’s
face and experiencing these amazing memories with them is why becoming a PADI
Divemaster is so special. You are able to show them the marine life that they
see on television, in front of their own eyes. Sometimes I catch myself taking
all this for granted, as it has become a part of my everyday life. However, I
keep reminding myself that the opportunity I was given comes as a once in a
lifetime experience and I am incredibly thankful for that!
It’s hard to put my thoughts and
feelings into the right words, as there is so much more to tell. However,
that’s why I am sharing my experience of my PADI Divemaster journey and the
amazing lifestyle that comes with it.
This is your last chance to take advantage of the early bird offer for the PADI Business Academy- Outbound Chinese Tourism in Koh Tao on Saturday 8th December 2018.
Register your place before Saturday 27th October 2018, to receive AUD $20 off the cost of your registration. Plus, with every third paid attendee, you will receive a fourth free. So get in quick and register your spot today!
At PADI we are committed to supporting social and environmental efforts through PADI’s Pillars of Change. It is something you’ve heard us talk about during our member forums, general updates and Social Media channels – but we are also putting these words into action. Around the globe our field staff are spreading the message to members and to potential PADI divers, as our community continues to grow. Here is a quick look at the efforts of Regional Manager Neil Richards and Regional Training Consultant Guy Corsellis, who are both based in Koh Tao, Thailand.
Marine Animal Protection – As we all know a healthy ocean is vital to humanity. Therefore, PADI is taking steps to help divers become part of a positive solution to help impact and change our oceans. Guy and his son Iggy (PADI Divemaster Candidate) took this powerful message to the children from schools in their region, Koh Tao’s International Primary School and a local Thai Public School. After giving presentations to these children about the behavior of marine animals in their local underwater habitat, they were also able to provide some eco-friendly tips. By teaching and educating the children on how important our oceans, including the species within it, they will learn and help spread our message from an early age. We hope that as the future generation, they can influence change for generations to come.
Ocean Health – With over 200,000 identified species in the oceans and millions more to discover, protecting our marine life biodiversity is critical. PADI works closely with organisations that strive to help and protect our oceans in a multitude of ways. As our key partner in the environment for 25 years, Project AWARE is one such organisation that is committed to keeping the natural balance in our aquatic world. Project AWARE’s Community Conservation Officer, Jack Fishman, visited Thailand to spread the word on Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris Specialty Course, helping PADI dive centres engage with their community and tackle marine debris head on. He gave valuable insight into the role scuba divers play in highlighting the extent of the marine debris problem. The Project AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Course was also taught to a large number of divers. PADI continues to support the education of our community into the importance of sharks and keeping marine ecosystems in equilibrium.
Healing and Wellness – Becoming a diver is a life changing experience for a lot of people. It can drive career changes and provide transformations both mentally and physically. PADI’s Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course is a great example of this. It is a fantastic way for people to overcome adversity, illness or disability. Neil Richards and Guy Corsellis taught the specialty to the PADI Course Directors on Koh Tao to get them all motivated to support the transformation this speciality can bring. In a truly inspiring session, the PADI Course Directors showed great camaraderie as they worked together to develop different techniques to teaching. A course that was a real opener to some seasoned PADI professionals, will now become crucial to not only providing new divers the ability to fulfill their dreams, but also to inspire others along the way.
People + Community – Very few people give more to a community than its emergency teams, ready to help in an instant and putting others needs ahead of their own. Neil and Guy decided to give a little back when they took some of the nurses from Koh Tao’s newly opened hospital out for some fun under the water, as part of PADI Women’s Dive Day. The six nurses were introduced to a whole new world during a PADI Discover Scuba Diving Introductory Experience. By supporting the training of local people to foster sustainability, PADI continues to educate and support local communities to cultivate the protection mindset necessary for ocean health and marine animal protection.
For more information about the PADI Pillars of Change, please visit our website here.