How Winning a PADI Divemaster Package Changed My Life

Written by Christina Albiger

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!

Starting My PADI Divemaster Journey

Since travelling to Koh Tao and meeting the team at Sairee Cottage Diving, a lot has happened. I completed my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, Emergency First Response and PADI Rescue Diver courses and I am currently on the journey to becoming a PADI Divemaster.

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.

Learning great buoyancy skills in my PADI Divemaster Course.

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 experience.

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.

Whale shark encounter during my PADI Divemaster Course on Koh Tao.

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.

Are you interested in becoming a PADI Divemaster like Christina? Learn more about the PADI Divemaster course, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course and locate your local PADI Dive Store in Koh Tao today!

PADI Business Academy- Outbound Chinese Tourism, Koh Tao- Last Chance for Early Bird Offer

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.

PADI_Business_Academy_2

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!

Click Here To Register

This one day Business Academy will focus on topics such as:

  • What the Chinese Consumer is worth to your business
  • Elements of a Successful Website
  • Social Media- WeChat, Weibo & Video Platforms
  • User Generated Content and it’s direct impact on business
  • Effective Instructor Development Opportunities
  • E-commerce and Online Travel Agents
  • Marketing tools and Chinese Services available to PADI Members

There will also be dedicated workshop time, where PADI staff will help you work on specific action plans for your dive operation.

The number of attendees is limited to ensure that the PADI Business Academy staff can really focus on you. Register today to make sure you don’t miss out.

For more information, please contact your PADI Regional Manager or email Brooke.McConnell@padi.com.au

You can also view the rest of the upcoming Business Academies for 2018 here.

 

PADI’s Pillars of Change- A Force for Good in Koh Tao, Thailand

Written by PADI Territory Director Tim Hunt 

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.

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

#PADI4Change

PADI Business Academy- Outbound Chinese Tourism: Koh Tao & Tawau

Register today and receive an early bird discount for our one-day PADI Business Academy- Outbound Chinese Tourism in Koh Tao and Tawau!

PADI_Business_Academy_2

Did you know that more than one in ten international tourists worldwide are from China? Last year alone there were over 120 million outward-bound journeys from China, of which around half were leisure.

With the rapid growth of Chinese tourists travelling overseas, PADI Business Academy- Outbound Chinese Tourism is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn how to engage with the Chinese market and ignite growth in all operational aspects of your business.

Don’t miss out on our last PADI Business Academy Outbound Chinese Tourism seminars for 2018! 

Koh Tao- Saturday 8th December- Register now

Tawau- Wednesday 12th December- Register now

Over the course of the day, attendees can expect to gain further knowledge on the following topics:

  • What the Chinese Consumer is worth to your business
  • Elements of a Successful Website
  • Social Media- WeChat, Weibo & Video Platforms
  • User Generated Content and it’s direct impact on business
  • Effective Instructor Development Opportunities
  • E-commerce and Online Travel Agents
  • Marketing tools and Chinese Services available to PADI Members

There will also be dedicated workshop time at the conclusion of the day, where PADI staff will help you work on specific action plans for your dive operation.

BONUS – EARLY BIRD OFFER

Register your place before Saturday 27th October (Koh Tao) or Wednesday 31st October (Tawau), 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!

The number of attendees is limited to ensure that the PADI Business Academy staff can really focus on you. Register today to make sure you don’t miss out!

Koh Tao- Saturday 8th December- Register now

Tawau- Wednesday 12th December- Register now

For more information, please contact your PADI Regional Manager or email Brooke.McConnell@padi.com.au