2014 Instructor Development Updates

The dates and locations for the 2014 Instructor Development Updates in the Asia Pacific region have been announced and are listed below.

These informative and important live seminars are open to all PADI Course Directors and IDC Staff Instructors. Further programme details and registration information will be sent out over the next 2 weeks and will also be posted on the PADI Pro’s website.

In the meantime, please pencil these dates in:

  • Sydney, Australia – 08 April, 2014
  • Auckland, New Zealand – 26 May, 2014
  • Cairns, Australia – 16 June, 2014

For more information please contact your PADI Regional Manager.

Outstanding Commitment to the Vanuatu Dive Industry

Christina Shaw, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor at Big Blue in Vanuatu has provided the following story regarding Mike Crawford and the excellent results he has achieved with local divers and the diving industry in Vanuatu.

Mike Crawford, a PADI Master Instructor from Big Blue Vanuatu, recently received a PADI award for “Outstanding Commitment to the Vanuatu Diving Industry – 2013”. This award is partly an acknowledgement of the twenty-three years Mike has spent as a PADI Instructor with numerous PADI certifications under his weight belt – which in itself is a great accomplishment. However, the true stand out achievement is the fulfillment of Mike’s vision for a dive industry staffed, not by expatriate instructors, but by local Ni-Vanuatu dive professionals.

When Mike and his wife Maggie first arrived in Vanuatu there were only a handful of Ni-Vanuatu divers working in the dive resorts and none held professional diving qualifications. The situation is very different now. Today, Big Blue employs six Ni-Vanuatu PADI Instructors and three Ni-Vanuatu PADI Divemasters with more in training. Late last year, after attending a PADI Instructor Development Course run by Big Blue, five Ni-Vanuatu divers working at four different dive centres in Vanuatu qualified as PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.

So what brought Mike to Vanuatu?
He started life on a dairy farm in Te Puke, New Zealand, left school at 16 years old and joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force, serving for 6 years.

Whilst contemplating his future on a cruise around the South Pacific, Mike bought a lei from a stall on the island of Espirito Santo in Vanuatu. The local stall owner told Mike if he threw the lei into the water he would come back to Vanuatu. Surprisingly, the very next day he was offered a job in the security department of the cruise ship, thereby returning him regularly to the tropical shores of Vanuatu.

Mike learnt to dive in Port Vila in 1988 and whenever he was off duty whilst docked there, he would go diving. Three years later he attended the PADI Academy in Sydney and qualified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. He ran the dive operations on the Fair Star cruise ship for three and a half years before settling in Vanuatu with his wife Maggie, also a PADI Instructor. Together they ran dive operations in Vanuatu for 10 years before setting up their own dive resort in Port Vila in 2005 – and Big Blue was born. Big Blue has grown to become Vanuatu’s only PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort.

Mike and Maggie had worked previously with Jerry Songalapa, Luaki Nabanga and Mark Anatu. Mike encouraged them to complete PADI dive courses and all of them achieved their PADI Divemaster certification within a few years. All three still work for Mike, now with Big Blue. Jerry became a PADI Instructor in 2009. He explains “I would never have believed that I could become a PADI Divemaster, but I did. Then I would never have believed that I could become a PADI Instructor. But each time I passed the next level Mike told me I should keep studying and improving and doing better”. Jerry is now the Diving Manager at Big Blue.

Mike has taught many other local divers who have gone on to work elsewhere. Janet Moodley (née Nabanga) worked with Mike and Maggie and became Vanuatu’s first ever female PADI Divemaster. They were also instrumental in helping Janet become the first ever Ni-Vanuatu female to be employed on the cruise ships.

All staff at the resorts – not just the dive centre staff – were encouraged. Mike would share his enthusiasm for diving with the gardeners, carpenters and others and turn them into divers. He is the mainstay of the volunteers who maintain and run the decompression chamber in Vanuatu. It is not a surprise that Mike is known as “Abu” meaning grandfather. He has had such an impact on the lives of many Ni-Vanuatu that he is seen as part of their families.

Mike’s influence on the diving industry in Vanuatu can only be seen as positive. Diving with the local Ni-Vanuatu PADI Instructors and Divemasters makes for a more authentic cultural experience for those visiting the tropical islands of Vanuatu. More significantly, giving local people the opportunity to become PADI Professionals can change lives. They can work in a well-paid, secure profession where they have responsibility and are respected by their family and peers. They have the opportunity to progress and continue their education and attain further qualifications through the PADI system. They are, rightly, proud of their achievements.

Mike is a quiet and modest man and when asked to say a few words after being presented with his award he told the Big Blue staff that the success of Big Blue was down to them and all their hard work. He encouraged them to take up the mantel and, in turn, encourage their younger colleagues to keep progressing and trying to do better. Jerry, who has worked with for Mike for 15 years, then spoke on behalf of the Big Blue staff and expressed what it means to them that ‘Abu’ has received this recognition. He spoke of the gratitude felt by many for the opportunities Abu Mike has given them. “This is not just an award from PADI this is from all of us too and it’s from the heart”.

The award for “Outstanding Commitment to the Vanuatu Dive Industry” could not be given to a more deserving individual. What would ‘Abu’ Mike say if you asked him about his achievements and the award? “Not bad for a Kiwi farmer from Te Puke”!

Mike Crawford has changed the face of diving in Vanuatu.

For more information visit www.bigbluevanuatu.com.


PADI Master Instructor, Mike Crawford receiving the PADI award for “Outstanding Commitment to the Vanuatu Dive Industry”, surrounded the staff at Big Blue.

Rescue Diver Workshop

PADI Asia Pacific conducted a Rescue Diver Workshop in Cairns, Australia on 7th December 2013 – presented by Brigit Jager (PADI Asia Pacific Educational Consultant). The workshop was specifically held for PADI Professionals, to provide the latest techniques when demonstrating rescue diver skills to their students.

PADI Rescue Diver Workshops were also held in The Philippines, South Korea and Thailand in 2013.

The six PADI Professionals who attended the Cairns workshop were:

From left to right: Katsumi Kaneyuki – PADI Course Director, Paul Crocombe – PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Tim Ramseyer – PADI Master Instructor, with Darren Forster, Russell Hosp and Michelle Barry who are also PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainers.

Rescue Workshop Cairns

During January and February 2014, PADI Asia Pacific will be conducting further Rescue Diver Workshops in Thailand, The Philippines and Indonesia.

For more information and to register.

ScubaEarth Premium offers users added features

ScubaEarth Premium is an exciting option for users wanting to expand their ScubaEarth experience. ScubaEarth Premium users will be some of the most active, engaged users on the site. They’ll be looking for new dive opportunities, dive travel packages and new gear, making them more inclined to visit the profiles of active ScubaEarth dive shops. If you’re logging dives at a particular dive site every weekend, for example, ScubaEarth users watching that dives site may be more like to join your ScubaEarth Dive Crew and even join you for a real dive. PADI Dive Centers and Resorts receive complimentary access to the Premium section and users can access these benefits for $19.99 US:

  • PADI eCard Access – Premium users have access to all their PADI eCards. This is a great benefit for users wanting to display their certifications via the PADI App. This feature will be extremely popular for users with multiple PADI certifications.
  • Personalized Dive Dashboard – This single hub displays interactive slates so users can manage their favorite ScubaEarth components like favorite dive sites, dive buddies, marine species and featured destinations.

  • Critter Finder – Premium subscribers can find detailed marine species information, photos, top dive sites and external media associated with their favorite critters.

The Premium section of ScubaEarth will be launching soon, so now is a good time to set up your ScubaEarth profile and make sure you can connect with this engaged base of divers.

Live the Diving Dream Contest (Asia Pacific) – a great success for PADI Divemasters!

PADI’s Live the Diving Dream contest was held from July 2013 to 31st December 2013, awarding monthly prizes of an Apple iPad to six new PADI Divemasters in the Asia Pacific territory.

The six winners in the contest were Phil Voss from Singapore, Ellie Davidson from Exmouth, Western Australia, Oliver Furlow from Thailand, Felix Daun from Singapore, Tyson White from Merewether Heights, NSW and Soung Nam Cha from Republic of Korea.

On completion of their PADI Divemaster course during the competition period, contestants were required to tell us what they enjoyed about the course to gain a chance to win a prize.

Here’s what a few of the winners had to say on becoming a PADI Divemaster:

Meeting new people who are interested in the same activity as you and to see how they get fascinated by the same things as yourself – is the greatest feeling about being a PADI Divemaster.” Felix Daun

“I knew this course would improve my diving knowledge, but I must say I didn’t think I would be at the level I am now. Going further, my new goal is to complete the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course soon, something I didn’t think I could do before.” Tyson White

“Being able to help others enjoy diving was a real buzz! That’s what diving is all about; fun and enthusiasm! Being a PADI Divemaster means that I can assist others to experience something I love, and promote their love for diving too.” Ellie Davidson


A Day in the Life of a PADI Divemaster

divemaster-jan14An interview with JINKAI CHEN

PADI Divemaster

Sierra Madre Divers
PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort

Bohol, The Philippines

Describe a typical day in your working life

Before I became a PADI Divemaster, I lived in China. I would drive every day for an hour to get to the office, check emails, arrange schedules, have meetings and get back home in the evening – a typical 9-5 life.

Here in Bohol at Sierra Madre Divers, I begin work in the morning and prepare for two beautiful dives with our guests and the jackfish storm at Balicasag Island. If we have students, I help the PADI Instructor with equipment logistics and assist the class in the pool or in the sea. In the evening we all sit together on the deck at the dive centre to relax and watch the sunset.

When did you start diving?

I’ve been diving since 2011.

When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?

I became a PADI Divemaster at Sierra Madre Divers in June 2013.

How did you feel when you became a PADI Divemaster?

I felt so excited and proud!  A “PADI Divemaster” is such a cool title and it shows that I am a PADI Professional with more responsibility towards setting a good example in protecting the ocean.

What highlights do you recall from your Divemaster course?

During my PADI Divemaster course I learnt many things and made new friends from China and other countries all over the world – including Germany, Switzerland, America and Australia. It was also great to learn from the other PADI Instructors here at Sierra Madre Divers. Also diving, and diving every day!

Where have you worked as a PADI Pro?

 So far, at Sierra Madre Divers.

Tell us one of your favorite memories in your diving career?

I still remember the first time I saw a whale shark in Coron. It’s one of the most unforgettable images and experiences of my life.

Any words of advice for new dive professionals?

If you really love the diving lifestyle, make sure you seriously consider joining us in this life of being like a fish!

At the time of our interview, Jinkai Chen was taking the PADI Instructor Development Course at Sierra Madre Divers. His goal was to become a PADI Instructor.

 Jinkai has since completed the PADI Instructor Exam – and we are happy to advise that he is now a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.  Congratulations, Jinkai Chen!  

Live the Diving Dream Contest (Asia Pacific) – announcing the final winner!

Congratulations to SOUNG NAM CHA – winner for December 2013   

Live the Diving Dream Contest Soung Nam ChaPADI’s Live the Diving Dream contest was held from the month of July to 31st December 2013, awarding monthly prizes of an Apple iPad to six new PADI Divemasters in the Asia Pacific territory.

The winner in the contest for December 2013 was SOUNG NAM CHA from Incheon, Republic of Korea who completed his PADI Divemaster course at Aqua Marine Dive Centre in Seoul, a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center and PADI Career Development Centre.  Soung Nam’s winning entry reads..

“It was a hard course, but at the same time I realised that scuba diving is very much a fun sport, especially when we share it with many people as a lifestyle.

I learnt during the PADI Open Water, Advanced and Rescue Diver courses the importance of mastering skills to apply for my ownsafety. During the PADI Divemaster course, I learnt professionalism, responsibility and leadership and most of all – that it’s a lifestyle!  

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my PADI Instructor, Dong Pyo Lee and to all the staff at Aqua Marine Dive Centre for their excellent guidance and professionalism”.