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Batavia Coast Dive & Watersports: Why I became a PADI Instructor

7 Aug

I was sent this article from Sigourney at Batavia Coast Dive & Watersports in Geraldton, Western Australia, I thought I would share this with you as she puts in writing what so many of us think and feel. Thanks for the well written story Sigourney!


I live a dream. What I do as a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor is more than just a job to me, it is my lifestyle. My life is teaching others how to become a PADI diver, showing them that they can breathe underwater and introducing them to a whole new world. Diving has whole-heartedly transformed my life. The instant your head is submerged, you’ve infiltrated a unique environment filled with unimaginable wildlife. In that moment, I chose to pursue a profession in diving. I didn’t care what I had to do to get there, but I knew I would and now here I am intoxicated by the aquatic habitat.

As an Instructor, I know how my students are feeling; anxious, fearful, enthusiastic, happy or all of the above. I was definitely perplexed at the beauty that existed by my doorstep. Nothing can compare to the first breaths you take underwater, enveloped by a wall of fish and coral. Today, I get to instruct, refine skills and certify people who adopt the idea that diving can provide them with a sense of content. To me, diving awakens your core; reposes you and sedates your mind.

Everybody has a story. Everyone has sacrificed something to get to where they are today. Every journey has potholes and speed bumps, roadblocks and curves. It’s what you choose to make of those obstacles that introduce themselves unexpectedly into your life and how you opt to overcome them. The anxiety of an obscured path will always be there. Diving inspired me to conquer timidity and morphed me into the person I am today. Presently I am living the life I once thought unachievable. Diving has led me to conclude that any dream, no matter how sizable is attainable.

Being a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor is not my job, it’s my life.
Sigourney Grandmann
Batavia Coast Dive & Watersports
Western Australia

A Day in the Life of a PADI Divemaster

9 Oct

Michael Petros DivemasterAn interview with Michael Petro
PADI Divemaster
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!

A Day in the Life of a Divemaster

15 Sep

Simon Chang DivemasterAn interview with Simon Kong Win Chang 

PADI Divemaster
Perth Scuba
PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre / Career Development Centre
Canningvale, Western Australia

Describe a typical day in your working life as a PADI Divemaster
One thing that I have learned is that there is no such thing as a “typical day” in diving. There is always something new to discover, to do, to see and new people to meet. This is what makes diving and working in the dive industry as a PADI Divemaster so interesting. If I had to describe a “typical day” though, it would be the Club dives.

I run some of the free club dives that Perth Scuba organise every Sunday morning (day dive) and Wednesday nights (night dives). It involves choosing a dive site that would be appropriate for new divers while keeping things interesting for seasoned divers. We prepare a schedule so that the dive sites are not the same every week – then later weather conditions are taken into account to decide where we will actually be going.

On Sunday mornings, we start at the shop bright and early, preparing the free barbeque for all our Manta Club divers. This gives everyone a chance to socialize while we eat breakfast and to provide all divers with a pre briefing of where we’re going for the day, along with maps of the dive site and directions.

At the site – with everyone ready – we carry out a proper briefing pointing out interesting features and covering all the important safety points. Considering their diving experience, divers are paired with an appropriate buddy. Pictures of all our divers are always taken for our blog that I prepare at the end of the day. When the dive is over, I make sure that everyone is safely out of the water and all divers log books are signed.

When and where did you start diving?
I am originally from a small island east of Madagascar called Mauritius. Being born on a tropical island, I always liked the water and always wanted to dive. I was able to start this activity after moving to Perth, Australia and completed the PADI Open Water Course in December 2013. In the past 6 months, I have logged over 100 dives, diving in different countries and in different conditions, from the 12 degrees of the lakes in Houston, Texas, USA to the 26 degrees in Perth, the differences in dive  conditions are quite amazing.

When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?
Where else to become a PADI Divemaster – if it is not where I did my Open Water? Perth of course! With all the great support from the Perth Scuba staff, the PADI Divemaster course was made enjoyable and fun to do. I completed my DM course in April 2014 and have now scheduled to do a tech course.

What made you choose to become a PADI Professional?
I found diving to be extremely fun and wanted to share this experience with as many people as possible. Becoming a PADI Professional means that I get to show more people dive sites and help more people discover the amazing world of diving.

What highlights do you recall from your PADI Divemaster course?
Helping students who are having issues – and seeing the student succeed, is probably one of the most rewarding feelings and the highlight for me.

What dive locations are on your bucket list and why?
I have always been fascinated by penetration dives and history. So the many historic WW1 and WW11 wrecks of “Scapa Flow” come to mind – well preserved by the cold water off the north coast of Scotland. Another interesting site is the “Lost city of Shi Cheng” in China where an entire ancient city was submerged when a dam was built.

What has been the most memorable dive of your life?
Diving in Dunsborough on the HMAS Swan wreck – while at the bottom at around 31 meters – and still being able to see the surface!  Experiencing the sight of this huge wreck at the bottom of the seabed was breathtaking!

What words of advice and encouragement would you give to divers thinking of becoming a PADI Divemaster?
If you like to meet people and help them, while having fun in the process – becoming a PADI Divemaster will give you that!

A Day in the Life of a Divemaster

22 May

PADI recently interviewed Cameron Schwaiger from Kew in Victoria who took up his dream job as a PADI Divemaster at Academy of Scuba, a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre in Glen Iris and Rye.
Read what he has to say.

Cam Schwaiger DM underwaterDescribe a typical day in your working life as a PADI Divemaster.
For me diving is an activity I love to do outside my full time work. It normally involves getting up early on the weekends and making my way down the Mornington Peninsula. I discuss with the staff in the dive shop about who will be diving that day, to understand what their experience is.

For a guided dive, I provide the divers with the briefing and find out what they most want to get out of it and if anyone has concerns.  After the dive, we usually discuss what we saw and any other relevant points about the experience. Many of the divers often become friends and sometimes I think the dive is just an excuse to catch-up with others!

When I’m assisting on a course and haven’t worked with a particular Instructor before, we will begin with a discussion on how the course is to be run and what their expectations are.  I help with the gear, answer any questions and make the students feel comfortable. Then the fun part begins – the dives!   My main role here is to help keep a watch on the students and assist them if needed. After the dive, we return the gear, discuss the diving and complete the paperwork.  Finally its congratulations to those who have completed their course, with grins all round!

When and where did you start diving?
Growing up, I had always spent a lot of time in the water. For example, when I was a kid I used to think it was funny to hide from Mum by staying down at the bottom of the pool for as long as I could. Scuba diving started when I did a PADI Open Water Course at University, a long time ago!

I was then mainly tropical diving on holidays until I had more time in Melbourne, where I became addicted to the waters here.

When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?
I became a PADI Divemaster in 2011 with a great bunch of students.  Kat Vcelka was our fantastic PADI Instructor from Academy of Scuba in Victoria.

What made you choose to become a PADI Professional?
Diving is so much fun, so who wouldn’t want to spend more time in the water! Seriously, I wanted to learn more and also be involved with showing others how fantastic it is.  I didn’t realise until I started to work with different Instructors how everyone has their own approach to teaching and it’s a great way to learn. It is also a stepping stone towards being a PADI Instructor, one day!

What highlights do you recall from your PADI Divemaster course?
The in-depth learning was very interesting – I absorbed so much more about diving.  The skills were a challenge, but lots of fun to do and also hearing about all the terrific diving stories from our PADI Instructor.   And then finally getting to assist as an intern on the courses.

What dive locations are on your bucket list and why?
So many, but Galapagos Islands for the diversity of animal life both on land and in the water, Truk Lagoon for the wrecks and anywhere at all to see Whale Sharks!

What has been the most memorable dive of your life?
Sipadan Island in Malaysia, where in one dive, due to the steep drop offs, we saw the ultimate combination of masses of tropical fish along with the pelagics in the deeper water.

What words of advice and encouragement would you give to divers thinking of becoming a PADI Divemaster?
If you love diving, want to learn more and find helping others rewarding, have a chat to your local dive store – or other Divemasters and Instructors to understand more about what is involved.

A Day in the Life of a PADI Divemaster

13 Jan

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!  

A Day in the Life of a Divemaster

12 Mar

An interview with James Boulton

PADI Divemaster
Bali Scuba
PADI 5 Star Dive Instructor Development Centre
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

What is your current job?
Having spent a number of years in the design and advertising industry, with a more recent focus on luxury travel, I decided it was time to stop looking at incredible dive destinations and rather – go work at one. Having recently completed a Divemaster internship with Bali Scuba, I’m on the hunt for my first job as a PADI pro.

Describe a typical day in your working life.
Most days as a Divemaster intern start bright and early at 07:15. I have a good idea of what to expect since the days’ schedule is always put up the afternoon before – especially when course work is planned and I’ve needed to prep beforehand. If it’s a “non-course” day, I help the other Divemasters with equipment and am close at hand to answer questions guests may have about paperwork and the exciting day ahead.

The vehicles are loaded and there’s a buzz in the air as each departs for its destination, either Tulamben, Padang Bai or Sanur Beach for the boat trip to Nusa Penida. The rest of the day I assist the Divemasters and Instructors as much as possible and they give me more responsibility each day to build experience and grow my confidence.

It goes without saying that the rest of the day is my favourite part; as we sink beneath the waves the real fun begins.

When did you start diving?
I learnt to dive in the icy waters of Cape Town in early 2008. Having only been diving a relatively short time, I’ve been fortunate to dive in South Africa, Thailand, Egypt and Indonesia.

When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?
I recently completed a two-month Divemaster internship with Bali Scuba in Sanur, Bali. The Bali Scuba team love what they do and their passion for diving is infectious. If only everybody loved their jobs as much as these guys do!

How did you feel when you became a PADI Divemaster?
I was thrilled by the prospect of being able to find a job doing something I love, a lot of people aren’t that lucky. I’ve also gained the confidence to lead others and make sure they have just as much fun as I do – and feel safe while doing it.

What highlights do you recall from your DM course?
I found it extremely rewarding assisting student divers; the hard work pays off when you can help someone overcome a challenge. Meeting people from all over the world has also meant hearing some amazing stories, and making new dive buddies. Another highlight was the equipment exchange with my far more petite buddy – fitting into gear three times smaller than your own makes for a fun skills test.

Where have you worked as PADI Pro?
Nowhere yet, but I hope to find work somewhere with loads of sunshine and tropical water.

What is one of your favourite memories in your diving career?
Without a doubt catching my first glimpse of mantas in Bali while doing my DM course – was a priceless memory for me.

What words of advice would you give to new dive professionals?
You can’t buy experience, so take every opportunity to learn

A Day in the Life of a Divemaster

26 Nov

An interview with Denéa Buckingham
PADI Divemaster
Sydney Dive Academy
PADI 5 Star Dive Centres
Matraville NSW Australia

What is your current job at Sydney Dive Academy?
I completed my Divemaster certification in Boracay and I’ll be completely honest – I’m a chilly water wuss, so in the cooler months I handle the digital strategy and marketing for Sydney Dive Academy.

Describe a typical day in your working life
In the off season at Sydney Dive Academy I’ll be working on a number of projects involving social media, events coordination and marketing. Multitasking on the days I’m physically in the dive shop, I’ll fill tanks, assist Peter Cross and Jamie Illistom with courses, help fit our divers with rental gear and make sure everyone feels welcome when they come to our club.

A standard day in the water could mean guiding a dive club trip around Bare Island (Botany Bay) and pointing out the beautiful amount of marine life in the waters of Kamay National Park. I might be coordinating a group to meet for a dive trip to the HMAS Adelaide or down to dive with the seals at Wollongong. Other times I’ll be bringing up the Open Water pack – looking after a new diver who isn’t particularly confident.

My role is varied and there’s always something exciting to work on!

When did you start diving?
In 2009, for a holiday with an ex-boyfriend! He was already qualified so he made me complete my Open Water Diver course in the middle of winter in Sydney in order to go, the weather was hideous and I froze my tail off.  But 29 degree water in Sipadan and a subsequent adoration of diving were more than worth it.

When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?
I did my Divemaster training from January to April 2012 with Calypso Diving on Boracay Island in the Philippines.

How did you feel when you became a PADI Divemaster?
I was absolutely thrilled because I’d grown and changed as a person as well as a diver.

What highlights do you recall from your DM course?
Calypso are working on an exciting new resort on one of the islands neighboring Boracay. I was lucky enough to go with Rene Buob (our Course Director) and Andy Barrett (my Instructor) to explore new dive sites around the island.

Andy Barrett and I orchestrated the release of two little Bamboo Reef sharks from a neighbouring Chinese restaurant. We also negotiated with the restaurant to remove all shark dishes and shark meat from the menu. A very decent crowd assembled to watch us release the sharks (who we’d nicknamed ‘Ni’ and ‘Hao’) off the beach near the dive shop. You can read my full article about it on Project AWARE’s website

I could go on and on – there were so many highlights. I recommend the PADI Divemaster training course to anyone who wants to discover a new depth in themselves; it is an experience that means so much more than just a certification card.

Where have you worked as a PADI Pro?
With Sydney Dive Academy here in Australia but who knows where it will take me!

What is one of your favorite memories in your diving career?
In March 2012, the Boracay Association of Scuba Schools (BASS) sunk a Yakolev Yak 40 aeroplane as a new dive site. I was well into my Divemaster training at that time so I jumped on board for all the activities surrounding the sinking. I took video of the 70-odd people that physically pushed the jet across the tarmac and into the water to be towed to the dive site. Then I helped video the actual sinking and I was the first one to create a dive site map of the wreck.

My last dive in Boracay was guiding my friend and PADI Course Director, Sue Gibbins around the wreck, the ownership and pride I felt in being qualified to lead her around something I’d had so much to do with was fantastic.

What words of advice would you give to new dive professionals?
‘You get out what you put in.’ If you’re not prepared to bring the best you have to every dive you won’t have as much fun or feel as rewarded as you can if you give 150% every time you get the chance.

We’re incredibly lucky to have earned our way into the world of Professional Diving, now the fun is in continuing to deserve it!

You can also find this article in the November edition of Surface Interval