Wednesday, September 3, 2014

From Science Lab to Scuba Instructor

We asked one of our Instructor's, John Holland, to give his views on his decision to leave the real world behind to become a PADI Instructor  

How long have you been a diver and how long a PADI Pro and what made you want to be an Instructor?
My first certification was two years ago in September 2012 when I completed my Open Water Course in Ireland. I became a PADI Pro in March 2013 when I completed my Divemaster Course. After having the best experience and fun completing my PADI Rescue course, I could see why the people teaching me and assisting on the course enjoyed themselves doing this as a lifestyle choice. For me it would be a huge change from working in a laboratory for the past six years with long hours, stressful work and dealing with dangerous chemicals. Getting into scuba diving and going pro was the change I needed, wanted and still enjoy to this day.

Where did you take your Divemaster Course?
I did the Divemaster Course with Parrots 5 Star PADI Dive Center on Utila Island, Honduras.
On my first day as a DMT (Divemaster Trainee) I assisted on an Open Water course, and it was a great feeling to pass on my experiences in diving and knowledge to someone who is learning to dive and give them an insight into what I experience most days. Seeing the amazement on a new Open Water student’s face and knowing that you are a part of the process of introducing them to the underwater world and have them thank you at the end of the day says it all for me. The things I learnt and saw throughout the Divemaster course strengthened my abilities as a diver and gave me the knowledge in how to assist other divers and help them get over any problems they may have throughout their learning process. As a qualified Divemaster, daily tasks varied from leading qualified divers on trips to assisting in all the different levels of PADI courses, sales and maintenance of shop equipment. This kept the job fresh and interesting and guaranteed something different every time we dived, always something new to see and show to other divers. Certainly a difference to what I previously worked at and because of it I became excited for future plans leading me further up the PADI ladder to become an Instructor.

What did you find different from being a Rescue Diver to being responsible for other people as a DM?
The Rescue course made me feel more confident about myself as a diver and taught me how to handle an emergency and equipped me to be ready to assist or organise the emergency situation. Being a Divemaster, you realise that your responsibly reaches outward to not just being responsible for yourself but the group that you are guiding or assisting in their training. This is not limited to just dealing with the people on the day but can include the whole logistics of the dive, from preparing equipment, having spares to deal with problems, transport and even simple things as having food and water for the day. At Divemaster level, you are a confident diver and are constantly aware of your surroundings, where other divers are, and ready to identify the need for changes during a dive or trip to deal with weather changes etc and anticipating what is needed from an instructor if assisting on a course.

What made you come to Koh Samui and The Dive Academy to take your IDC?
While working in Australia as a Divemaster, an Instructor colleague of mine had asked if I was planning to progress to the instructor level. He told me about his fantastic IDC experience at The Dive Academy a couple of years previously including the small groups, the willingness of the Course Director, support staff and all of the Instructors  to help work on any area that you might be struggling with, either practical or theory related.  And the fact that by the end of the IDC the PADI Instructor Exam is fairly easy as the preparation in the IDC has you more then ready for it. That said it all for me!!!

How do you like being an Instructor and how is it different to being a DM?
Its been great to step in from the sidelines and actually be the person to show people the underwater world by teaching them the skills needed to become an Open Water Diver. Being a Divemaster was great but it had it limitations and I wanted to do more. Becoming an instructor has gotten past these limitations and I now get to enjoy seeing first hand the appreciation of beng the person that has helped someone else get a first person view of the life underwater and their excitement and initial fears overcome.

What have you found most challenging as an Instructor so far?
Time management but, as a new Instructor, I've been told it gets better with experience. Bring on the experience!!!

How do you like living on Koh Samui?
Samui is great. People are friendly, very cheap to live and eat here, weather I'd say is hot 90% of the time but I do enjoy the odd thunder shower to cool down the place. For me the only negative is the mosquitoes, they love me too much and I never get my insect repellent on in time.

Do you have any advice for divers thinking of becoming a PADI Professional?
The best advice I can give is to go for it, make the leap, become a PADI Pro and travel and work abroad and enjoy the best life experience you could have meeting new people and going to new places at the same time as doing something you love - DIVING.

For details of becoming a PADI Professional with The Dive Academy contact us: [email protected]