My name is Simone and two months ago I got the chance to work as a Dive Master at Master Divers. It was never my goal to become a Dive Master – or even to become a diver at all. Actually everything that happened from the first time I came to Koh Tao until now is by accident, but I enjoy every moment of it! It all started last year in November when I went on a holiday with my niece for two weeks. It was going to be a short holiday so the original plan was to go from Bangkok to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and then home again. Like I said, that was the plan…. After some fun day’s in Bangkok we went to Koh Tao and met some nice people who were really enthusiastic about diving. Unfortunately we had already bought our tickets to Koh phangan so there was no time left to dive on Koh Tao. I felt sad about it because I really wanted to dive, but we decided to try and find some place to dive on Koh phangan. The morning we were supposed to leave, we lost our boat tickets (and no I didn’t make them disappear!). There were two things we could do; buy new tickets or stay a bit longer on Koh Tao.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! So we decided to stay and why not try diving as well!? Because of the positive and good reviews about diving from our new friends, we went to Master Divers and we could start the next day with a Discover Scuba Diving programme. In the morning our instructor explained to us the basics of diving and what we could expect during the dive. After a lunch break we went out for the dive in the afternoon. I was a bit nervous in the beginning, but the experience and the feeling during my first dive was indescribable; it felt like ultimate freedom, flying under water and the fact that I’m able to breath while I’m on eye level with beautiful fish and coral amazed me. Me and diving; it was love at first sight.
The two discover scuba dives I did weren’t enough for me, I wanted more. I had a chat with my instructor and decided to start The Open Water Course. My niece didn’t join me, but decided to stick with our original plan and went to Koh phangan instead. The next day I started my open water course. It was low season and I was lucky to be the only student in the group. During my open water I learned so much about diving; the theory behind it, things to consider during a dive, how the equipment works and so many skills that I still benefit from every day. Every time, I entered the water, I felt more and more comfortable. On the last dive of the open water course I realized how happy I was with my new experience and I wanted that feeling to last. So, why not do another course? After a day off, I started my Advanced Open Water Course. This course gave me the opportunity to do five speciality dives; deep diver, peak performance buoyancy, navigation, multilevel diving and a night dive. A girl from Spain joined me during this course and, together with our instructor and the DMT who was assisting, we had so much fun. During the course I got the chance to dive with NITROX during the deep dive. My instructor told me that if I did the Nitrox course and made the exam, I would be able to dive with nitrox everywhere on the world. I was on a role so, to top it all, I did the NITROX exam. In the space of a week I did three dive courses and turned into a dive addict. Even though it was time for me to leave the island and go back home, I decided that I had to come back as soon as possible. I looked on the internet what would be my next step in recreational diving; Dive master training. Because of all the nice people I met and the great atmosphere at Master Divers, I wanted to do my course with them. After some emails everything was sorted and in March 2015 I came back to Koh Tao and Master Divers to do my dive master training. Before beginning pro level training there are some other courses that are required to make sure you have a solid base of skills and knowledge. The Emergency First Responder Course and Rescue Course are two courses that teach you how you can help/save a diver in trouble. These courses brought everything I knew about diving to a higher level. It wasn’t just about taking care of myself anymore, I was going to be able to help other divers and solve all the problems they could possibly have. Even though there is a lot of information in both courses, they’re also so much fun to do. With my new gained knowledge I felt even more comfortable in the water than I already did.
During all of the following fun dives I trained my buoyancy and got more and more experienced. With 40 logged dives, it was time for the big step of becoming a professional diver: Dive master training. During my course I assisted different instructors on different courses. I saw different types of teaching and how every student, whatever difficulties they have to face, is able to get a certification. I also got a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the dive school and noticed there is a lot of work involved in making it possible for costumers to go out and dive. I learned how to navigate and lead dives, demonstrate skills, be a good boat master and how to map a dive site. Together with my fellow trainee buddies I had an amazing time, and I knew for sure that some day, I would love to work as a Dive Master. That day came pretty fast. Master Divers was looking for a new Dive Master, heard about my interest in a job and so it happened that right now I’m the lucky one who gets to dive for a living. While I’m typing this I realize just how lucky and blessed I am that I can live on this tropical island, work with amazing colleagues, dive almost every day and show other people all the beautiful fish and coral around Koh Tao. Who would have thought that a short holiday to Thailand would turn out to be career switch and a total different life? I’m living the dream, my dream!