While I’ve been recovering from a broken arm I have been getting several Eco presentations and quizzes ready for when I’m back in the water. There are a few reoccurring themes to my presentations. One is that globally are using too much plastic; I think we all know that. Another is that our corals are suffering; something all divers want to stop. The reasons this is happening and ways to stop are too numerous for one blog, so tried to think of what I could do.
I had an epiphany! I’m going to trial making and using my own eco cleaning products. Life gave me lemons, so I’m going to make cleaning products from them- lemonade seems way too complicated. This means no single use plastic from bottles of surface cleaner, and also eradicating chemicals getting into our water system. I wish I could say that not cleaning my house for a while was building up to this, but sadly it’s been a mixture of having only one fully functional arm and being lazy. I should also state that the epiphany was probably brought on by noticing the dust build up under my bed. My mother would be ashamed.
Eco cleaning product list
I set about this morning creating my shopping list (which is surprisingly small) so that I can make an all-purpose cleaner, a heavy duty scrub and a dust cleaner.
Part of this experiment is going to be whether or not I can get all of these things on Koh Tao, and I specifically chose recipes that have the more simple ingredients. FYI Lazada does not stock liquid Castille soap, but thank goodness for google so that I knew what it actually was! I’m dubious about being able to get borax, a natural laundry booster (sodium tetraborate for the pedants), but there is only one way to find out.
Next month I not only hope to have a clean house, but also to tell you the best and worst of my experiment. Time to get scrubbing!
So today we were due the weekly dive report from the 1st to the 7th September 2017. Unfortunately, I have had a dilemma and my underwater camera needed some TLC, should we say plus, a lot has been going on which means I have been out of the water.
Having a faulty vacuum bulkhead on your camera housing is not always a bad thing…
For me, it meant the opportunity to spend more time with one of the most inspiring people in my Pro-diving career. The IDC Staff course with Gaz Lyden and hosted by Master Divers, gave me the chance to sit back and watch his trade craft. A holistic and genuinely person-centered approach to help candidates become the best instructors they can be.
Unfortunately, without my camera I’ve been unable to continue with the weekly dive reports, showing the wonderful marine life to be seen whilst scuba diving Koh Tao. Instead I have decided to write a little about camera housing care and maintenance; hopefully, I can help any of you interested in underwater photography, to avoid some of the mistakes that I have made. So I’ve written a brief summary of my day focusing on camera care.
I’ve heard the saying many times that if you dive long enough with an underwater camera; it’s not a case of IF you have a leak but WHEN. I decided that I wanted to try really hard not to make this come true! So here’s my setup and care routine.
Start: 1 hour before boat time.
Remove batteries from chargers and put in strobes, camera and lights.
Check function i.e. do they turn on.
Remove Housing from freshwater soak tank, dry and open.
Check main housing O-ring for debris i.e. dust and especially hairs, clean and re-grease if necessary.
Insert camera with SD card into housing.
Seal housing and remove air with vacuum pump.
Check camera function: focus, flash trigger, card reading and full battery charge.
Pack components into protective case.
On the boat:
Assemble camera and floats/ strobes and arms. Check vacuum is still holding.
Check all camera functions again; once you’re in the water; IT’S TOO LATE to remedy.
Brief groups on underwater shots, not to follow me, and that their guide or instructor is in charge.
Pre-dive scuba checks.
Boat crew pass the camera, final vacuum check and dive!
Pass equipment up, wash and/ or soak the camera if these facilities are available.
Check all camera functions. Remedy if necessary; including batteries, SD cards.
Switch everything off and make sure there’s enough charge for dive 2.
After diving, I tend to head home and once there, I will:
Unpack everything and remove batteries from cameras, strobes and lights for charging.
Check and vacuum seal empty camera housing for soaking in fresh water (this helps to dissolve any salt crystals that have built up during the day)
Different types of diving present different cleaning issues.
A day in shallow bays with fine sand usually means a good deal of sand along the outer edge of the main housing O-Ring.
This O-Ring would then need to be removed, cleaned and re greased before soaking. (less is more when it comes to the silicon grease used; enough to lightly coat the ring is enough)
For me a soak can be anywhere from 2 Hours to overnight.
Rinse and repeat!
Just a quick word about my housing. It didn’t leak whilst diving but I did find a small amount of water in the empty housing after an overnight soak. To be fair, there had been some warning signs; I was having to tighten the vacuum bulkhead more and more to maintain a seal. In fact, this part has been slightly redesigned since I first bought it, so whilst it’s having it’s annual service this month; this part will be replaced with the updated version.
I learned early on that routine and systematic checking is very much the way to go regarding underwater camera maintenance. I found out the hard way that if you don’t check camera functions, or haven’t switched on your flash trigger or even put a battery in the wrong way round; during a dive is far too late to remedy the problem. To be honest, it’s pretty easy to replace batteries the wrong way at 05:30 and before my first coffee! It’s also a really simple to fix if I check everything before leaving home.
I hope this helps but if you have any underwater imaging related questions, I can be contacted on my Facebook page Ocean Secrets and I’m always happy to help where I can. It’s also worth mentioning that you absolutely do not have to be a scuba diver to take underwater photos. Whilst snorkeling around Koh Tao, it is possible to see and record some pretty amazing sights!
We’ll be back soon for some more awesome dive site reports so watch this space guys!
On Monday 4th September, Master Divers had a very successful beach clean-up, the first one to be organised by myself, Hayley Pearce, as part of my new eco role.
I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, would I be the only one there, and along with donning a broken arm, I wouldn’t have got very far!
I needn’t have been so worried. I was lucky to have, Master Divers Course Director Gaz, with his three new Instructor Development Course (IDC) students Kevin, Henry and Kaarin. Our Underwater Photographer, Rob Kelly, lay down the camera for the morning, along with Instructors and PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainers, Josh, Thomas and Graham, freelance Instructor, Dan, our Divemaster Katie, our four Divemaster Candidates, Charlotte, Rob, Mantie and Sam, and a couple of very generous ladies that had seen our sign near the coconut monkey and decided to join. Sorry for anyone missed off the photo!
If you’ve been on Koh Tao, recently, you’ll know how hot it’s been and this morning was no exception. It was great that so many people came to give their own time so that we can give a little back to Koh Tao, especially for those that were teaching or taking courses straight after- it got pretty sweaty towards the end!
Everyone did an awesome job and we managed to collect 112 kg of rubbish and recycling from the beach at Mae Haad, and from the road outside Master Divers. This is a huge amount! I’m so grateful to everyone that was involved, it’s never a pleasant task picking up other people’s litter, but we had fun as we did it and it’s safe to say we were all proud of our achievement.
In light of today being about celebrating and raising awareness of the whale shark, the majestic gentle giant of the ocean, we wanted to share some of our exceptional encounters with you and answer some frequently asked questions we get about whale sharks. This year we obtained some amazing footage with these gentle giants, not only whilst diving in Koh Tao, Thailand, but also on snorkeling trips and just from relaxing on our own dive boat!
The dive sites they frequent are usually the deeper dive sites such as Chumphon Pinnacle, South West and Sail Rock. The main time to see a whale shark in Koh Tao is March / April / May and then November / December, however this is not guaranteed and sightings can be rare. This year, however we have experienced heavy whale shark traffic, with dive trips seeing whale sharks, at multiple dive sites – even at sites closer to the island, such as, Twins and White Rock. It’s amazing to see people’s reactions, under the water, and when getting back from the dive, if they’ve had a lucky encounter with this graceful animal and 2017 in Koh Tao, has certainly been ‘Whale Shark Central!’
Here are the regular questions we receive about whale sharks?
Where can you find whale sharks? Whale sharks are found in tropical oceans in areas like the Maldives, Thailand, Philippines and Mexico.
What do they feed on?
They feed mainly on plankton, schooling fish, and squid, which they strain from the water as they swim, with their mouths and specialized teeth. They are the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate and pose absolutely no threat to people, but they are still being hunted for their highly prized fins and meat.
What kind of species is the whale shark?
It’s actually the largest living species of shark! They can grow to approx 12 meters in length, on average but their teeth are only 6 millimeters long.
Are they unique to one another?
Yes, each individual whale shark, has their own unique pattern, a bit like a zebra with it’s stripes or a human with our fingerprints. This allows conservation experts to identify and track them in order for us to learn more about how they live.
Are they a threatened species?
Yes! Whale sharks are currently considered endangered, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to over fishing and serious ocean pollution. They are a slow swimming fish, due their size and prefer shallow water of around 50 metres, which of course also puts them under threat of boat collisions and fishing nets. They also breed slowly which makes them extremely vulnerable to over fishing and the shark fin industry.
Can I do something to help?
Yes! Shark Guardian, a conservation charity who dedicate themselves full time to shark conservation projects and Deepblu, an online community for scuba divers and freedivers, are looking for people to help, join them as Whale Shark Guardians, in order to help spread awareness and protect this amazing fish! You can find out more by visiting the ‘Whale Shark Guardian’ page here. Just think how cool that would be on your Facebook profile… Occupation: ‘Whale Shark Guardian!’
What a great day we had this year for PADI Womens Day 2017, not only were the girls out in force but the boys put aside their masculinity and embraced the celebrations for the afternoon!
How did Master Divers celebrate? We got our dresses on and went diving of course! Amazed looks were plentiful as Divemaster, Brian, Instructors ,Tony and Josh and Photographer, Rob all walked down the beach to the boat in a variety of coloured dresses and a pink wig, which Tony pulled off beautifully! They even went diving in them. The water was that clear on the day, you could see Tony coming back to the boat by looking out for the little pink dot underwater.
The lovely ladies on the boat that day were Giselle, or as we call her, Gigi. Gigi is one of our Divemasters, which is your first step to entering the professional world of scuba diving. This also allows you to work, in the scuba diving industry, anywhere in the world, but there was only one beautiful tropical island and dive center that beckoned for Gigi…Yes, you’ve guessed it, Koh Tao and Master Divers.
And then there was Hayley. Hayley, is a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI), with specialties in Deep, Wreck, Search and Recovery, Enriched Air Nitrox (EANX) and O2 provider. Hayley actually did her Instructor Development Course with us and our Course Director, Gaz Lydon. She loved it that much, plus we loved her, so she stayed. Hayley is now not just an instructor but also our ‘ECO Warrior Queen‘. Read her blog, ‘Introducing Me‘ to find out more.
Whilst the boat was busy out diving, the rest of the team were organising for the night time activities and signing up more divers for the next day. There is a big female team at Master Divers, which became obvious that day in the office, and believe it or not this is not everyone…10 points if you can also spot the intruder!
The celebrations rolled into the evening with food platters and cocktails for everyone at our cafe bar Coconut Monkey, and yes, the dresses stayed on…personally I think the boys secretly enjoyed it!
So, we celebrated in style, but why have PADI Womens Dive Day each year? Its simple really, to encourage more women to take up scuba diving, whether that be as a profession or just for fun. Scuba Diving, for a long time, has been a mainly male based activity, however this is changing. Each year the number of women who participate in scuba diving is increasing. Cathy Evans, PADI guest blogger, and founder of Girls that Scuba, recently wrote ‘Since PADI’s first Womens Dive Day in 2014 there has been a 2.2% increase in female certifications for PADI recreational courses, from 37.2% to 39.4%’ it’s not just courses that are increasing either, we’re rocking it in other areas to. Cathy’s blog ‘The Rise and Rise of Female Scuba Divers‘ showcases some of the most influential women in diving today. Girl Power!
After a hiatus, we are going to resume the weekly dive reports here at Master Divers. We’d really like to share with you some of the amazing marine life that we get to see on a daily basis diving on Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand and what goes on underwater through the eyes of a professional photographer; namely me, Rob Kelly. We’re even showcasing video’s so you don’t miss out on anything! Watch out for the first installment next week which details what to expect when diving in Koh Tao, Koh Tao’s dive site conditions and the marine life we see. For now here’s a little something about me and what I’ve experienced this week as Master Divers photographer.
First of all, a little bit about me: I’m a PADI specialty instructor, I first dived 25 years ago on the Great Barrier Reef. Since then I’ve dived in tropical and very cold water and most things in between. I’m trained on the open circuit scuba systems that the vast majority of our divers use and also the Hollis Explorer semi-closed rebreather. In short, I’m a diver with fairly broad experience and I have specifically chosen Master Divers as my home.
This week, we have experienced some lovely conditions at the various dive sites we have visited. One thing to note about us is that we have 2 boats, meaning that we are able to cater to both experienced divers and anyone who is seeking a first experience and training for the underwater world. With up to 5 trips a day with each boat, the variety of sites we are able to offer is fairly extensive, and the office team are always happy to try to accommodate requests. I had the pleasure of shooting PADI Open Water courses, with 2 of our full time instructors; Jason, a PADI Master Instructor, and Rafa, a PADI Staff Instructor. What I noticed is how these professionals made excellent judgement calls on what we in diving call ‘close control’- When you are learning with us, your dive professional is at all times there for your safety and comfort.
The 2 shots I’m referring to involve the mask removal skill. Jason was working with a student who clearly had a high level of comfort with this skill, he still maintains physical contact and therefore control and his choice was entirely appropriate for that situation. Rafa had a customer wearing contact lenses, slightly less comfortable with this skill; his position is closer and in addition to holding the BC D, also holds his fingers in front the student’s regulator. This is textbook control.
Among the beautiful marine life we saw were a very relaxed Star Puffer Fish, a lovely Banded Sea Krait, the gorgeous Nudibranch ((Risbecia Trioni) and a Flatworm that I’ve not yet managed to identify.
All of the shots of divers and marine life are by me Rob Kelly @ Ocean Secrets Underwater Photography. If you’d like to look at this cool underwater world, I can certainly help. See you next week!
June 8th 2017 was a day of annual oceanic celebration… it was WORLD OCEANS DAY! This is an international day to appreciate and care for our beautiful blue planet and help educate others and spread awareness of how vital our oceans truly are.
Here at Master Divers, we need little excuse to arrange Marine Conservation Events, and so World Oceans Day was scheduled for a great day of conservation clean ups, ocean education and ‘fin’tastic fun! We began our day bright and early at 6.45 am for the morning boat that took our group of Eco Warriors around to Laem Thien, our Adopted Dive Site. Here we coordinated a beach clean up at the abandoned resort where ocean debris and trash is often brought in by eastern winds collecting a huge 55 KG in only an hour!! Leaving the beach clean and clear, we then continued to clean up the surrounding area underwater with a Dive Against Debris.
The afternoon commenced with our oceanic take on traditional Olympic games, which we renamed a Fin-lympics! The rules were explained as buddy teams joined to compete with much laughter and hilarity.
Some of our favourites were: the coconut shot put, the egg and spoon fin relay, the swim float paddle relay, a fin tug of war, and finally a double points relay combining all previous games!! It didn’t matter who won (… I did ;)), but that everyone enjoyed taking part, even if a few blisters were caused by sandy fins.
After a well-deserved break and dinner, the team regrouped for an Eco Pub Quiz in the Coconut Monkey. Re-establishing teams, and reigniting a competitive edge, our Eco Warriors battles through 5 rounds of informative Eco Questions to see who knew most about our ocean planet and its inhabitants.
Not only was June 8th special as World Oceans Day, but it was also our wonderful Divemaster Brians Birthday!! Therefore the day and quiz ended with a special Birthday Boy Brian Bonus Round followed by further celebrations in Sairee.
Thank you to everyone who came and made World Oceans Day such a fun success and such a day to remember! J
A year ago, Master Divers helped coordinate the hugely popular and wonderfully successful Koh Tao Earth Day 2016. This event invited our beautiful island community together to participate in a day of land and underwater clean ups for the benefit of our environment. So this year, alongside the collective support of our local government and island residents… we decided to do it all over again!!
Earth Day falls on the 22nd of April. It is a day to focus on the beautiful blue planet we live on alongside all other species who inhabit it. So much fantastic life relies on the environment and fragile eco-systems to survive; however, unfortunately, our planet and our environment is changing and is evident of deteriorating due to human actions.
Our oceans have less fish than ever before. The climate is changing. Ocean temperatures are rising alongside ocean sea levels. New technologies such as fracking and drilling techniques are damaging the environment in unprecedented ways with unpredictable outcomes. More and more habitats are being destroyed for land and/or resources, causing more animals to become endangered and extinct. The health of our planet Earth is indisputably in decline.
Fortunately, there are some great organisations and great initiatives combatting the destruction of our environment, and many more countries and governments introducing environmentally friendly laws and regulations than ever before. Everyone can make a difference, and that is exactly what we aimed to do for the second year running! Earth Day 2017 was our event as a community to get together and help protect and preserve our island home, whilst simultaneously raising awareness and educating other island travellers on environmental issues. Now whilst there are many ways to help our environment, we decided to focus on plastic (more specifically Single-Use Plastics) as they have an immediate and everlasting negative effect on our environment and oceans.
Plastic never goes away. It is possible that every piece of plastic EVER produced is still on our planet in some form. Plastic production has increased 20 fold in the last 50 years and production continues to increase. 50% of all plastic production is merely single-use plastic such as plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws; designed and used for a short term convenience before being discarded (did you know 100 billion plastic bags are made every year? That’s 1 million every minute!). The majority of this plastic is sent as waste to landfill where it will stay and pollute the earth forever. However, a huge amount is discarded into our environment and oceans. Over 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year; there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans; and plastic will soon outweigh fish by 2050. This is a huge problem!
This year, we arranged an island wide land based clean up with over 250 volunteers where we removed 1,600 KG of trash and waste from the island, half of which was made from potentially recyclable materials. We then sent our 17 different boats to all our local dive sites who removed a further 500 KG from the ocean. This data was sent to Project AWARE for research and statistics on ocean trash. All participants and our island community along with government representatives all celebrated the days achievement with a huge party at The Hacienda with food stalls, game stalls, drinks and a generously donated raffle.
This year, the money raised is being put towards starting an island recycling centre to reduce the amount of waste we produce and to further responsibly manage the plastic, glass, and metal waste here on Koh Tao. We are encouraging dive centres on the island and other businesses to commit to reducing their single-waste plastics by becoming plastic free themselves. We hope this will spark a change of attitude on Koh Tao which alongside the support of the local government will allow us to ban certain single-use plastics in the future.
If you have not yet signed our petition to ban single-use plastic bags and reduce plastics on the island, please do so here!!
When browsing for a good dive centre, certain words and phrases tend to stand out in reviews online. Who wouldn’t want to dive with ‘the safest’, ‘most professional’, and ‘best’ dive centre with the most ‘experienced instructors’? But what do these descriptions really mean? And how do you differentiate between a bunch of dive centres who all promise you safe, fun and professional experiences? Here at Master Divers we pride ourselves on our high standards, and also on the safety and the enjoyment of our customers, so we thought we’d fill you in with some more details on how we achieve that…..
Our staff at Master Divers come from various nationalities and backgrounds, however one of the things they all have in common is their commitment to safety and the upkeep of industry standards. Every one of our team members has been specifically selected on the strength of their extensive experience, knowledge, skills, and qualifications in their field. We run regular staff training and development sessions, and encourage all employees to take part in further professional development programmes whenever possible, ensuring high quality experiences for our customers and also continued employment suitability and job satisfaction for our crew. Because of this, our staff turnover is low compared to many other dive centres here on Koh Tao, and our staff generally comprises of more experienced PADI Instructors and Divemasters than at most other centres too. This has been recognised in an official professionalism review conducted by PADI, where our staff (as well as our equipment, facilities etc) were rated excellent across the board.
We do employ from within when possible to give new Instructors and Divemasters a chance – as well as the support and mentorship they need – to start their careers. But we’re not the kind of centre where every instructor you’ll meet is a brand new recruit with no additional training (“all the gear, but no idea” as they are often referred to in the industry!). In fact, quite the opposite, and we’re well known for having a solid team of experienced and knowledgeable dive pro’s. Even our newer staff members have additional specialties and qualifications to add to their knowledge and skills set – most are Master Scuba Diver Trainers, and some are also Tec Divers, Gas Blenders, Equipment Specialists, Freedivers etc too. All staff members are knowledgeable about dive equipment across the full range of brands, and if you are interested in investing in your own gear they will happily spend some time advising you on the best choices for you. They will even visit the dive retail stores with you to assist you with trying on/equipment fitting if you wish.
All of our dive instructors are also instructors in Emergency First Response (First Aid and CPR), and are trained in the provision of Oxygen. In addition to this, specific staff members are also trained in advanced medical response and survival. Our emergency procedures are designed to precision. Each boat has a full Emergency Assistance Plan on board, as well as first aid kits, oxygen and spare equipment. We do not allow unsupervised passengers on our boats, and we make sure that every customer has adequate insurance to cover their needs. Many of the better holiday insurance policies do cover SCUBA activities, but if yours does not cover you we offer dive insurance coverage though us on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis as required. We are also proud to be a dive centre who support Divers Alert Network (DAN) and also the SSS (Scuba Safety Services) network in our region.
We are well known as a dive centre that does everything by standards, so you will not find us cutting corners, rushing courses, or providing you with misinformation to make a quick buck. Quite the opposite in fact – we will teach you how to be a competent and confident diver and if we have to spend extra time doing this, then we will do that…at no additional cost. As such, we have built a reputation for not just meeting, but exceeding PADI standards, and are well known in the industry as the dive centre to come to if you want to have things done properly. This includes the provision of all relevant course paperwork and medical forms. The dive industry is rife with horror stories of students having ‘YES’ answers on medical forms, but being advised that it is OK just to go ahead if they wrote ‘NO’ on the form, or if they get signed off by a physician who is not a specialist in the area required. Here at Master Divers we absolutely refuse to do this, although we are happy to help prior to arrival by recommending test centres and helping you research for a specialist if required for sign off. Sometimes this practice loses us customers, but we would rather not have the business than put your safety – and the safety of other students and staff – at risk. We are proud to be a centre that takes pride in the quality of our work, and make every effort to provide all of the correct and relevant information prior to arrival. This includes not just medical and insurance info etc, but also ensuring you have all the help you need with none dive related information such as where to stay , things to do, and where the best beaches are etc. We also help with information on visas and transport options for getting to/from Koh Tao.
Our equipment is checked on a regular basis and we are constantly cycling all of our gear through our tried and tested equipment maintenance regime. All BCDs and regulators are taken apart and cleaned inside and out at least once per month, and our tanks are visually inspected at least once per year and hydrostatically tested at least once every 5 years (as per industry standards). We have a tech room on site where our equipment technicians perform day to day repairs and replacements for any wear and tear pieces such as o-ring/mouthpiece/mask strap replacements, new hoses, depth guages etc. Any faulty or damaged equipment is immediately serviced or replaced to ensure maximum safety. Our compressors have their filters and oil changed frequently, and our 2 dive boats and our longtail boat are each sent to dry dock on the mainland for a month every year for servicing, maintenance, repainting and upgrades.
We invest in the best facilities so that your time with us is as comfortable as possible. The dive shop itself is large and airy, with many tables and chairs where you can chat to staff, fellow students, and log your dives after a day out at seas. We have a well stocked retail area and can provide equipment counselling of anything any everything scuba related.
Upstairs you will find our custom designed classrooms. Each has the teaching essentials – a mini retail area, whiteboards and markers, comfortable tables and chairs and full set of gear for practice set ups. Each classroom also has a full digital library of PADI videos for each and every course that we teach, so there’ll be no getting stuck with scratched and outdated DVD’s when you learn with us. We also have a set of tablets pre-loaded with digital materials, so if your ferry is late on arrival or you are running a little behind schedule, you can watch the course videos at your resort in the evenings so as not to lose time and delay your course.
Our equipment room is also large, and is well organised, well vented and well looked after. Everything is clearly labelled and has its place, and our efficient daily sign out procedure helps us keep track of any gear that is not in its place, or out of circulation for servicing/maintenance. The kit room is cleaned daily, and there is plenty space for customers with their own gear to store their belongings whilst diving with us.
We have a full stock of additional equipment for rent and also a range of dive specific gear for use on everything from entry level to pro level courses. We use Suunto Zoop dive computers which are given to all students free of charge for use on course dives from open water upwards. We also have SK7 compasses and dive knives for the PADI Advanced Open Water Course. Plus lift bags and reels so we can run Search and Recovery adventure dives and specialty courses. We also have Olympus Tough underwater cameras and housings available for rent for use on Digital Underwater Photography adventure dives and specialty courses.
All in all we invest a lot in making sure our equipment, facilities and staff are up to the highest possible standards, and that we have the equipment and skills to be able to teach you any PADI course you may be interested in (within reason of course – if you are interested in Dry Suit Diving or Ice Diving for example, then Koh Tao is not the place for you!).
Your safety and enjoyment are our top priorities, so we hope you enjoy your time with us, and feel comfortable in our care!
The PADI Divemaster is probably the most important course within recreational diving. As a Divemaster Candidate (DMC), you will not only summarise and improve upon all previous dive related knowledge and skills, but truly develop into the divemaster you wish to become in the future. It’s best recommended to take the Divemaster course over 4 – 6 weeks to complete all performance requirements, workshops, and assists, and develop yourself as a PADI Professional. You only plan on doing it once, so best make the most of it! Here are our top tips on how:
1. First and foremost, choose the right dive centre. All PADI dive centres will give you the same certification, however not all dive centres will provide the same training and experience. Training methods, safety standards, equipment quality, instructors, expectations and overall atmosphere will be different depending on where you complete your Divemaster course, so make sure you invest in your future with the right dive centre for you.
2. Dive dive dive, and dive again. There really is no substitute for practice. The more you dive, the more you will learn, and the better you will become. This is true for not only personal ability in and under the water, but also for other important Divemaster skills such as; boat briefings, dive briefings, skill demonstrations, supervising divers, boat organisation and logistics. The more you put in, the more you will get out. Upon certification you will be responsible for your own group of divers both on and under the water, so best to get comfortable and confident in what is expected of a smiling diving ninja guru, a PADI Divemaster.
3. Try to work with multiple instructors and divemasters throughout the DMC workshops and course assists. Each individual PADI Pro will have different tips, tricks and niche expertise for you to learn from, but everyone will also have an individual personality and flare. Try to experience the different teaching styles and methods of different instructors, or the different leading styles of divemasters. You will learn something new from everyone, and the variety and diversity of styles will help you build your very own for the future.
4. Develop good dive habits. Habits are far easier to learn than to forget, so make sure you’re putting into practice the best procedures from the very start. Not only will this make you a better and safer diver, but it will also set an example of role model behaviour to others around you. The PADI Divemaster is a title that inspires confidence and many divers will look to you to set the tone; make sure it’s a good one!
5. Take this opportunity as a DMC to learn the local dive sites well, and also to educate yourself on the local marine life. Navigation can be tricky, but it comes with hard work and practice, so stick at it. If you intend to work in the same area you completed your Divemaster course, you’ll be expected to know your way around the dive sites. Learning about the local marine life is equally important; knowledge is power! That way you can point out all the amazing and interesting fish to your divers, and answer any questions they may have about what they’re seeing. It’s important to show your love and passion for the oceans to inspire other divers and to enjoy the dive yourself!
6. Submerge yourself in opportunity. There is so so much that goes into operating a dive centre, and this is your opportunity to soak up all of it! Ask questions about everything, lend a hand whenever possible, and say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way. By fully integrating yourself into the dive team, you’ll gain invaluable experience in the dive industry and prove that you have the drive and ability to work as a Divemaster upon certification.
7. Enjoy it. Throughout the PADI Divemaster course, you will be working very closely with the dive centre staff, instructors, divemasters, and even customers. You’ll make friends as close as family and remember your experience forever, so enjoy it!