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Why I Became a Divemaster

Carrying the last tank up the beach from the long tail I pause on the beach at the back of Master Divers. Soaked from head to toe in the tropical sweats and I realize I have been wet pretty much all day. Scuba Review in the morning, guiding divers this afternoon and wrapping up the last few tasks of the day, and although wet, still looking forward to my shower…

Big Oksm

Behind me I can tell by the amount people rushing for their cameras on the beach it is a gorgeous sunset, gently warming the world around for the last time today. In front of me the beaming faces of my customers tell the story of an awesome day had, already the majority of them are writing in their logbooks. Likewise the smiling faces of my teammates, tell the story of another great day in the office. Everyone around me is royally stoked, stoked on diving and stoked on life, the vibe in here this afternoon is typical, but still captivating every time. It is great after essentially quite a short time of being on this small island to have that feeling of being home.

Wilco pats me on the back as an expression of his gratitude and reminds me not to be in too early the next day as it is a little quieter. Can this actually be a profession? A career? On the outside a dive loving, frisbee throwing, surf hunting beach rat, but with an internal sense of pride and satisfaction as it is entirely our love for what we do that makes it appear this easy. Putting the tank amongst the others ready for filling I am reminded, yes, yes we do call this work.

Me looking over coral nursery

Where I come from (UK) and from some life experience behind a desk, it became apparent that the vast majority of us spend a large proportion of our lives trying to create a comfortable work/life balance, and then normally just as we find it we are made to retire.

As anyone here will tell you it’s never too late.

I too set out on that path, but my love of the sea, nature and my passion for making people smile was just not being fulfilled, In a suit in a cube. So I had to change my environment.

After some time traveling in the world, surfing my butt off in Oz, and volunteering in conservation/research diving with Marine Conservation Cambodia I ended up in Thailand. To put it more appropriately stuck in Thailand. Not stuck through any financial, visa related or smuggling issues gladly, just stuck on the place. Stuck because of the beautiful culture, stuck because of the food, the fun, the lifestyle. Hooked on the diving.

When in Thailand and diving, at some point you will travel to Koh Tao. A globally renowned diving site location in itself, Koh Tao is entirely surrounded by a variety of beautiful reefs and abundance of cool fishy critters and wrecks to hang out with and inevitably work with as colleagues.

Through my conservation work in Cambodia and having started diving very regularly my heart was telling me to just do it. To give it a go, I was free from criticism and skepticism perhaps the prejudices from the western world about the lifestyle choice, to become a professional diver. It is addictive, how can it not be, every dive another trip to the zen like garden of our underwater world. Spending time in the other 70% of our planet’s surface, that maybe less than 3% of the entire population will ever see. I wanted to show people what else there is to see on the 3rd rock from the sun, and revel in each individuals reaction. I wanted to be a dive master without hesitation.






This is the first of 6 posts which I have written about being a Dive Master, starting from why I became one and including how to choose the dive center at which to take your course, what to expect, how to expand your knowledge and finally what its like to work as a dive master.  Check back to get the next installment…


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1 Comments on Why I Became a Divemaster

  1. commented by Kylie on 11 November 2011

    Beautiful, Phill! I think I’m going to lose Justin on the first plane over to Thailand, as soon as the first snow hits in Copenhagen 🙂

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