After diving for 6 years and getting myself certified as a Rescue Diver in Mar 2016, I reckon it’s time to upgrade my skills and experience in diving and take my diving to the next level: Dive Master. I’ve never really had the time to do this before, so now that I’ve made my office job history, it make sense to start the next chapter of my life adventure with getting my Dive Master certification.
In the picture you see our divemaster trainee Sara in full action assisting our instructor Markus on her first open water course. Here she tells you how it came to it…: Back in Belgium an impulsive decision led to a range of beautiful moments and a step in life where I didn’t think of being ready for but now I can’t let go of the idea of becoming a divemaster.
This week has been fantastic for both large and small marine creatures in Bunaken with a particularly lucky group seeing a pod of ten eagle rays on one single dive! All around the island we’re seeing plenty of ornate ghost pipefish on many of our favourite dives. And there is a new face around as well!
Looking to take an Underwater Photography Course in order to improve your photography skills on your next trip to Lembeh?
Divemaster in Training Tristan Stafford took Scott’s Digital Underwater Photography course this week, with amazing results! Here’s a wonderful account of his experience…
I am about to finish my time in Bunaken, and again I am not at all ready to say goodbye. Although, I have almost finished checking all the boxes for completing my Divemaster program! With my last two weeks so near, I really have no idea where the time went, and I am not ready for it to end. The past two weeks have been quite action packed, finishing up more specialty courses and assisting with guiding and other courses.
Well, the last week of my divemaster course in Lembongan was bittersweet. I was so excited to finally journey to the breathtaking Bunaken I had heard so much about, but could not shake the melancholy I felt for leaving Nusa Lembongan Island. I did however get very lucky, as my last week there was full of guests and scuba diving courses, which meant a lot of daily fun diving for me! I thought eventually I might get tired of the reef walls along the north coast of Nusa Penida, or eventually my wonderment for Mantas might dwindle but I am now quite sure, that is impossible.
Bunaken is home to Asia’s best wall dives, making it easy to marvel at the sheer length and depth of them whilst overlooking the smaller creatures that live underwater in Bunaken – but this week, we’ve been fascinated by a tiny little marine dweller called candy crab or soft coral crab. Hard to spot as they mimic the soft coral they live on almost perfectly, it’s down to our guides’ amazing eyes to find them.
I had the pleasure of doing my Wreck and Night Diver specialities this week. Having not been on a night dive for over 5 years, I was reminded of why I loved it so much. Bunaken night diving is amazing; enormous crabs lurking in the reef, mandarin fish hiding in the corals, and beautiful Pleurobranch displaying their splendid purple colour in the torch light. On the final dive, when I was required to turn my torch off for 3 minutes, I was lucky enough to be diving on a near full moon, and found that my body movements activated the bioluminescence. This made the three minutes rather enjoyable, this also served as entertainment for a student taking her advanced course night dive who commented on the light show she witnessed whilst all was dark.
While things around the resort calmed down a bit after Easter, our instructors Dion and Yvonne have been busy teaching right across the spectrum of PADI courses for the past few days. They’ve been introducing first time divers to the underwater world, explored shipwrecks and worked with our divemaster trainees to perfect their skills both underwater and on land. And they even managed to re-introduce a guest to the underwater world after a 13 year break who was most impressed by the number and size of turtles on our walls (picture by Alex Schade).
One of the first things my instructors mentioned to me when I arrived at Two Fish Divers is that in the diving industry plans change all the time. Safe to say that’s been very true for my Divemaster course. It’s not just down to dive centre logistics either, it can be simple things like a sinus infection which mean you spend rather more time with your books. Now that I’ve been back in the water for a few days, let me tell you what’s been going on.
So there I finally was, arriving in Nusa Lembongan, to begin my much anticipated journey on the divemaster course. After planning the trip for months, and packing up everything I had in the States, I was ready to start what has so far been a delightful yet challenging adventure. The first couple of days were absolute paradise. I started with fun dives in the morning witnessing some of the most alluring marine life I have ever seen, then spent the afternoons reading by the pool, and watching the harlequin sunset over the beach. But of course, this couldn’t last forever, some work had to be involved in getting my divemaster certification.
I finished my DMT on the 10th with one of the most memorable and insanely overwhelmingly beautiful display of manta life I’ve witnessed, or even my mentor Rowan has witness. A 65 minute dive where we undertook some unknown swim throughs, slipping in and out of overhangs as the swell ebbed and flowed, using it to our advantage. As it picked up we decided this might not be the best idea anymore as we were moving sometimes 3 meters at a time with it. Unable to hide from it, Unable to fight it, it brought us where IT wanted us to go.
This week in Lembongan… It’s been an eventful week over here on Nusa Lembongan; our divemaster trainee Eanna McAtamney, completed his 6 week course. We have had some up and down water temperatures which normally starts to happen with the seasonal change of the currents. With these changing currents, visibility at the manta dive sites has been a little low, but it has not scared the manta rays away. Some dives, divers have reported seeing 10+ manta rays and staying around for most of the dive.
After a few days of fun diving and completing his PADI EFR and Rescue course in Bunaken, Tristan has now embarked on his Divemaster course here at Two Fish Divers, which will also take him to our Lembeh resort in a few weeks. Until then, he’s getting to grips with dive logistics, among other things.
Week three and four passed with the blink of an eye.
These weeks I have been, assisting on open water courses, advanced open water courses, scuba refreshers and servicing equipment, every morning in the ocean was immediately followed by hours under the glaring sun in the pool or sheltered in our maintenance room tinkering with the devices one needs for the survival of the gill-less underwater. Following on from days like this, its been nose to paper (not difficult for a nose of my calibre) completing knowledge reviews from PADI’s dive master manual, studying the ocean mechanics and the history of diving in PADI’s Diving Encyclopaedia. The amount of information taken on in such a short amount of time has been a bit tricky at times, but its been the most fun I’ve ever had in terms of learning before.
So there I was, my first day after arriving in Nusa Lembongan, sweating, thirsty and in need of an ice cold coconut to rehydrate the never ending perspiration that comes with living in Indonesia, i was ready to start what can only be described as a life altering course.
I had been her for 5 weeks prior to this, travelling, surfing and the inevitable dose of party thrown in the mix. Deciding to do my Rescue course, and further than that, my DMT with Two fish in Lembongan was a decision I had been weighing up for almost two months and now it was to become my reality.
As the New Year begins, you may be starting to prepare yourself for that dream career-change or gap-year with the New Year’s resolution of becoming a PADI Divemaster. If so, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the different options that you have.
Whilst working through all the different options, one big question may come to mind – should you pay or work off your DM internship?
Week 3 of my dive master training was full of tests and assessments, in the water and on land.
One experience that stands out is the equipment exchange underwater which would be a little tricky even without instructors causing a few extra problems. Not to mention underwater mapping which is definitely a fun experience – you think you’ve drawn the dive site on your underwater slate and then you look at it on the surface and can’t make sense of it!
Although most of my Divemaster course in Bunaken is done, this week I had a chance to spend a few days at our sister resort in Lembeh.
My last week in Bunaken has been a real rollercoaster of activities, involving a Project Aware beach clean up, lots of fun dives, a hair cut (!) and my snorkel test to celebrate finishing my course.
It’s been a week since I arrived at Two Fish Divers in Bunaken, where I plan to complete my PADI Divemaster course. Here are first impressions: the course sure keeps me busy, but I still managed to read a business magazine (old habits die hard!) in the evening to fall asleep. I have opted for a condensed three-week programme which has been off to a full-on start.
One of my favourite things to do so far has been practising the 24 basic dive skills and learning more about teaching other divers. Personally, I have been diving for four years already, which turns out to be long enough to pick up a few bad habits. If my first week is anything to go by, this course will definitely help me get back on track.
What a way to start the third week of my divemaster course in Bunaken! After surfacing from a fantastic dive, our captain tells us there’s been a pod of dolphins swimming by. He drives the boat over to where a pod of around 20 dolphins are cruising. They start playfully swimming with the boat for about 10 minutes or so before deciding they’ve had enough and we part ways. Wow!
As a Divemaster you need to be prepared to deal with stressful situations, and this week during my divemaster course in Bunaken I was put through my stess test. During the stress test myself and my buddy, one of Two Fish’s Indonesian dive guides, had to swap all our equipment underwater while buddy-breathing (one regulator between two divers) and being ‘challenged’ by our instructors. I’m not really someone who ever feels stressed but this was quite difficult at times, especially when they’re constantly spraying bubbles in your face or stealing your mask!
Having never dived before I decided to go “zero to hero”, from non-diver to Divemaster, with Two Fish and complete my Divemaster course in Bunaken. Why? Mainly because my dad had always loved diving and from his stories I knew I would too (I also wanted to get away from the miserable British weather), so I swapped England for sunny Sulawesi.