How long have you spent completing your scuba diving training?
My first ever dive was in October 2014. I had just finished my Masters degree and wanted to spend the upcoming year exploring the world and trying out new things.
I came to Koh Tao having prebooked a PADI Open Water course.
I had my doubts at first, and wasn`t sure if this was going to be something I liked. I completed the course and left the island, but a week later I regretted leaving and felt like something was pulling me to go back and try again.
I continued in November with my PADI Advanced course and as soon as I had completed the five dives I filled all of my days with fun diving, swimming around exploring the underwater world. Finishing my advanced course made me confident in breathing underwater, swimming and using the dive gear, and suddently I was calm enough underwater to actually notice the beautiful coral and fishes.
In December the same year I traveled home for Christmas, but the only thing I could think of was going back and learning more about diving. I wanted to feel more competent as a diver, gaining more experience and practising what I learned so far. I came to Crystal in January 2015 because the locals I knew at the island recommended it, and because I wanted to enroll in a bigger school in order to meet a lot of new people.
I signed up for the PADI Divemaster package, and started out by completing the PADI Rescue Diver course and also had Emergency first responder training with the amazing instructor Manu. After completing the rescue course I noticed that I changed as a diver.
Suddently I wasn’t any longer only looking after myself, but I started to pay more attention to my buddies, the condition of the gear, and making sure that the first aid kit was always on the boat.
I had my orientation January 24th with Manu and it felt like Christmas. Not only had I gotten the Crystal Divemaster package which gave me free diving for life, but Crystal also gave us different diving books, a SMB, a t-shirt and a fish ID book. My new career could start.
After the orientation day, every day was spent fun diving 2-4 dives with my other divemaster buddies in order to practise navigation skills, mapping dive sites and recognizing fishes. Since I had a lot of time doing my divemaster I decided to dive as much as I could and doing most of the knowledge review and reading before I assisted on any courses. So a lot of hours were of course spent relaxing by the Crystal pool reading books.
My time as a divemaster was amazing and in March / April I took two weeks and finished all of the tasks that were required for me to complete. When I arrived in January I had no intention of doing anything more than my divemaster, but as I assisted on courses I realized I really wanted to show others this amazing world underneath the surface.
Also, every time I got a question from one of the students, I really wanted to find out more so I could answer them myself instead of always have to ask another instructor.
So by the time I was at the end of my divemaster, I started considering doing my instructor training. I talked to my mentor Atilla and asked for advice and by the end of the discussion I had decided to continue my professional education and take the big step to becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. The instructor course was two intense weeks and during that time we first went through some of the more difficult theory, then we learned how to teach the theory and also how to teach the skills both in confined and open water. I absolutely loved PADI Course Directors Bob and Justin, and I am so happy that I decided to do my instructor course at Crystal Dive.
What was your favourite part of the scuba diving training and why?
During my fun diving I spent alot of time attending the Eco dives with the really dedicated dive instructor Jenny. As a part of my divemaster I was allowed to attend dive site clean ups, measuring clams for science, and moving and cleaning structures underwater for fish to live in. This work was really rewarding and it was great to be able to contribute to a clean environment underwater.
I especially remember one episode were I was diving with one of the other DMs. We had a drop off at Mango Bay and on the swim back towards the boat we found a big fish net covering a huge coral. Its horrible to see when fish are caught in the net so I signalled my buddy Lara and told her that I wanted to remove it. We spent almost 20 minutes gently removing the net and as a reward for spending all the time there we had the longest surface swim ever back to the boat.
What was your least favourite part and why?
Saying goodbye! Since we were so many DMTs, almost every night was either someone’s birthday, a snorkel test, some other good reason to party or sadly a goodbye party. My least favorite thing was having to say goodbye to my new dive buddies and “vacation best friends”. As you are so far from home, the friends you get traveling become so close and after only a few weeks you get a big holiday family.
Who was your favourite Instructor and why?
Even though I think my mentor Atilla, my unofficial mentors Kiwi and Dirk Schmidt are absolutely amazing and super great! I just loved spending time with Bob and Justin! Bob and Justin guided us through the 14 intense but amazing days of the Instructor training. They made the physics, the physiology and the equipment seem like a piece of cake, and they laughed with us when we made silly mistakes.
For the equipment Bob brought with him his private collection of different first stages, which he almost needed a truck to carry. When they get super-stressed students as myself, they also offer amazing hugs to calm you down.
As a qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor what are you future plans with regards to scuba?
I left for Norway in June and have already tried diving here (Oslo, Norway). I can confirm that is it cold, dark and muddy compared to the paradise I left in Thailand. So for now I am saving up for my next holiday. I have decided to sell my apartment in April next year in order to travel full time and dive around the world.
Who knows where I will end up, but I can for sure say one thing…. Koh Tao, see you again soon!
And your favourite restaurant on Koh Tao?
I love the sushi at Maya (even though I am trying not to eat to much fish!). Once a week they also have a special offer with huge discounts! It tastes really nice, and even nicer with a glass of white wine. They call themself culinary chefs, and for good reasons. Actually all the food is great! Maya is a beach bar with amazing sun beds, music and view, and I go there almost everytime I have time off.
How did you spend your non diving days on Koh Tao?
The lazy days were spent either by the pool reading and working on my tan, at Maya Bar (doing the same), or at a friend’s house in Sairee watching movies and hanging out. There is a small but amazing Norwegian community in Koh Tao and when I feel homesick and want to talk in Norwegian I hang out with them.
At night I tended to end up in Sairee Beach to watch the fire show, have dinner, or go dancing. My dive buddies and I have had a lot of fun making dances out of Open Water skills and making fun of how we percieve people from other nationalities dancing.
Where are you heading next?
On the top of my list is traveling and diving in Indonesia, but since my dive buddies from my DMT time is scattered throughout the world I have invitations to go traveling all over. And that is exactly were I want to go!