What ‘Diving Lifestyle’ Internship program did you complete?
Open Water – Divemaster Lifestyle package
What were you doing before you joined Crystal Dive’s team to complete your scuba diving internship (Diving Lifestyle Program) on Koh Tao?
Before coming to Koh Tao to become a Divemaster, I was working as a photojournalist in local news in the US covering all sorts of news stories including weather and sports.
How long have you spent completing your scuba diving internship?
I started my Open Water course October 12 and finished my Divemaster course December 26. So 59 days as a Divemaster in training and 15 days in the earlier courses. In the middle of my Divemaster training, I went on a short trip to Chiang Mai for the lantern festival and a weekend in Cambodia to extend my visa, then right back to Koh Tao to get back in the water. Too long of surface intervals are boring.
What was your favourite part of the scuba diving Internship and why?
My favorite part of the internship was finally getting out my shell and meeting people from across the world. I had never left the US before this experience and it has certainly changed my life for the better. That and honing my diving skills are invaluable to me.
What was your least favourite part and why?
My least favorite part was saying goodbye to the great people I met along the way to becoming a Divemaster. The reality is not everyone can stay on the island and it is sad to see your new friends go. Also, I really didn’t like being so far away from my family for the holidays for the second year in a row, especially because my brother had a little boy while I was away.
Who was your favourite Instructor and why?
That’s a good one. I think it would have to be a tie between my mentor Carsten and Jack. They’re both really great divers who are genuinely nice and really funny guys. Totally approachable and always willing to help.
As a qualified PADI Divemaster what are you future plans with regards to scuba?
I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me in relation to scuba but at the very least it will be a hobby. One of the reasons I came to do this program was to broaden my experience in the photography field. Being able to shoot photos and videos underwater as well as on land can really take you places. And with this being my first time out of the States, I intend to go to those places.
And what about Koh Tao?
Koh Tao quickly became a new home to me. The people here are so amazing with open minds and hearts. I spent birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with these people so we have become really close. The island itself is exquisite. The water, the trees, the beaches, the hills and harbors. Just breathtaking. My only critique is that both foreigners and locals could do a better job at being more green and disposing of their waste properly.
And your favourite restaurant on Koh Tao?
My favorite restaurant would have to be Yang’s Thai Restaurant on the main road. That’s the place we spent lots of celebrations such as birthdays and goodbye dinners. The food is so good and so diverse. They have a lot of different kinds of foods, but you’ve got to try the chicken schnitzel!
How did you spend your non diving days on Koh Tao?
There is so much to do other than diving here. You could lie on the beach get a tan or go rock climbing or cliff jumping. I’ve gone for many a cruise on a moped, hung by the pool, gone free diving or snorkeling. And then there’s the easy stuff like watching movies at a friend’s place or trying different local cuisines and going shopping.
Where are you heading next?
My next stop will be back home in Louisiana. I’m considering doing my Instructor Development Course (IDC) and in order to do that, I will need to save up a bit more money. Plus, I need to meet my new nephew and attend some weddings.
But as they say, “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” I could end up anywhere, from the Florida keys to the Great Barrier Reef. The future is wide open.