What where you doing before you joined Crystal Dive’s team to complete your scuba diving internship on Koh Tao?
Working as a hairdresser for 12 years.
How long have you spent completing your scuba diving internship?
I completed my Emergency first responder and PADI Rescue Diver course in December last year, straight after that I had my Divemaster orientation and began fun diving everyday to get familiar with the dive sites and build up the amount of logged dives I had so that I could start assisting on courses.
In January this year and only 2 weeks into my Divemaster training I had a bad fall and broke a few bones so was out of the water for 6 months. I have recently got back in the water and with the exception of a few days out for a wedding on the mainland I was doing the hair for (another amazing experience), I steamed though my course and finished in 3 weeks!
What was your favourite part of the scuba diving Internship and why?
I’ve been here so long that it’s hard to pin point one part! The prospect of being out of the water for 6 months was horrible so when I was eventually more mobile after my accident I needed something to keep me busy. I was luckily enough to be given a position in the front office at crystal.
Being a loud and very talkative hairdresser, this was perfect for me. I learnt so much being in the office and loved chatting to people from all walks of life. I quickly became part of the crystal family and felt right at home.
For Earth day I organised a big event at Crystal, we invited the local primary school to come for a few hours of arts and crafts and games all to educate them on the environment and keeping our beautiful island clean. I don’t know who enjoyed it more, the children, the teachers or all of us big kids at Crystal!
In June this year Koh Tao hosted it’s annual Save Koh Tao Festival and I was asked to make the costumes for Crystal’s entry in the Mr and Mrs Koh Tao competition. In the days leading up to it, staff and interns were all helping me collect and cut up cardboard and plastic bottles to make two costumes made entirely from recycled materials. We didn’t win but it was great having the whole crystal family get involved and celebrate such a great cause!
My favourite diving part was assisting with a rescue course and doing the hell dive. I had to act like a bad diver and the student had to spot what I was doing wrong and correct me.
I put my mask on upside down, took my regulator out my mouth and swapped it for my snorkel, took off my fins, tried to put sand in my pockets, bouncing along the sand, pretended to ride the other Divemaster’s tank, take off their fins and made the students task really difficult.
I loved it and was laughing the whole time I was doing it!
What was your least favourite part and why?
The exams! I have never been good when it comes to exams. The minute someone puts a test in front of me my mind goes blank and I forget everything. But I studied for the first time in my life and passed with flying colours.
Who was your favourite Instructor and why?
A totally unfair question! All the instructors here are awesome and so different to each other.
The first is Manu. When I chose my mentor I hadn’t been here long so idn’t know all the instructors but I can remember saying “I want the big Mexican dude”. Manu is an absolute boss. He’s tough which is what I wanted from my mentor and I learnt so much from him but he is also one of the kindest people I know, would do anything for anyone and can always put a smile on your face.
The 2nd is Kiwi. Kiwi has been at crystal for 10 years! Although he doesn’t officially mentor people because he is always so busy in his man cave fixing all the equipment we use, he took me under his wing right from the start. Kiwi is like a dad to everyone, he will kick us into shape, tell us if something we did is wrong but always take the time to explain why and the banter with Kiwi is great. This guy is a crystal legend – but don’t tell him I said that!
As a qualified PADI Divemaster what are you future plans with regards to scuba?
I miss being in the office at Crystal so the thing I want most is to work on the Divemaster team here. As soon as I can save some money I will do the PADI Instructor course with Crystal. In the 8 months I’ve been here I have seen a lot of people become instructors and the training from Bob, Justin and Suki is second to none. I had never planned to become an instructor but Diving is so addictive.
I loved assisting on courses and now want to be the one teaching. The feeling you get helping someone to overcome their fears and learn new things is unlike any other and I’m such a people person that this really is the perfect job for me!
And what about Koh Tao?
From the minute you walk off that boat at the pier you get goose bumps and know straightaway that Koh Tao is unlike any other place. The locals here are really friendly and will go out of their way to help you. They are always keen to help you learn some basic Thai words to help you get by.
The island is so beautiful and has some of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. The dive community here is huge and everyone helps each other.
And your favourite restaurant on Koh Tao?
It’s got to be without question be Zest! I call them every morning on my way to crystal so that when I arrive to go on the morning dive, they bring me the best fruit, yoghurt, muesli or multigrain toast and latte on the island!
Also when you’re bored of too much Thai food, these guys make the absolute BEST Cesar salad!
How did you spend your non diving days on Koh Tao?
At one of Crystal’s pools, swimming and working on my tan or at one of the white sandy beaches here like freedom beach, climbing up and jumping off the huge rock at Tanote Bay, snorkeling at Shark Bay in the hope of spotting a turtle or a baby black tip shark, sharing a jug of sangria with friend at Maya beach club or lazing in my hammock at my bunglow on the beach.
Where are you heading next?
Once I am PADI Instructor I’ll be able to find work in some other amazing parts of the world but for now I can’t imagine leaving Crystal Dive or Koh Tao. At least not anytime soon!
Why leave when I have already found paradise?