What PADI scuba diving Internship program did you complete?
My adventure with Crystal Dive started in August doing my Open Water course, naive of what was going to happen next. My first dive, I knew I wanted more. Within two weeks I became a PADI Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, EFR certified, and started my DiveMaster Program within a blink of an eye.
Now three months later almost, I don’t have a plan or the intention to leave, thanks to Crystal Dive.
What were you doing before you joined Crystal Dive?
I was working back in Portland, OR in a psychiatric hospital as a technician in the Emergency department. On my days off I was in class getting certified as an EMT, while taking a semester out of nursing school.
How long have you spent completing your scuba diving internship?
My DiveMaster program took me about two months from start to finish. The Program was more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. I got to dive almost everyday and spend most of those diving days having the time of my life.
What was your favourite part of your scuba diving internship and why?
There are so many, but one is starting this DiveMaster journey with strangers and coming out family in the end. No matter where our next destination is, either Africa or staying on Koh Tao, we won’t lose what we have gained on this island, friends and memories for life.
As well as on my last assist of my DiveMaster program, I saw my first turtle! I was so encaptured with following and gazing at the turtle I completely forgot I was with students. This is what diving does to you, you get lost in the dive and never want to be found.
What was your least favourite and why?
Definitely when I crashed my scooter and was out of the water for a week. Seeing everyone coming and going, talking about what they saw on the dive that day. This was without a doubt the most bitter part of my DiveMaster program.
Who was your favourite instructor and why?
This is a question that cannot be answered. Youri deserves the most credit, he taught me my Open Water course and he’s the reason why I continued to my Advanced course. He made diving seem natural and easy, like breathing, something that you simply just do.
A big thanks to both Manu and Tina, no matter what we needed through our DiveMaster course they were there. I definitely learned the most from both of them, and they’re the reason why I fell in love with the idea of teaching scuba diving, and why I am now planning to do my Instructor course in February.
Finally I would say Beard. He was my mentor through my DiveMaster and one of my biggest contributors to my learning experience. From listening to dive briefings and practicing skills he was always willing to help.
During your scuba diving internship, which of the additional Marine Conservation ‘ECO’ program activities did you take part in and which did you enjoy the most?
My two favorite ECO activities were definitely restoring the buoy line at Junkyard and measuring clams. It’s not everyday you get to tie a new buoy line down, so that was definitely the most memorable, and every time I dive there now I get to see the line, which is pretty awesome.
Do you think our additional Marine Conservation ‘ECO’ program was beneficial to your Professional level scuba diving training and if so why?
Crystals ‘ECO’ program was definitely one of the top reasons why I fell in love with diving and why I decided to stay here in Koh Tao. Diving for me was not just about seeing colorful fish and beautiful ecosystems. Diving for me has become a way to share with people the struggle under the sea that most people don’t even consider. I love being able to share this with new and old divers because it is a big part of why diving has become my passion.
As a qualified PADI Divemaster what are your future plans with regards to scuba?
All I know for certain right now is that I am not done with Koh Tao. I would love to find a permanent place at Crystal or somewhere on the island so I take my Instructor course at Crystal in February. Then ultimately find an instructor job in Koh Tao and see what the island has in store for me. Whether it be 6 months or a year, I’m just diving one day at a time.
And what about Koh Tao….
Definitely has to be between Del Sol or Shalimar. Del Sol has excellent food ranging from delicious pasta to intricate sandwiches, and the best iced mocha on the island. Shalimar has amazing indian food, definitely my favorite place to go and get chicken tiki masala and naan bread, SO delicious.
How did you spend your non-diving days?
Not too many were spent out of the water. But on the rare occasion, I usually spent it exploring the island a bit, from sunbathing on beaches to adventuring down in Sairee through some of the local shops. Always something to do, but diving is definitely number one.
Where are you heading to next?
I have no clue, and I love that. Whether it be to find a job as a DiveMaster on Koh Tao and continue on to do my instructor course in February at Crystal. Or find my next destination somewhere else, I know that I am not done with diving, this is my new “normal life” and I’m not even close to giving it up.