What ‘Diving Lifestyle’ Internship program did you complete?
I arrived at Crystal as an advanced open water diver and went all the way through to Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT).
What were you doing before you joined Crystal Dive’s team to complete your scuba diving internship (Diving Lifestyle Program) on Koh Tao?
I was backpacking around South East Asia and spent my last week on Koh Tao where a friend introduced me to Crystal. I completed my Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Wreck, Deep and Nitrox specialities.
When I left Thailand I knew I had to come back for my Divemaster Training (DMT). So I went home to earn some money and 6 months later I was back underwater getting my 40 dives in order to start assisting courses!
How long have you spent completing your scuba diving internship?
I spent around 3 months doing my Divemaster Training, taking time off to spend with friends, fun diving (either joking around underwater with a camera or looking for rare fish!) and exploring Koh Tao. I also went to Koh Phangan for the full moon party. I appreciated the flexibility of my DMT so that I could go at my own pace.
After the hilarious snorkel test (the final challenge!) I started the working internship program at Crystal. This is where I really learnt how a professional dive school was organised and operated. It was amazing fun working at the fast pace of the Divemaster team for 2 weeks.
I then completed my IDC which was 2 weeks with Crystal’s Course Directors and my fellow classmates who were from all over the world and had amazing diving stories.
After I passed my PADI instructor exams I then did my MSDT internship which took about 1 month. The time flew by as I dived almost every day with the most experienced instructors. I found it extremely valuable to see the different teaching styles at Crystal and to mould my own.
What was your favourite part of the scuba diving Internship and why?
My Divemaster training was definitely the most fun I had on the island meeting all these weird and wonderful people either stopping off on Koh Tao for a few days or staying for a few months and becoming weird and wonderful friends.
The most educational part of my Internship was my MSDT. I was able to see the experienced instructors in action and work with them in my Team Teaches. I felt I learned a lot in the month I spent doing my MSDT particularly from Carsten, who always makes his students laugh their heads off!
What was your least favourite part and why?
My least favourite part was the long nerve wracking pause the PADI examiner left before he told me I had passed my Instructor exams (!), as well as occasionally sitting in the classroom doing physics during the IDC whilst everyone was seeing Whalesharks almost every day out at sea.
But I knew what I signed up for and looking back I enjoyed sitting there with my fellow students. Also the sense of achievement the IDC gave me was awesome. (Would’ve still liked to see that Whaleshark though!)
Who was your favourite Instructor and why?
Early on as a DMT I assisted Attila on a course and from then on he always guided me when I needed help and gave me amazing advice so I would say he was my favourite instructor! He treated me as his equal on the course even though at that point I had 42 dives and he was in his 100s if not 1000s!
Whilst I was doing my IDC and MSDT I think my good friend Elora was my favourite instructor as she always helped me out when I had annoying questions and since she was only a few months ahead of me in the whole process she always knew what I was talking about!
As a qualified PADI Instructor what are you future plans with regards to scuba?
I plan on working as an instructor in the future; it is the perfect job if you love travelling and experiencing new and wonderful countries as well meeting amazing people from all over the world! My students always have interesting stories and I love showing them the fish of paradise (often) for the first time. I also plan on diving in some new locations and I think my training here will make that more enjoyable for me.
And what about Koh Tao?
Koh Tao has a very relaxed atmosphere and I feel like there is a strong sense of community, particularly between the large numbers of divers on the island. A bit of healthy competition too! The locals are always nice and becoming a regular at many restaurants and bars, some become friends too.
The nightlife is also really good on Koh Tao. The volume of backpackers and local divers means the bars are usually buzzing and the buckets are flowing. Some say Koh Tao is too small but I enjoyed seeing people I knew around the island. It made it feel very safe and homely. And then of course there is the island itself with beautiful beaches everywhere, amazing sea and from an Englishman’s perspective, finally some sun!
And your favourite restaurant on Koh Tao?
Enjoy is my favourite restaurant on Koh Tao. Big portions of Bavarian/Austrian food is always perfect to regain some energy after a day’s diving. Or Pranee’s Kitchen, where you can chill out on the cushions and watch stupid movies with your ‘DMT Family’ whilst enjoying good, cheap and quick Thai food. Famoso is always a good option for pizza and best of all they deliver when you are feeling lazy.
How did you spend your non diving days on Koh Tao?
Relaxing on the porch of my friend’s bungalow in Koh Tao Gardens where most of us lived was always a good option. But also exploring the islands various viewpoints and bays, doing a lot of snorkelling looking for black tip reef sharks in shark bay, or nursing a hangover from the previous evenings Fire limbo beach party craziness.
Where are you heading next?
Back to England to start university. But I can definitely see myself working as an Instructor back on Koh Tao at some point in the future!
Especially since I still need to see that big spotty fish!