PADI Women’s Dive Day – An Interview with PADI CD Marlies Lang

When did you fall in love with the ocean?

I did my open water course in the middle of winter in New Zealand and confined training was done in a swimming pool – the first open water dive literally blew my mind – the colours of the marine world were amazing and the topography stunning – I felt like discovering a whole new world…

 

How did you start diving?

I joined a PADI Open Water Course in 1995 in the middle of winter in New Zealand. I still remember loving the feeling of being weightless under water – it changed my life for the better.

When did you become a PADI instructor?

After working as a Divemaster for a while I felt it was time to better myself and become a PADI instructor – little did I know then how much I would enjoy teaching people how to dive – a hobby turned into a passion!

Why did you become a PADI Course Director?

Working as a PADI instructor and Staff instructor for 8 years I wanted to take another step up and trained to be a PADI Course Director. I know for sure that I have the best job in the world not only being able to introduce people to the wonders of the underwater world but also train dive professionals and prepare them to become an instructor themselves to LIVE THE DREAM AND TRAVEL THE WORLD!

What would you tell our readers especially women who are interested in diving?

Come and try diving today!! You will not be disappointed of what the silent world has to offer – the PADIs woman’s dive day is the perfect opportunity to finally make it happen!  Come and dive with us at Sea Dancer Dive centre here in Dahab!

Why did you chose to work in Egypt as a PADI professional?

I fell in love with Egypt 16 years ago – the people – the culture – the nature – and specially of course the magic that happens under water! Here in Dahab the wonderful coral reefs are only footsteps away from the shore and with dive sites like the Famous Blue Hole and The Canyon one of the top diving destinations in the world. Come and see it for yourself – and all you woman out there that are curious but not sure – try diving on PADI’s woman’s dive day!!

See you under water

Marlies Lang

PADI Course Director

PADI Women’s Dive Day – An Interview with PADI CD Jilly Healey

My name is Jilly, I am a PADI Course Director and here is my story. I am originally from Manchester, England but I have lived in Egypt for nearly half my life. From the moment I arrived here, it felt like coming home.

My story really begins about 20 years before I was born; my mum lived in Fayed, Ismailia as a little girl so I always had a fascination with Egypt as a child. In 1995, my mum returned to live in Sharm El Sheikh and got a job in a hotel here. In November 1998 after a busy year running my own bar, I was in desperate need of a holiday so I popped over to visit mum for a couple of weeks.

I love my mum to bits she is my best friend and an inspiration to me, but she is a sneaky one, she told me she had booked me onto the PADI Open Water course, to which I told her no I wasn’t interested, I wanted to sit on a beach and relax. She told me she had paid for it and “ tough luck young lady you are going to do it because I have bought it for your Christmas present” what do you say to that apart from “ Yes mum, Thank you Mum” and off I trundled to the dive centre.

I have always been a water babe but wouldn’t say I was a great fan of the sea, we had a speed boat as a kid so was always around water but I had this belief there was a giant octopus in the sea that would get me ( I had a big brother so I wonder where I got that kind of info from, probably the same place as the crocodiles at the side of my bed and the lion in the cupboard in the bathroom!) So did I fall in love with the ocean straight away, no not at all, but I did fall in love with my dive instructor, he spoke English with a French accent that made me go weak at the knees.

I still don’t think I particularly liked diving whilst doing my open water, I was scared of fish (big fish were fine, it was the little ones that moved fast that scared me), the dive tables were just confusing, I couldn’t get to grips with the compass ( honestly my buddy and I winged that one- I have never told my instructor that, hope he doesn’t read this!) but I got through it. Once I passed my mum admitted she had lied to me and that she had got the course for free because she worked at the hotel but knew if she told me she hadn’t paid for it I wouldn’t have gone, see I told you she was sneaky.

Something in the Open Water must have peaked my interest because 2 days later, having a French PADI Instructor as my new boyfriend I started my PADI Advanced course. This is when I fell in love with it all. I left Sharm after that holiday sold my bar and was back doing my PADI Rescue course on January 20th 1999. By the end of that year, I was a PADI Instructor – Thanks Mum.

At that time, as a female in a male orientated career and environment I had to work hard to prove myself, I think the women that came before me paved a way for me and I would like to think I did the same for women who came after me. I had to prove to the male Egyptian boat crews that I was strong enough to tie mooring lines as good as any of my male counterparts, that I would carry the tanks and equipment and in the water I was a good as anyone else, the crews watched me and spoke amongst themselves and I gained their respect. I often get asked by women how I have dealt with being female and working in Egypt, my answer is I work alongside the boat crews as a unit, I chat with the skippers when deciding dive sites, they know the sea much better than I ever will, I help the deckhands where I can, I don’t think it matters whether you are male or female it matters whether you have the respect for each other and are willing to work hard and I have proved that I do and I can. I strongly believe in being a role model to others and feel if you work hard others will follow your lead. I love diving in Egypt, the reefs are so beautiful and plentiful, everywhere I go around the world I look at it and think could I dive here every day and not get bored, so far only Sharm El Sheikh has captivated me enough to stay for 19 years.

I became a PADI Course Director after helping with many Instructor Development Courses, I had an exceptional boss of the dive centre I work at and he was the best Course Director who encouraged all his IDC Staff Instructors to continue up the PADI ladder. During one IDC, we had about 18 students, there were 3 Course Directors on that course with my boss being the lead Course Director, I was the only Staff Instructor and all the students kept asking me why I wasn’t a Course Director, they got me thinking. I just did not feel confident in myself to do it, so I went to my boss and he told me to believe in myself, he told me I was more than ready. With the push from him and the support of my boyfriend (not the French Instructor, I met a new one, of course he is an Instructor as well, us divers talk nothing but diving and fish who else would listen to us but other divers) I went to my PADI Course Director Course.

I will never forget the moment I realised I had passed that course, I looked in the mirror laughing and crying at the same time saying to myself, you are a PADI Course Director.

Ladies the moral of my story is that you may get pushed to do things outside of your comfort zone and sometimes you may not have the confidence in yourself to do them but believe in yourself, embrace the challenges as they may change your life – mine did. In the water it does not matter if you are male or female, the fish do not care, all that matters is that you love it.

My mum’s gift opened up a completely new world for me, it is a world that keeps giving every day and I have never looked back.

 

PADI Women’s Dive Day – An Interview with PADI CD Anna Schmitt

In celebration of PADI Women’s dive day, here is an interview with PADI Course Director Anna Schmitt.

Even though Anna hasn’t been the longest serving PADI course director, but Anna managed to establish her name very quickly as a PADI Course Director in Egypt in few years. Anna has been a PADI member for 8 years and a PADI Course Director for 3 years, which proves that working hard pays off.

 

When did you fall in love with the ocean?

 

Falling in love with the ocean is not a one off, it is forever.

I still do, every single time with the eyes of new students experiencing these moments of falling in love with the undersea world. It gives me huge satisfaction witnessing again and again the beginnings of their love stories with the ocean.

How did you start diving?

 

Life is so unpredictable: we can plan and schedule day after day, weeks, months, years, vacations, what and when we want to buy and what to achieve in life; but often it is not enough.

One small decision or event can create a big change in our life. For almost 6 years after school, I was studying in Airspace University, became an engineer and was successfully working in it for 3 years. I have to say I really loved my job.

Diving? Never even thought about it. How? My eyes were always looking in the sky, all goals and plans were there.  However, there is always a but in the story…

Vacation, Egypt, Red Sea – the best combination for a new experience, which ultimately changed my life.

From the first moment breathing under the water, I knew that this would be a life changing experience, a new me was born. I found the easiest way to experience another world without leaving our planet. While looking in the sky, I found all I was dreaming of beneath the waves.

When I started the OWD course, I knew that I would go further and 6 months later, I became a Divemaster, taking the first step in my professional career.

 

 

When did you become a PADI instructor?

After becoming a Divemaster I had one year of intense work in the diving center: guiding, assisting courses, sharing my experiences and enhancing my skills every day. The milestone of becoming a PADI Instructor was accomplished in 2011. It was a big and necessary step, which gave me many more opportunities. 3 months later, I was ready to take the next challenge.

Why did you become a PADI Course Director?

Why – that is a good question. We should always move forward and challenge ourselves to widen our horizons. First, I believe we learn the most going through them, with every lesson we take with an open mind we become a better version of ourselves. We evolve and it gives us a greater chance to make a better tomorrow.

 

Being a PADI Course Director in Egypt allows me to influence the international diving community, building up the demand for quality Instructor training, raising environmental awareness and so much more.

 

What would you tell our readers especially women who are interested in diving?

No matter when and where we start, we can always transform our dreams to goals and to achieve them once they are set. All we need is to do our best, every single day. Sometimes we feel that steps to our goals are too slow or too small, but they are always forward, that is what matters.

The first step is the hardest part. Do not be shy or afraid that you are too old, too young, can’t swim, never snorkelled – we have only one life, never give up on your dreams, it is always worth it to try. I truly believe each woman was made for diving; each woman can be an amazing diver and inspiring educator. We all have this love of nature which lives inside us, and that’s what the ocean needs… Oceans need women to take care of them.

 

Why did you chose to work in Egypt as a PADI professional?

Work, not exactly the word I would use. Diving is first my passion, my living style, my motivation, my inspiration. I was born here as a diver in the beautiful Red Sea. It is unspeakably beautiful which can teach me so much with every single dive. It is the best place to welcome new encounters in my life. Great weather conditions, warm waters and perfect geographical location – these are just additional benefits.

PADI Women’s Dive Day – An Interview with PADI CD Nancy Abd El Wahab

In celebration of PADI Women’s dive day, here is an interview with PADI Course Director Mancy Abd El Wahab, who has been a PADI member since 1994 and a PADI Course Director since 2002.

 

When did you fall in love with the ocean?

As long as I can remember! I always loved the water and spent the summers around lakes and the North Sea coast in Germany. Of course watching documentaries about the ocean, such as ones from Hans Hass, made me curios about the ocean and everything in it. However, what made me really fall in love with the ocean was the first time I went snorkelling as a child in the Mediterranean Sea in Spain. The amazing blue colours of the ocean and being able to see what’s below – that was an unbelievable experience and also where my “love story” with the ocean began.

How did you start diving?

When I was a teenager I was a competitive swimmer and water always felt like a place I wanted to be. Due to my fascination with the underwater world my parents gave me a diving course as a Christmas present at the beginning of the 1990’s. I remember it vividly; it was January and we went to a lake in Germany, the water was 4 degrees cold, there was no visibility and I was wearing a suit that was miles too big for me. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved it and continued learning more about diving until this day.

When did you become a PADI instructor?

I was working as a PADI Divemaster in Dahab in the early 1990’s and gained some experience. After working for one year as a guide it was time to develop and I did my IDC in 1995 in Sharm El Sheikh. It was an intense course and I was very lucky that I had a wonderful and very professional PADI Course Director, who became my mentor for many years after.

Why did you become a PADI Course Director?

Personally, I always like to develop and to learn new things. Working for a long time as an Instructor and living in one of the top spots of the diving industry it was a natural process to continue my education. I was very lucky that I had the chance to work as a Staff Instructor on many IDC’s before I applied for my Course Director Training Course in 2002. Becoming a PADI Course Director was a great dream of mine. It is such a rewarding job teaching people to make a living from diving. It is a high level of training and I love to share the experience I gained over the last 24 years in the diving industry.

 

What would you tell our readers especially women who are interested in diving?

I think nowadays more women are diving and are interested in diving. However, I still see many countries where female divers are an exception because of cultures where it is not common that men and women participate in the same activities. I encourage women from these cultures to look out for professional female Divemasters and Instructors if they are interested in diving. Diving is a fantastic sport where you can meet many different people who have a love for the ocean. But its not only a sport, it’s a life style and divers are very social people. Going on a diving holiday is both seeing amazing things underwater and spending a great time with people who have the same passion. I would suggest for women to find a female mentor – like a Divemaster or Instructor. I taught many women diving and it was great to be their mentor. Many of them became PADI Divemasters or PADI Instructor by themselves and they now carry the passion we share for diving to other women who are just starting to dive.

Why did you choose to work in Egypt as a PADI professional?

The Red Sea is one of the top destinations for diving worldwide. I love the amazing underwater world of the coral reefs of Sinai and the very unique dive sites like Ras Mohamed, the Thistlegorm and the Blue Hole. The weather and water temperature make it possible to dive the whole year around and the mountain range of South Sinai is one of the most beautiful places I ever have seen in my life. I have chosen Egypt as well because of its lovely Egyptian and Bedouin people I work and live with. Especially Dahab is very unique – there is a great community of Egyptians, Bedouins and foreigners that will make you fall in love with this place.

 

PADI Women’s Dive Day – An Interview with Chris Azab

 

As PADI Women’s Dive Day is getting ever closer, we will be interviewing some leading figures in the diving industry in Egypt.

Chris Azab is a PADI Course Director, who has been a PADI member since 2001 and a PADI Course Director since 2009.

When did you fall in love with the ocean?

When I was a child, after school time, I always went to the beach to play and swim in the sea (I was living in Holland, nearby the North Sea). In 1992 it was the first time to visit Sharm el Sheikh and the Red Sea and I felt in love with it when I was snorkelling in Naáma Bay and Sharks Bay. The beautiful colours of the Coral, the beautiful colours of the fish. Each year I went back to the Red Sea.

How did you start diving?

After snorkelling in the Red Sea I wanted to see and learn more. I had a chance to do a DSD in Holland and I continued and followed all the courses from the PADI Ladder.

When did you become a PADI instructor?

In 2001 I became a PADI Instructor and was teaching for hobby. I started a Dive Club in Holland and in one year I had 75 members and all the time happy faces. We did dives in the cold waters of the Grevelingen and the Oosterschelde. You can see all different kind of fish and a lot of crabs and lobsters. I wanted to be underwater all the weekends. In 2004 I had the change to change my life and start living, diving and teaching in Sharm el Sheikh – Egypt. I followed my dream and my passion about diving and made from my hobby my fulltime job and I’m still loving it.

Why did you become a PADI Course Director?

Even when I was fulltime working in the Diving Industry in Egypt, I loved to do each year some courses myself and in 2009 I had the chance to do the Course Director Training Course as the next step in my carrier. I love to teach different courses and like to bring divers to a higher level. Now I’m teaching IDC’s and all different Instructor Specialties in different countries, in Sharm el Sheikh by 5* IDC Center Sinai Dive Club, in Holland by 5* IDC Center Divepost and 5* IDC Center Souldivers and in Cyprus by 5* IDC Center Cydive. It’s not the only thing I do. I teach all TEC Courses which I prefer to do in Sharm. From the shore you can easily dive to 65 meter. Sidemount diving is one of my favourites. It’s also amazing to teach the new Adaptive Support and Adaptive Techniques Diver Specialty, which I have planned again in September in Sharm el Sheikh.

 

What would you tell our readers especially women who are interested in diving?

Ladies, I still dive for fun. Last week I was on a diving Holliday in Tenerife by PADI Dive Center Ola Diving. The Atlantic Ocean surprised me as well. We saw Dolphins, Turtles, schools of Barracuda’s and Triggerfish, Morays, Bullrays etc. etc. So ladies, go diving and start today!!! It will change your life. You will become part of a different world, will see beautiful creations. Diving transforms you to another human, it’s a challenge, it’s relaxation and it’s amazing to be underwater. It doesn’t matter if you dive in cold water or warm water, it’s the feeling of freedom. Come and visit the Red Sea, it’s a great and safe place to be. Just be careful, you can become addicted to diving and the Red Sea like I did.

Why did you chose to work in Egypt as a PADI professional?

Since I started diving I went to different diving destinations, not only to the Red Sea. As you can read above, I felt in love with the Red Sea, the National Park of Ras Mohammed, the Reefs by Tiran Island, it’s amazing because every day, every dive it’s different. There are also lots of beautiful local Dive sites. That’s why I wanted to work in Sharm el Sheikh, I did and it became my home. Nowadays I’m not only working in Egypt, anyway I can tell you, once a Sharmer, always a Sharmer.

A New PADI Course Director In Saudi Arabia – Waleed Abdel Moubdy

Waleed

Congratulations to Waleed A. Moubdy becoming the latest PADI Course Director in Saudi Arabia, Waleed has been a loyal PADI Member for 20 years. Waleed has made his way through the ranks by working and managing few dive centres in Hurghada, in Egypt and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

We would like to  congratulate you for completing the CDTC recently in the Kota Kinabalu, and officially welcome you as a PADI Course Director!

This is an accomplishment to be very proud of. Well Done Waleed and keep up the good work