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.

Earth Day – Sunday 22nd April

On Sunday 22nd April, the Prodivers team and guests of Hurawalhi joined the largest civic-focused day of action in the world – Earth Day! The campaign for Earth Day 2018 was ‘End Plastic Pollution’, a movement dedicated to providing information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour towards plastics.


Plastics are a substance the earth cannot digest. The very qualities that made plastics such an attractive material initially; durable, flexible, versatile and inexpensive, have ultimately generated rubbish with staying power – a huge environmental issue. Our voracious appetite for plastic goods, coupled with our tendency to discard, litter and thus pollute, has led to an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year. Plastics not only threaten our wildlife through entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption, but their ability to absorb chemicals and accumulate in the human food chain has also led to plastics negatively affecting human health.


So, instead of diving with sharks or snorkelling with manta rays, the 48th Earth Day saw Hurawalhi staff and guests dive and snorkel for debris instead! They were let loose to clean up as much plastic and rubbish they could find off a nearby reef. Whilst they may have made only the tiniest dent in removing some of the debris currently be in our oceans, every action counts. There are so many simple ways to reduce plastic consumption in our day-to-day lives, here are some of the tips our Marine Biologist, Kirsty, shared with all of our volunteers this Earth Day:

1. Refrain from using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable one.

2. Forget the plastic bag. Purchase a reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often.

3. Give up gum. Chewing gum is made of a synthetic rubber, i.e. plastic.

4. Ditch bottles for boxes. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.

5. Leave the single-use plastic bottles on the shelf. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop.

6. Don’t buy foods in plastic containers e.g. berries, tomatoes etc. Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers back.

7. Disregard the disposable nappy. Use cloth nappies to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.

8. Stop purchasing single serving products. Buy bulk items instead and pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags.

9. Refuse to buy disposable razors and toothbrushes. Purchase replaceable blades instead.

Abstain from buying frozen foods. Even though those that appear to be packaged in cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic, plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods.

A great quote from Marine Biologist, Sylvia Earle, sums up perfectly the importance of looking after the ocean: ‘No water, no life. No blue, no green’

PADI’s guest blogger Kirsty introduces herself:

Growing up in Mallorca, surrounded by the riches of the Mediterranean Sea, Kirsty’s ambition to pursue a career in marine biology was ignited from a young age. Kirsty completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Newcastle University in England. During her studies she had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Maldives. It is not surprising then that her research interests to date have focused on tropical reef ecology. More specifically, Kirsty is interested in studying the movement patterns and habitat use of sharks and rays. Kirsty is currently part of the Maldivian Manta Trust research team, collecting data around the country’s manta population, its movements, and how the environment and tourism / human interactions affect them.

 

 

Take Part in the Fourth Annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on Saturday 21 July 2018

For the past three years, divers from every corner of the globe have come together for PADI Women’s Dive Day to bond over their love of the ocean and a passion for diving. This growing tradition will continue on 21 July 2018, further strengthening and supporting the female dive community through a day of fun, adventure and camaraderie.

PADI Dive Centers and Resorts hosted more than 884 events in 85 countries last year for the third annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on 15 July 2017. Since the 2015 inaugural event, the celebration has continued to gain momentum as new and experienced divers gear up for everything from high tea on the high seas to shark dives and underwater cleanups. As a result, PADI female certifications increased noticeably year over year.

This was possible thanks to the enthusiasm and participation from PADI Members around the world who got behind this initiative. Let’s do it again for 2018, only bigger. More new divers. More ambassadors for the underwater world.

Participate in PADI Women’s Dive Day 2018 to strengthen and grow the female dive community, attract new women to the sports of scuba diving and freediving, and motivate existing female divers to get back in the water and continue their dive training.


Start planning your 2018 PADI Women’s Dive Day event on 21 July 2018 using these simple steps. 

  1. Decide what type of event to host. The type of event to host is completely up to you! Whether you conduct PADI Women’s Dive Day themed courses, have a family-oriented open day, host fun dives or even a girls’ night out with your divers, only your imagination limits your event.
  2. PADI Retail and Resort Members, register your event on the PADI Women’s Dive Day Event Locator. By registering your event, your dive center/resort will be included on the Event Locator at padi.com/women-dive.  To register your event, ensure you are logged into the Pros’ Site with your PADI Dive Center or Resort account (not an Individual Member account), go to ‘My Account’ page of the PADI Pros’ Site, and click on ‘Register your Women’s Dive Day event(s)’. Follow the on-screen instructions to quickly and easily add your event.
  3. PADI Professionals hosting an event not affiliated with a dive center/resort are encouraged to share their event information with their regional PADI office (PADI Americas: womendive@padi.com; PADI Asia Pacific: marketing@padi.com.au; PADI EMEA: marketing.emea@padi.com).
  4. Promote your event. Use different platforms to help get the word out about your event – email, social media, advertisements (print, online and in-store), and event calendars. Be sure to tag your social posts with #padiwomen to be part of the global conversation.
  5. Post Event Follow-Up. Follow up with all your PADI Women’s Dive Day event participants afterward. A simple “thanks for being with us” keeps divers engaged and encourages them to continue diving with you. Don’t forget to include links, telephone and a call to action. And be sure your success stories and photos with the marketing team at your PADI Regional Headquarters! Tag event photos that you post on social media with #padiwomen to feed into PADI’s social channels.

PADI Retail and Resort Members: Register your 2018 PADI Women’s Dive Day event now! 

Interview: PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem

Zoona Naseem

Zoona Naseem is only the second Maldivian to have attained the rank of PADI Course Director, and the country’s first female to do so. She is the owner of Moodhu Bulhaa Dive Centre in Villingili Island, just 10 minutes away from the capital, and is passionate about getting young people diving. Here she shares her PADI journey, discusses what it’s like to be at the top of a male-dominated industry, and advises instructors on the best way to become a CD.

 What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?

I spent the first few years of my life in a small island in Noonu Atoll in the north of the Maldives, so I was always in the ocean as a child. I learnt how to swim at the same time I learnt how to walk. When I did my first dive at 17, honestly, I found it so easy that I thought to myself ‘Why isn’t everyone doing this? And why are there no female instructors?’ I think I knew after that first dive that I was going to become a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Course Director?

I did my IDC when I was 18, straight after leaving school, so I’ve been a PADI Pro for my entire adult life. One of my first jobs was at a resort called Sun Island Resort & Spa and the dive centre was one of the busiest in the country at that time. It was like a dive factory! I got to teach every day and I really developed my skills as a teacher. Of course, later I learnt managerial skills as a dive centre manager but it’s my teaching skills that I am continually improving as I move up the ranks.

What will it mean to the Maldives to have its first female Course Director?

In the Maldives, there are still very few women working in the tourism industry, and I feel that this is down to a lot of lingering misconceptions about resorts amongst Maldivians. But in reality, resorts are fantastic places to work for women. You get exposed to so many different cultures, you save everything you earn and there are lots of opportunities for travel and training. So I think that with a female PADI Course Director working in the country, I can show people what a fantastic industry we are a part of, and what you can achieve as a PADI instructor. My greatest hope is that more women will follow my example, and I have set a personal goal to have two female Maldivian instructors working in my dive centre.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in your diving career?

Becoming a Course Director. It was a long journey to get here, and I didn’t really even believe it was possible until recently. Nobody ever told me that this was an option for me! So it definitely feels like a big achievement. And my other greatest achievement, the thing that gives me great happiness, is seeing so many of my students now owning their own dive centres. They are leaders in the Maldivian dive industry, and I’m extremely proud of them.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?

On a personal level, when I’m diving, I get a sense of peace and happiness that I can’t find out of the water. There’s nothing in the world like diving. But as a diver, I also have the chance to be an advocate for our environment, to be a marine ambassador, and that’s a privilege.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?

When I was working for Banyan Tree International, I was managing five dive centres, plus five water sports centres – so it was a real challenge. And at first, managing all those male employees proved a little tricky. They found it hard to accept a local female as their leader, but I didn’t give up! With a little patience and perseverance, the team soon saw that I knew what I was doing.

Do you believe PADI instructors change others’ lives through diving?

For sure! When you take someone underwater for the first time, they will always remember you. One of my strongest memories was of taking a blind student diving. He simply wanted to experience how it felt to be underwater; to be weightless. We have the chance to create amazing experiences for people, and to educate them about our fragile underwater ecosystems.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?

Well in the Maldives, it’s pretty easy to convince people, because the best of this country is underwater. There’s not a boring second when you’re diving, and it’s extremely safe. Actually, being underwater is much safer than walking in the busy roads of our capital city!

PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem

What does “Be Best. Be PADI” mean to you?

 It’s simple. PADI is the best diving organisation in the world; there is no comparison. PADI changes lives!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become PADI Course Directors?

 I would always encourage instructors to keep moving ahead, and to explore opportunities to increase their training, knowledge and experience. I tell everyone that becoming a PADI Course Director is an option open to them, you just have to work towards it.

What did you enjoy most about completing the PADI Course Director training?

The trainers were without doubt the best part of the course. Their presentations were so entertaining and creative that I honestly never lost focus. And just getting the chance to meet these incredible divers from all over the world and to work on group assignments with them was so enjoyable.

And lastly, what’s your favourite dive site in the Maldives?

Oh, that’s a hard question but I think I’ve got to say Embudu Express, which is a channel that we often visit with our dive centre. There can be dozens of sharks, huge schools of eagle rays, and abundant fish life. But every dive is different, and it depends on how you dive!

 

PADI Women’s Dive Day in Egypt

On Behalf of PADI EMEA, I would like to THANK all PADI Dive Resorts and PADI Professionals in Egypt who participated in the 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day.

Aim of the event is to convert a “male-dominated” diving industry into a more modern and up-to-date one, where women should make up half of all certifications!

Here some examples on how PADI Diving Resorts in Egypt helped in achieving the goal:

Blue Ocean                                                                                                                      Organized a ladies only day diving followed by an evening party with live music and fire show.

Circle Divers                                                                                                            Organized two ladies only dives from the shore with a special lunch break in a picturesque location followed by an evening BBQ at the diving center.Dive Point Red Sea                                          Divers United (Elite Diving)                     Organized a ladies full day diving                       Organized a “Safari dress up day!”              from the boat (with an intruder).                          The theme was 60’s flower power!            

Euro-Divers                                                                                                                   Organized two ladies only dives from the shore enriched by a welcome drink before the dives, special lunch break and cake party afterwards.

H2O Divers                                                                                                                        Organized a ladies only clean up dive followed by BBQ at night.

Idive Diving Centers                                                                                                    Organized a ladies only DSD Day.

Panorama Divers                                                                                                               Organized a ladies only full day diving garnished by delicious food on the boat and live entertainment. Here above, participants performing “Women Dive Day” underwater choreography!

Pharaoh Dive Club                                                                                                            Organized a ladies only reef/beach clean up as well as invited local Egyptian ladies to try snorkeling and/or diving.

Wonderful Dive                                                                                                      Organized (in cooperation with the hotel) several activities including: shore diving, DSDs, snorkeling trip and raffle.

This was a great day for everyone to help strengthen and grow the female dive community, attract new women to the sports of scuba diving and freediving, and motivate existing female divers to get back in the water and continue their dive training!

Take part in the third annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on Saturday, 15 July 2017

For the past two years, divers from every corner of the globe have come together for PADI Women’s Dive Day to bond over their love of the ocean and a passion for diving. This growing tradition will continue on 15 July 2017, further strengthening and supporting the female dive community through a day of fun, adventure and camaraderie.

PADI Dive Centers and Resorts hosted more than 700 events in 77 countries last year for the second annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on 16 July 2016. Since the 2015 inaugural event, the celebration has continued to gain momentum as new and experienced divers gear up for everything from high tea on the high seas to shark dives and underwater cleanups. As a result, PADI female certifications increased noticeably in both 2015 and 2016, narrowing the gender gap in diving.

This was possible thanks to the enthusiasm and participation from PADI Members around the world who got behind this initiative. Let’s do it again, only bigger. More new divers. More ambassadors for the underwater world.

Participate in PADI Women’s Dive Day 2017 to strengthen and grow the female dive community, attract new women to the sports of scuba diving and freediving, and motivate existing female divers to get back in the water and continue their dive training.

Start planning your 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day event on 15 July 2017 using these simple steps.

1. Decide what type of event to host. The type of event to host is completely up to you! Whether you conduct PADI Women’s Dive Day themed courses, have a family-oriented open day, host fun dives or even a girls’ night out with your divers, only your imagination limits your event.

2. PADI Retail and Resort Members, register your event on the PADI Women’s Dive Day Event Locator. By registering your event, your dive center/resort will be included on the Event Locator at padi.com/women-dive.  To register your event, ensure you are logged into the Pros’ Site with your PADI Dive Center or Resort account (not an Individual Member account), go to ‘My Account’ page of the PADI Pros’ Site, and click on ‘Register your Women’s Dive Day event(s)’. Follow the on-screen instructions to quickly and easily add your event.

3. PADI Professionals hosting an event not affiliated with a dive center/resort are encouraged to share their event information with their regional PADI office (PADI Americas: womendive@padi.com; PADI Asia Pacific: marketing@padi.com.au; PADI EMEA: marketing.emea@padi.com).

4. Promote your event. Use different platforms to help get the word out about your event – email, social media, advertisements (print, online and in-store), and event calendars. Visit the PADI Pros’ Site Women in Diving page to download customizable PADI Women’s Dive Day marketing materials. Tag your Twitter posts with #padiwomen to have your news shared in the Twitter Feed on padi.com/women-dive.

5. Post Event Follow-Up. Follow up with all your PADI Women’s Dive Day event participants afterward. A simple “thanks for being with us” keeps divers engaged and encourages them to continue diving with you. Don’t forget to include links, telephone and a call to action. And be sure your success stories and photos with the marketing team at your PADI Regional Headquarters! Tag event photos that you post on social media with #padiwomen to feed into PADI’s social channels.

PADI Retail and Resort Members: Register your 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day event now!