MALDIVES DIVING HOLIDAYS

Life beneath the surface in the Maldives is an underwater Disneyland, perfect for dive enthusiasts. The Maldives is renowned as one of the very best diving locations in the world. There’s not only an abundance of reef life here but also spectacular coloured coral and crystal clear water.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

WHY CHOOSE THE MALDIVES FOR YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY?

The Maldives ticks all of the boxes when it comes to diving holidays. This tropical location boasts visibility levels of up to 40 meters, making it a great destination for advanced divers. However diving in the Maldives is not just for the experienced. The shallow lagoons and channels make it the perfect location to try diving for the very first time. Plus what better destination in the world is there to gain your scuba-diving certifications?

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

The Maldives is also home to protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The presence of currents in this island nation means that open water channels are perfect for drift diving and it’s also possible to swim with gentle ocean giants like manta rays and whale sharks. Don’t forget the Maldives has year round water temperatures of 26 – 29 degrees Celsius!

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR DIVING IN THE MALDIVES

Fortunately, the diving season in the Maldives is open all year round with the calmest conditions from December through to June. As the Maldives is located in the tropics, it is susceptible to both wet and dry seasons. June to November is the south-west monsoon season, bringing with it with overcast and wet conditions, especially in June and July. During these months expect slightly less visibility and different currents, although there is still plenty of marine life on offer, as well as sunny spells. Generally reef life is more varied and visibility is better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and on the eastern side from December to April. Reef sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks are found in the Maldives year round, along with manta rays and sea turtles, you just need to know where to head at the time of year you plan to dive!

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

DIVING OPTIONS

There are a number of diving options when it comes to Maldives. For example at Secret Paradise, value for money diving holidays and tours will be offered that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy an all-inclusive guesthouse stay and be transferred by boat to incredible nearby dive sites, the same sites that you would dive from a resort but at half the cost! Our diving holidays are an affordable alternative to a resort stay and also allow you the flexibility of island hopping or if your budget is larger, atoll hopping to benefit from the best dive locations during your time of travel.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

Liveaboards are a popular dive holiday option, allowing you to scour the waters for the ultimate dive spot each day. These days most Liveaboards operate a year round schedule offering 7 night, 10 night and 14 night cruises not only in the central atolls but to the deep south and deep north offering opportunities to discover less dived sites and pristine coral.

SECRET PARADISE DIVING HOLIDAYS

 Secret Paradise, offers six diverse one island based diving packages, all in different atolls allowing you access to what are some of the best dive sites in the world. Our packages include Dharavandhoo, perfect if you want to encounter 100s of manta rays in Baa Atoll, Hulhumale if you need to stay close to the capital, Maafushi, South Male Atoll, Dhigurah home of the whale shark in Ari Atoll, Rasdhoo, the ideal location to spot a hammerhead and Gan in Laamu atoll.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Boutique Beach

Our island hopping itineraries in Male Atoll and Ari Atoll allow you to discover a range of dive sites and marine life whilst at the same time experiencing Maldives local life, tradition and culture, with or without a private dive guide.

DIVE TEAMS

All partners of secret Paradise are PADI affiliated dive centers and are operated by both local and European dive professionals. A personal interest is taken in promoting scuba diving in the Maldives, through education and awareness about the underwater environment here. Their objective is to encourage underwater conservation and safe diving practices

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Dives are generally conducted from the beach within an island’s inner reef for beginners or from a local dive boat, a dhoni, for certified divers. Dive sites are chosen daily based on both the weather and current conditions as well as diver ability.

The teams will take you to the best dive spots and willingly introduce you to the characteristics of the underwater world of the Maldives. All offer boat dives, NITROX, night dives and a full range of PADI courses and will always ensure you get the best out of your dive. If you are learning to dive, you can do anything from completing a try dive or just the open water dive section of your PADI Open Water certification to completing the full PADI Open Water certification. Whatever you choose to do you can be assured of fun and safe diving with us and our partners.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Secret Paradise Co-Founder, Ruth Franklin a diver herself with over 1500 dives in the Maldives is always happy to share her own diving experiences and is on hand for honest dive advice.

About Secret Paradise

Since 2012 Secret Paradise has been at the forefront of the Maldives local island tourism industry, promoting and supporting guesthouses, dive centres and activity operators based on locally inhabited islands throughout the Maldives archipelago. Offering group and private tours or independent travel packages, Secret Paradise holidays are designed to allow guests to engage with local people and experience the best from a paradise generally known as a luxury resort destination.

Responsible Tourism plays a very large part in what we do. We are mindful of ensuring we promote local tourism in line with Maldivian culture and beliefs and through education of both guests and locals we aim to protect the environment and limit where ever possible any negative impact to local life. We partner NGOs such as Save the Beach and marine charity organisations such as Maldives Whaleshark Research Program to provide opportunities for our guests to learn and support local conservation initiatives.

The benefit of travelling with us is that Secret Paradise guarantees you prompt and efficient personal service. We deliver high standards of service and professionalism and you can rely on Secret Paradise to provide expert local knowledge, clear communication and honest advice.

www.secretparadise.mv

Pro-Level Continuing Education

Written by John Kinsella

It’s at the very heart of the PADI® System and instinctively you know it’s important. You make a point of letting all the divers you work with know about continuing education: Open Water Diver is just the beginning, Advanced Open Water Diver is not for advanced divers, it’s to advance divers, Rescue Diver is the obvious next step and so on. Promoting diver level continuing education is second nature for dive pros. But do you practice what you preach? Professional-level continuing education is, if anything, even more important. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Continuing education benefits both dive businesses and dive pros. Businesses thrive on highly skilled, specialized and cross functional staff who have the skills to perform a variety of duties and teach a broad range of courses. Dive pros with those skills position themselves well for promotions and equip themselves to compete effectively in the job market. Simply put, they’ll get better jobs and their employer will have a more valuable employees.PADIDiveShop_0513_0204
  2. Perhaps an even greater benefit for dive professionals is that continuing education encourages finding and using the best tools and techniques available at any given time, and to realize that these tools and techniques will change over time. This attitude is increasingly important in the face of consistent technological advances and increased competition for jobs. Crucially, it helps dive businesses stay relevant to emerging markets that expect, and demand, technologically savvy instructors.
  3. Another continuing education benefit may be more abstract, but is no less important: It’s a powerful way for dive pros to acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge and to improve their problem-solving skills. This is an essential arrow in every dive professional’s quiver. Things change, issues crop up, but the well educated and well prepared PADI Pro is equipped to avoid or solve problems before they become something worse.
  4. Finally, it’s just fun. There is no better cure for a mild dose of the “same old same old” than an immersive experience in something new and exciting. Nothing benefits a dive business more than a refreshed dive pro.

 

3Q17 Training Bulletin Live

The Third Quarter Training Bulletin Live webinars are coming soon. As always, we will be discussing the latest standards changes, providing background information on the updates and insight into how these can be integrated into your training.

Join us live in your chosen language on the dates below. If you miss the live event, registration will ensure that you get a follow up email linking you to the recording.

3rd Quarter:

English: 26/07/2017

Spanish: 27/07/2017

Italian: 28/07/2017

Arabic: 31/07/2017

French: 01/08/2017

German: 02/08/2017

Portuguese: 03/08/2017

Russian: 03/08/2017

Dutch: 07/08/2017

Polish: 08/08/2017

Scandinavian/Nordic: 10/08/2017

If you have any questions regarding the webinar you can email training.emea@padi.com. We look forward to speaking to you during the webinar.

Join a 2017 PADI Advanced Training Academy

REGISTER NOW to take part in a 2017 PADI Advanced Training Academy

This exciting, informative and highly interactive one day program for PADI Divemasters (and above) continues to gather momentum as more and more PADI Pros take part. By registering for this action-packed program PADI Pros will gain new, refreshed and refined knowledge and skills, ultimately energizing them to drive their diving businesses forward.

Don’t take our word for it though, read what a 2016 Academy attendee thought of the program. 

Featuring both classroom and in-water components, the PADI Advanced Training Academy will improve PADI Pros’ individual expertise and encourage networking opportunities. Attendance also provides credit for Master Instructor and CDTC applications. See below for workshop information. *Topics and workshops are changed and updated at intervals to ensure the program remains current

Classroom Workshop

  • What’s new for 2017
  • Project AWARE 
  • Instructor Specialty or Safety Seminar 
  • Risk Management Workshop       

 

 

 

In-Water Workshop

  • Rescue Exercise #7 – technique, kit handling, airway, use of barrier 
  • Loose Cylinder Band
  • 5 Point Descent without contact with the bottom
  • CESA – why we teach CESA and how to improve our teaching methods of these skills

 

REGISTER NOW to take part in a 2017 PADI Advanced Training Academy!

Further programs will be scheduled throughout the year. If you have any questions please contact id.emea@padi.com 

 

PADI Continuing Education – Specialty Courses

Since you started diving, I´m sure you heard your Instructor saying, at least once a day, that it is important to continue your education. I´m sure you did – otherwise you would not have become a PADI Professional… But what is Continuing Education and why is it so important for yourself and the diving Industry in general? If you are familiar with the PADI system, you should know and understand that the continuing Education is the backbone of the PADI System.

 

 

Are you already a Specialty Instructor?

The Power of Continuing Education (CON-ED)

The power of the PADI system of diver education is its diversity in courses

  • From entry level all the way up to professional
  • All are standardized
  • Aim is to improve specific skills
  • Specialization improves the market value
  • Enough choices for everybody

It adds variety in teaching… Which means that you are not only stuck with the core course like the PADI Open Water Course, the PADI Advanced Open Water course or the PADI Rescue course. It connects in the same time to the interest of the student and improves the skills and therefore the safety of the divers.

Specialty courses can create different tracks to follow; For example it can add-on sales of diving equipment, or it will open a road to the PADI Master Scuba Diver certification.

It is essential that an Instructor in these days can offer various Specialty courses.

How many Specialty Certifications do you have?

What if I tell you that Specialties are the reason to become very successful in the diving industry? The more specialties you can teach and the more languages you can bring into a new position for a Dive Center – the more valuable you will become in the whole industry.

I can only highly recommend that you follow the Specialty Instructor Training! It will certainly build up your confidence and it will give you new insights. The more specialties you offer, the bigger your income can grow!

 

It shows to the Dive Center owner and to PADI that you understand the PADI philosophy – and together with the new Elite Instructor program – it will also be recognized by PADI.

How can you apply to become a PADI Specialty Instructor?

There are two ways to obtain the Specialty ratings:

  • The first is completing a PADI Specialty Instructor course with a PADI Course Director. This reduced the number of dives you must have – 10 versus 20 – showing experience in the specialty area.
  • If you already have the experience (min. 20 logged dives), you can apply directly to your PADI Regional Headquarters. You will find on the PADI Prosite the Specialty Instructor Application.

To summarize – If you offer a variety of courses – this will have a direct impact in your Dive Center.

Why?

Specialty certifications have a direct impact on equipment sales, because the courses are creating a demand for new equipment and it also triggers the lust for more adventure. At the end of the day you will have more satisfied customers and happier staff.

To push the PADI Continuing Education courses is the foundation for success! Because your Customers are always aiming for new experiences and challenges.

Check out the newest challenges for 2017

PADI Elite Instructor

2017 – MSD My PADI Challenge

 

 

What does your business image say?

Professional image:

One of the things I love most about working in the diving industry is that my 3 piece suit hasn’t seen the light of day for some time, save for the odd wedding and funeral. But does that mean that you can dress however you’d like? Professional image is important and there is a huge weight of Psychology studies which limit first impressions to the microsecond. This means that despite how informal the workplace, how you and your business are perceived has an impact. This tenth of second reaction effects someone’s judgment on your competency, trustworthiness, and professionalism. Once someone has formed that First impression it is very difficult to change their mind. Those Companies that provide both a professional image and another fundamental aspect of your business, quality service, not only attract buy also retain customers.

In my role as Regional Manager, I am constantly on the road, at dive sites, working with professionals which in turn means I get to see numerous dive centres and businesses around the globe. There is a marked difference in those that present their business in a professional way and others, who sometimes leave me wondering who’s a customer or the employee.

I am not suggesting that you impose a uniform but moreover if you have not already done so start to think about your corporate identity. If shabby chic, hipster, city worker or chain store is the image you are going for then make sure that you make it part of your overall business image, by this I mean the way your shop, website, marketing present itself down to the clothing you and your team wears.

Brand identity:

As a business owner, it is important to take some time to sit down and identify your Brand. What is it that makes you different, there are a lot of dive businesses out there, but what is yours to you? Once you know that you can start to build your own Brand. Brand identity primary means the way you communicate your corporate identity by your branding. Yes, I did mean corporate identity in diving, you are a professional at the end of the day and there is no shame in earning money by doing something, even if you love doing it.

I am willing to bet you already have a Logo but what about a slogan and mission statement? Once you get it right your brand becomes synonymous with the product, regardless of the company that makes it. PADI, for example, is the way the world learns to dive for a reason. Many companies are known from just their logos and some of the most successful companies are identifiable from just a colour scheme or collection of sounds.

One thing I like to see is when a team stands out at often crowded dive sites. When your team is visible there is no doubt for your customers on who they can approach for help. If you or your team is not clear then perhaps someone else’s is and that company inadvertently pick up your customers.

Cert of completion

As PADI has regional managers (RM) who are here to help we can work with you on your branding, website and professional image. If you feel that you have already put the effort in why not ask for a Professional Image Evaluation from your RM.

 

Fourth Element:

PADI has also teamed up with Fourth Element to help with gaining some form of identity for both your business and your customers. For help with a Bespoke Clothing Enquiry click on this link and enter your details http://fourthelement.com/padi/. 

If you feel you would like to start from the beginning then get in touch as PADI is here to help. perhaps it could be something as simple as your Logo needs some revamping, there is a host of services out there and as RMs we can help point you in some directions.

Deptherapy, diving rehabilitation in Egypt

As PADI Regional Manager in charge of Egypt, I had the privilege to become involved in Deptherapy’s largest ever and most successful programme yet.During mid-May, 12 wounded Veterans took part in the Deptherapy programme at Pharaoh Dive Club – The Roots Luxury Camp, which thanks to the owners (Steve and Clare) has become the point of reference for Deptherapy in Egypt. These armed forces veterans suffering from life-changing mental and/or physical injuries, enrolled onto different PADI courses: some were certified as Open Water Divers, some as Advanced Open Water, some others as Deep Specialty Divers and all became EANX divers.

Deptherapy is a UK based charity, using scuba diving to rehabilitate veterans afflicted by both mental and physical disabilities. Deptherapy aims through adaptive teaching to qualify such individuals wherever possible as PADI divers and able to dive anywhere in the world (with the only support of their dive buddy – without extra personnel needed).Veterans – wounded in service – also assisted in the training programme as Instructors and Divemasters. The teaching team included PADI Ambassadiver, Chris Middleton, who lost both legs in Afghanistan and has subsequently worked through the Deptherapy programme from Open Water to Divemaster and is now aiming to become a PADI Instructor. Dr Richard Cullen, founder and chairman of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education also ran a Deptherapy Education Instructor Training Course, where in status Divemasters and Instructors can become qualified in Adaptive Teaching for the physically and mentally challenged diver.As a spectator, I was lucky to attend sections of each course: I assisted Confined and Open water dives of Open Water students,  dived with the students on their PADI Advanced Open Water and Specialty courses, attended and practiced  the ‘adaptive training’ delivered by Richard!

 

…and I even managed to run a presentation on the PADI continuing education philosophy together with Chris Middleton.

The audience was inspired by our words and the majority of OWD completed the AOWD in the next days. Some of the newly certified divers are willing to progress even further, motivated not only by Chris but also by Andy Searle, a motivated diver who lost both legs during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, who is now working through his Divemaster Course.

 

It was an incredible experience to watch these ex-military personnel participate in their PADI courses, many diving for the first time and really enjoying it! Once in the water, it was truly awe-inspiring to see that the words “I can’t” don’t exist in Deptherapy.  Watching the injured Veterans repeating skills, working as a team, showing that there are no limitations, made me quickly understand why Deptherapy’s slogan is ‘Mission Possible!’

There are many ways to get involved with Deptherapy including training, fundraising, donating. They’re a charity and couldn’t continue their work without your help, so if you’d like to get involved please get in touch with Richard Cullen.

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit their website at www.deptherapy.co.uk.

[ Photo credits: Dmitry Knyazev ]

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Stefano Busca, PADI Course Director

Stefano Busca, PADI Course Director, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

We spoke to Stefano to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?                                                                     I have always loved outdoor sports and my dream has always been to work in the sports industry. When I became a scuba diver and started meeting positive people, I immediately knew that this was going to be my chance to fulfil my dream.

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?                                                            Today, many people are attracted by scuba diving in order to escape the daily routine and the usual problems and commitments in their lives. I think that a successful instructor should be in the position to offer as many scuba diving activities as possible (recreational, specialties and Tec) in order to meet the customers’ needs and desires. Personally, I did exactly this!

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?                                 Now, I can teach almost all the specialties with open circuit. I like diving and teaching in all environments; my favourites, however, are deep and wreck, especially on a recreational technical setup. The TecRec programs offer both the instructor and the client a chance to dive in an environment accessible to few, a sort of scuba diving elite group, where the technical preparation and personal fitness are vital.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?            Becoming a PADI Course Director! Having the possibility to pass on my passion, while training not only students but also instructors, is definitely the biggest reward.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?                                                Diving gives me the possibility to escape from my daily life, to enter an environment where interacting with the underwater life is so intense that everything else disappears. An escape from reality!

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?                                                                                       The commitment to get where I am now has been considerable. The PADI educational system, however, is very efficient and systematic at every level. You just need to believe in what you are doing and focus. You will succeed!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?                                     Absolutely! People discover an extraordinary and exciting activity. Lately, more and more students get into scuba diving with an eye to becoming professionals; many become instructors to work full time in scuba diving. To date, I have trained instructors that are working in the most beautiful locations in the world: Red Sea, Maldives, Micronesia, etc.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?                                                                                                                                  There is a very effective video, on the internet, showing the difference between the life of an employee and that of a scuba diving instructor. The morning wake up and the daily routine in the city, for the employee, the beach and the sea for the instructor. In a few minutes you have the best representation of what is the scuba diving lifestyle.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?                                                                                     Being an Elite Instructor is definitely a great recognition for the work done and an incentive to improve. In 2016, I issued over 200 certifications: this is hard to beat. But the important thing is to always do your best, without focusing too much on one objective; if you do your job the best you can, you will always achieve some new, important objectives.

What does “My PADI” mean to you?                                                                             For me, My PADI is a lifestyle, a chance to make dreams come true! One of my favourite quotes is: if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?   I would tell them to always work to the best of their abilities, following the standards and procedures unique to the best scuba diving training agency in the world… PADI!

 

 

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director

Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Ocean Turtle Diving, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

We spoke to Kerrie to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her, as well as learning about her achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?                                                                     I learnt to dive in the 90’s and was surrounded by male divers.  I felt, even then that more women should get into diving, both at recreational and professional level.  I loved the challenge of proving myself in this dive environment, so after my PADI Rescue Diver course I decided to become a PADI Divemaster, and the rest is history!

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?                                                                 My journey has been so much fun and quite literally life changing.  As a PADI Divemaster, I moved to Spain and started working as a dive guide and eventually became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. I decided I wanted to stay in the dive industry, so when my local dive centre went up for sale, I bought it!  So professionally I have progressed to become a PADI Course Director and dive centre owner, and I have never felt so alive and challenged.

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?                                   I love teaching the PADI Rescue Diver course as it’s such a positive experience for the participants and I love watching them grow in confidence.  I also love teaching Instructor Development Courses as I get share the instructor candidates’ highs and lows and really make a difference.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?                   Achieving my PADI Course Director in 2016 is my greatest achievement in diving – closely followed by turning around a failing dive centre into the rip roaring success that Ocean Turtle Diving is today.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?                                                   Peace.  I have two young children and a very busy and demanding business with many staff and customers.  When I dive I get time to myself – peace, tranquillity, relaxation and space.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?                                                                                         My greatest challenge was, and still is, time.  With a young family it’s hard to carve out enough time to teach, to run the business, to expand the business, to enjoy fun diving and to be mum and wife!  I often work 7 days a week, but I try and chop out segments on many of those days to spend time with my family.  Luckily my husband is great and very tolerant of me and my passion!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?                              Undoubtedly, but I wouldn’t dream of taking credit for that!  The divers are the ones who have taken action and are changing their lives for the better.  Ocean Turtle’s Missions Statement is “Changing Lives and Making Dreams Come True” – it’s emblazoned on the wall of the dive centre and we do our best to live up to it every day.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?
I would never convince someone who doesn’t want to learn to dive that they should BUT I do always spend time getting to know someone and to find out what they are interested in.  From that, there is normally something in their life (photography, exploration, travel, history etc..) that they are passionate about and that can be satiated in a new and interesting way by doing it underwater!

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?      
It’s very humbling.  I don’t feel that I do more or less than the guys and girls around me – we have a great team at Ocean Turtle and we all work very hard. This year we are on track for at least 4 of us getting this prestigious award – which I am super proud of.  To me it shows that even if the industry isn’t basking in the glory days, you can still give a great service and add true value. There are still plenty of people out there who want to learn to dive and crucially want to keep diving and expanding their knowledge.

What does “My PADI” mean to you?                                                                                To me PADI is a big supportive and protective arm around me – I am fortunate to have an amazing team who encourage me, push me, challenge me and support me.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?                                                                                                                        It’s not about numbers.  Concentrate on giving each and every student / candidate / customer / diver a great experience, the benefit of your time and experience, and the rest will fall into place by itself.