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 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.

 

Tec Diving in UAE

The East Coast of UAE is mainly known, among divers, for the beauty of its recreational dives however, for those certified as PADI Tec Rec Divers, there are few hidden wrecks worth to visit!

 


Inchcape 1

Normally classified as recreational dive, this is also a great wreck for honing your Tec skills and/or ‘warming up’ when arriving on holiday or after a period of inactivity.
Inchcape 1 is tug boat that sits at 30m depth – just off the coast of Al Aqah; during the dive you will be pleased to encounter different sea creatures including, seahorses, frogfish, pufferfish. For Tec purposes, it is recommended not to dive during peak hours on a Friday and Saturday due to the high volume of divers.

Ines

The wreck can be classified as a dive for experienced Tech Divers as it requires the use of mixed gases and decompression.
The Ines was anchored 8 miles off Fujairah when an explosion and consequent fire occurred; the ship sank on August 9, 1999 and now sits upside-down at 72m on a sandy bottom.
The prop at 54 metres is the first part of the wreck you encounter during the dive and it is often rich in marine life like Jacks, tuna, rays, guitar sharks, hamour and – if you are lucky -Sun fish and Whale sharks!
The wreck offers numerous penetration opportunities in the holds, engine room and accommodation decks. The wreck can be extremely silty inside and the use of a line is a must for divers during any penetration.
This site is quite popular among the technical diving community in UAE therefore proper planning and coordination with other Technical divers it is highly recommended.
Additionally, when planning the dives, consider diving at slack tides as the currents can be very strong there.


Anita

Approximately 12 miles from Fujairah, the Anita’s wreck sits upright on a sandy seabed at 90 metres depth with the bridge – as the shallowest part – at 82 metres.
The Anita sank in 1997 after striking a mine. The explosion occurred behind the bow and below the bridge causing the bridge to bend forward at about 30 degrees.
The Anita was an oil field service vessel and, as such, has a very large and flat deck behind the bridge running all the way to the stern, engine exhausts are on each side of the deck about 2/3 from the bridge.
Penetration with diving equipment is limited to the bridge, no attempt (as far as we are aware) has been made to access the engine room due to the small access hatch and the extreme depth of this dive.
The wreck can be classified as a dive for experienced Tech Divers as it requires the use of mixed gases and decompression; on top of that the complexity of the dive can easily increase due to – hard to predict – currents found in the Arabian Sea below 80 metres.

 

U-Boat 533

The U-533 was sunk on 16th October, 1943 during its second patrol in the Arabian Gulf: the submarine spent approximately 10 days in the gulf and after passing Oman it was destroyed as the result of a surprise attack by a Royal British aircraft which dropped depth-charges on the U-Boat as it crashed-dived. Only two members of the crew succeeded in leaving the boat, and one of these, the First Lieutenant, did not survive. The U boat lies at 112 meters at approximately 25 nautical miles from the east coast of Fujairah. Due to its depth, logistic required and possible strong currents, this dive is only recommended to very experienced Tech Divers.

 

On top of the wrecks listed above, there are also some great reefs (between 40 and 50 meters) which deserve to be explored on a Tec rig, like for example Cauliflower Garden:  a sandy bottom surranded by scattered large teddy bear Cauliflower corals and populated by several marine species such as:  Razor Fish, Sole Flat Fish, Crocodile Fish and for macro lovers …white crabs!

If you are a PADI Tec Rec Diver willing to dive these wrecks or you are a recreational diver willing to venture into Tec Diving, get in contact with one of the PADI Tec Rec Centers in the area!

Follow this link : https://apps.padi.com/scuba-diving/dive-shop-locator/

Enter the location / click on ‘show search filters’ / select ‘Tec Center’

 

 

The Virtual Red Sea

PADI’s newest app makes diving the Red Sea even easier. And you don’t have to be a diver to do it.

By Tara Bradley Connell

Panorama

Thanks to the recent addition of the PADI® VR Scuba Planner, divers and non-divers alike can experience the underwater realms of the Red Sea. The PADI VR Scuba Planner, developed by I Love the Sea, is the newest addition to  I Love The Sea suite of virtual reality apps, featuring Red Sea experiences such as dive site tours, geo-positioning and route planning.   The real thrills come with the 360-degree views that give users virtual bottom time on some of the Red Sea’s most memorable dive sites, without ever getting wet.

Available on Apple and Android apps, the PADI VR Scuba Planner enables divers to plan 67 immersions in the Red Sea with tips and advice from PADI Pros in the area.  The geo-positioning and mapping feature allows for accurately planned dives accompanied by maps, photos, key information and illustrations to further assist with pre-dive planning. Each  dive site is also  shown in a 360 video, making it possible for each user to enjoy the dive from their mobile device in 360 or, to  maximize the experience,  through VR glasses.

The PADI VR Scuba Planner is available in eight languages and can be found here:

For Apple devices

For Android devices

Quality Management Tips from the Field

Quality Management Tips from the Field

Throughout 2018, we’d like to share tips from PADI staff in the field on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities. This month we heard from PADI Territory Director, Rich Somerset:

“We are blessed with a career that puts us in contact with the ocean – and the ocean demands our respect. Treat her with respect and she will give you a lifetime of adventures, but underestimate her at your peril. Remember: be prudent in your decision making, put your students’ safety above your ego and – if in doubt – stay out.”

The ocean is a truly awe-inspiring environment, and as divers we experience its benefits every time we enter the water. But as Rich says – the ocean also demands our respect.

All dive professionals should know their limits and will endeavour to stay well within them. This means having an even-handed grasp on the abilities of your students too. Use your judgement when assessing factors such as water conditions, ability of participants, your and your assistant’s personal limitations, and ratios etc.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • “Am I familiar with this dive site?”
  • “Can I expect bad visibility or perhaps strong currents?”
  • “Can I provide adequate assistance to all divers in the group?”

With all things considered, you as the dive professional have the ultimate responsibility for making the final decision as to whether to dive. If something goes wrong, the question likely to be asked is– “Should the divers have been in the water at that time, in that environment, in those conditions, with their experience?” In these instances, you, as the professional, may well be asked to defend your decision to dive.

Rich couldn’t be more right when he says “be prudent in your decision making, put your students’ safety above your ego and – if in doubt – stay out.”

Expand into Instructor Training

Helping new EFR instructor candidates to gain instructor level knowledge and skill and then pass that on through positive coaching to their own students is the role of the EFR Instructor Trainer. As an EFRIT your own skills will also be polished as you role model instructor level teaching. You’ll also consider opportunities outside your normal market as you guide instructors considering work in a wide range of environments.

If you would like to be an EFR Instructor Trainer you will need to:

  • Be an EFR Primary / Secondary Care Instructor
  • Be an EFR Care For Children Instructor
  • Have registered at least 25 EFR students

OR

  • Have conducted at least 5 separate EFR courses

And successfully complete an EFR Instructor Trainer Course. For dates and locations of these courses please click here.

Things you should know if you are travelling to the Maldives on a budget

Tourist Information

Unlike most destinations, don’t expect to find a tourist information center that will provide answers to all your questions. There is an Information Desk within the arrival area of the airport who are happy to point you in the right direction, assist you if you need to contact your accommodation provider and provide you an information booklet. They are not there, however, to organize accommodation, excursions or transfers. Once you arrive at your hotel, guesthouse or resort they will be able to offer advice on excursions and activities or check out Trip Advisor for local operators providing these services.

Transferring from the airport

Unlike other International Airports don’t expect to be able to hail a taxi as there is no taxi rank. If you have booked with a hotel, guesthouse or resort and provided them with your flight arrival details it is usual for them to send a representative to meet with you.

To reach Male independently you can choose to take the Airport Express Speedboat, the charge is MRF30 or US$2 for a one way transfer per person, leaving every 15 minutes. Or the airport public ferry, charge MRF10 or US$1 per person one way, leaving every 10 minutes. Both leave from the jetty opposite the Domestic Terminal. When you arrive in Male, just a 10 minute public ferry ride, you will be able to hail a taxi from the ferry terminal to your destination, guesthouse or hotel. A one stop drop regardless of distance is 25MVR plus an additional 5MVR per item of luggage.

To reach Hulhumale independently you can either enquire as to if a guesthouse vehicle has room on their return journey, the charge would usually be around US$10 one way or take the public bus. The airport bus departs every 30 minutes from the airport and Hulhumale on a 24 hour timetable. On the hour and on the half hour except on Fridays during Friday Prayer when there are no busses between the hours of 11:30 and 13:30. The charge is 20MVR per person one way and it is a journey of 15 minutes. Luggage is accepted and stored in the luggage compartment. At the airport the bus stop is located outside of the International departure area to the left of the food court as you face the ocean. In Hulhumale the bus stop is at the T Junction of Nirolhumagu and Huvandhumaa Higun.

Due to the location of the airport terminal it is not possible to walk to Hulhumale.

If you are transferring on to an island outside of the immediate capital area it is likely that transfer arrangements offered will include speedboat or for islands further afield a domestic flight. These methods will add a minimum of $25 per person one way dependent on distance and if the service is scheduled. Note the Maldives covers a distance of 800KM north to south. If you have done your homework it is possible to take a local ferry to many central atoll islands. These local ferries depart from one of a number of jetties in the capital Male so ensure you have allowed time to cross to the capital and locate the correct jetty.

Business Hours

It is important to know that the Maldives follows a business week from Sunday to Thursday. Most places are closed on a Friday until after Friday prayer. No public ferries operate on a Friday with the exception of those operating in the capital area between Male, Hulhumale and Villingili. These ferries also stop operation between 11:30 and 13:30 for Friday prayer.

The shops in the Maldives open at different times in the morning but usually before 09:00. Most shops close for prayer times for an interval of 15 minutes. The latest time for the shops to close business is 22:00 and cafes and restaurants 23:00.

 

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

2017 AWARE Week

We are excited to invite you to join the 2017 AWARE Week!  This event celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Project AWARE® and helps end the year with a celebration of our oceans through lots of positive actions including fundraising and ocean awareness events as well as having a whole lot of diving fun! In addition to supporting ocean conservation, it will also give you the opportunity to generate additional business.

Click here for the 2017 AWARE Week landing page to learn more about this event.  You will also find a link to download a Marketing Toolkit full of resources to help you get your event set up and to ensure it is a great success.

As part of 2017 AWARE Week, our goal is to set a record number of Project AWARE courses taught! To help you conduct these courses, you’ll find the all new Project AWARE Specialty Lesson Guides in the Marketing Toolkit, along with the latest copy of the Project AWARE Specialty Instructor Guide.  Remember, you can also download the optional student manual – “AWARE – Our World Our Water” free of charge.

In addition to running a Project AWARE course there are other ways to take part in the 2017 AWARE Week – think outside the box and have fun with your ocean protection!  Below are some ideas to kick start planning for this event:

  • Run some clean-ups in your area or at your local dive sites
  • Run some Project AWARE Courses, for example, Dive Against Debris® and AWARE Shark Conservation
  • Offer a free of charge Project AWARE course as part of a Master Scuba Diver package
  • Include the Dive Against Debris certification together with your Advanced Open Water courses
  • Hold a seminar or a talk for your Club members to give them further education and information on Project AWARE’s conservation work and how they can get involved
  • Put together some Christmas Goodie Stocking Fillers to sell and donate some of the profits to Project AWARE
  • Run a kids program, get them into the water for a Bubblemaker and get them excited about learning more about marine life and how they can be an Ocean Protector
  • Run a Social Media competition for the best photograph/video of marine life/example of debris in the water
  • Run a Social Media competition for the biggest fundraiser, possibly offer them a discount on equipment/servicing/next diving course/free dive centre t-shirt
  • Take on a fundraising challenge of your choice (cake sale, 5k run, etc.) and start your 2017 AWARE Week online fundraising page.

Be sure to promote this on all your Social Media platforms to show your divers what you are doing and how they can get involved. Use #2017AWAREWeek on your social media channels to collate your efforts and generate a great shout-out for Ocean Protection. To help you market your Project AWARE courses and events you will also find Facebook banners and email headers within the Marketing Toolkit.

We look forward to hearing about your plans for this event and are sure you will have a lot of fun with it too!

A PADI Divemaster Certification is just the Beginning

Working in a PADI Dive Center, Rescue Diver Lucy Crow not only gained her PADI Divemaster qualification but so much more.

“I started working with Ocean Turtle Diving doing some work experience. I had wanted to to do my PADI Divemaster for a while and decided that it was a great opportunity to start it with them. I must say that it was one of the best experiences of my diving life.

I am not a big reader most days, however, I started reading the Divemaster Manual and found it so interesting. If there were bits that I didn’t understand or had questions on, I knew that I would have the team’s full support to help me out.

It came to the theory exam day and because of my PADI Instructor’s support I felt confident about what I had learnt. I went in with a smile. We sat down as a group and went through the manual. There were three students there and we were all as happy as each other. We then completed the exam and all came out smiling. I could now focus on getting through the pool sessions and becoming fit enough to meet these performance requirements.

By January I had not only completed my PADI Divemaster course but also all of the training in the dive centre itself. I really enjoyed learning the ins and outs of how the dive centre ran and meeting new and exciting customers almost every day. There was always something new to learn.  I asked if I could continue to work there and was given an amazing opportunity for a Saturday job. Over six months later I am still working at the dive centre and love it.

Being a PADI Divemaster is not only about having professional level knowledge but also about being aware that people learning to dive may be nervous or scared. The best thing about working in the dive centre has been the staff and the customers combined. It is like my second family here. They have built up not only my knowledge of diving but my confidence overall.”