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.