Why and how did you become a PADI Diver?
My story begins back in 2008 in Manchester, UK, when I was completing my undergraduate degree in Tourism. Wanting a break to seek out the sun and sand, I headed to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. It was here that I first encountered the underwater world by way of a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience, which was truly life changing. I went back in 2009 where I completed the PADI Open Water course. Going on to complete my PADI Divemaster course rating in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2011 I then spent a full 12 months working as a Divemaster and underwater photographer back in Sharm.
I am now a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, focused on educating and teaching women to learn to dive within Saudi.
What does PADI mean to you?
Passion, fun, education, life changing, community, adventure and family.
What does it mean to you to be a female diver?
To me, being a female diver means the world. Becoming a diver in a conservative society, where all sports are dominated by men, was a huge challenge for me. Many females reject this incredible sport because it involves men teaching them how to dive.
I built a female training group specifically to train and educate women about the importance of the sea and the environment. When you dive you see how many different types of creatures are living together in a uniquely balanced ecosystem. We must not spoil it. Diving empowers me and heightens my sense of responsibility towards the environment in general. I have trained many female divers, and there are more on the waiting list. They are happy to see a female instructor that teaches them about the importance of the sea and why we should dive.
What is your favourite dive site?
Shark & Yolanda Reef in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt!
What’s your dream dive?
A dive full of sharks in the Galapagos!
What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving?
The scuba diving sector is growing, especially with the current movement of woman empowerment around the world. However, the major challenge is fear of the ocean, which we are working on by increasing awareness about the beauty of underwater world and sharing experiences with other females through word of mouth and social media.
How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?
I believe diving is a meditation sport, it can heal the souls, and many from our community of females diver’s agree with this. Once you are underwater you disconnect from the busy world by diving into the blue and connecting with nature. Females need to understand the magical and breath-taking experience that wasn’t easily available before. With the growing number of empowered females who are looking for new adventures and activities, it’s our duty to take part of this change and motivate them to join the underwater world.
Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?
Choosing a diving career means that you do what you love and love what you do! The more dives you make with different instructors and the more skills and experiences you gain. Sadly, many movies have shown the negative side of the sea, making sharks the ultimate enemy underwater. We must show the positive side of the sea to newbies by becoming ocean ambassadors, so they can appreciate the underwater environment more.