Hussain Rasheed, better known as Sendi, became a PADI Divemaster in 1986, an instructor in 1993 and Course Director in 2000. 2016 is his 30th year as a PADI member and he continues to teach regularly concentrating primarily on teaching PADI Professionals. Sendi is the Managing Director of diveOceanus Group.
He also created and organised the Maldives Underwater cabinet meeting – an amazing event where the President of the Maldives went diving and they held an underwater cabinet Meeting.
Sendi was the operations manager for a dive that lasted 24hrs and involved 350 divers, as well as a Dive for Diabetic, involving 300 divers raising awareness of Diabetes.
Sendi has given many presentations at local schools sharing his love and knowledge of the local environment and ensuring that the next generation understands its importance both to the Maldivian economy and place in their hearts and souls. In this same spirit he has spearheaded TV programs that expand that education to an even wider audience.
In recognition of his many efforts Sendi has received both the tourism award and presidential award, each one a major acknowledgement, but together they show his dedication and contribution over many years.
During the recent Boot Show in Düsseldorf, Germany, Matt Wenger, the newly appointed Regional Manager for the Maldives, caught up with Sendi to talk about his experience of being a PADI member for 30 years and his involvement in different marine conservation efforts in the Republic of Maldives.
PADI: Hello, Sendi! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. First of all, can we ask you to tell us more about yourself and where you’re from?
Sendi: Male’ – the capital city of the Maldives.
PADI: Sendi, you started diving at a very young age. When was this exactly – and do you remember your very first dive?
Sendi: I started diving in 1981. My first dive was the Victory wreck, in the Maldives – three days after it first sank.
PADI: You are the first and still, only Maldivian PADI Course Director. Do you recall your Course Director Training Course (CDTC), and are you able to share the particular moment you enjoyed most about the program?
Sendi: I enjoyed every moment – especially the evaluations. I can remember that my Open Water assessment was the CESA skill and the one and only Drew Richardson CEO and President of PADI was evaluating me.
PADI: What is the best bit about instructing divers or professional PADI Members?
Sendi: When teaching divers, it’s the satisfaction that they will become environmental ambassadors. So, for the Professionals… they will become the ambassador trainers. I enjoy every moment, on all levels, and have so many good memories.
PADI: The ocean is your office…what do you enjoy most about diving?
Sendi: Photography, without a doubt!
PADI: You have other business ventures, too. Can you explain for our readers what else you do?
Sendi: I’m an Executive Director for DiveOceanus, operating five PADI Dive Centers across four different atolls in the Maldives and taking care of 40 diving professionals.
I’m also an advisor and former Dean of the Faculty of Marine Studies and Water Sports, Villa College. There are four departments: Marine Science, Watersports, Scuba Diving and Marine Medicine – we accredit PADI courses within Villa College diploma and degree courses.
PADI: The protection of our oceans is a very important part of your life. What conservation efforts are you taking part in?
Sendi: I have been actively involved in the lobbying of all marine protected species and dive sites in the Maldives since I started scuba diving.
PADI: What are your tips for anyone traveling to the Maldives, and how they can make a difference in protecting this fragile Indian Ocean environment?
Sendi: Do not buy any souvenirs like corals, shark tooth, shark jaws etc. Also to raise their voice to “stop importing shark products into Europe”. Prior to the protections of sharks here in 2010, the Maldives shark fin was officially exported to many European countries (Maldives customs records). Now in the Maldives we have a black market as there are lot of buyers.
PADI: The Maldives are internationally known for some of the best diving experiences in the world. What particular underwater creature do you like most?
Sendi: Every creature is unique; colour, shape, patterns, size etc. Just being with all creatures and underwater for a few hours a day keeps me going!
PADI: I have noticed you like cats, and you have several yourself! What do cats mean to you?
Sendi: My family has learned to adapt and live with four generations of cats (from one family). This family also adapted to live with our family. There is too much to talk about the topic! Living with a family of around 20 cats, I have learned everything about nature more than underwater as you cannot live underwater.
PADI: Sendi thank you very much for your time and for sharing a little bit of both your professional and personal passions with us. I wish you the best of success in your future endeavours.
Sendi’s career path shows a deep love of the ocean that surrounds everyone who lives in the Maldives as well as a passion for sharing his knowledge with his fellow Madivians as well as visitors to the islands. His core values of being and teaching others to be ambassadors for the environment that we all love is one shared by PADI and, of course, Project Aware.
The Maldives is a truly amazing place and one of the most famous diving destinations in the world: from shallow water lagoons filled with delicate corals teeming with fish to the deeper waters and exciting drift dives, accessible only by boat, where divers encounter pelagics such as Manta Rays and Sharks, the Maldives have some of the best diving in the world. If you haven’t been yet, let me tell you, the hundreds of islands and liveaboards offer something for everyone and are an increasingly popular destination for dive schools and clubs. It will be the trip of a lifetime!
Learn more about the Maldives at Visit Maldives