Why I love my job...

I've just finished teaching my latest SSI Open Water course and with a beaming smile handed over to an equally beaming student his very own, shiny, plastic, just off the printers, Open Water certification card (That, might I add, he will not use, as he just signed up for his Advanced Adventurer)! Seeing the change from a nervous, nearly out of control, rubber duckling, to a perfectly neutrally buoyant Open Water diver is amazing! The first few breaths underwater and the first mask clear is a million miles away from the cherished last few breaths on the course, and in only three and a half days, it's quite remarkable.

Learning to dive in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere is key, and at Scuba Junction, with group sizes limited to four you will certainly get this. Also, doing the skills at a dive site such as Japanese Garden, Mango Bay or Aow Leuk, you are sure to get a wide-eyed sense of excitement from the students, even after the snorkel from boat to shore!

But, maybe surprising to some, it's not only the in-water training that I enjoy. The chit chat, banter and stupid questions are all part of the bonding that you get with a group of students, from orientation right through to the student's dinner, celebrating their certification!

Being 100% settled in Koh Tao, with a beautiful wife, adorable daughter, great friends and a wonderful career I really do love my life!

So when people ask me “What is your real job?” I normally just smile...

Gwydion Dacre, SSI # 50192 PADI # 492723


Discover Scuba Dives - a one day experience that will change your life....

For the past week, I've been teaching Discover Scuba Diving to a very diverse group of new divers. Ranging from an Australian couple, who have been brought up swimming and surfing in the sea, two English guys who were so good I thought they might have been mystery shoppers, to a Chinese girl, who couldn't swim, was terrified of the water, and squealed with delight after the first dive and immediately asked to go for another. It's always fun as an instructor to have students that understand quickly how to follow you around the dive site, but the challenge presented by a student who isn't as comfortable in the water, and helping them overcome their fears is even better.

My favorite dive of the week was with Meena, our shop girl, who has already done a couple of dives before with Adrian and me. We went to Junkyard, which is an artificial reef just off Sairee Beach. As the name suggests there's a lot of "junk' down there, an old trunk, concrete tables and chairs, a direction sign made from old dive fins, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge! All arranged to attract fish and provide shelter for a wide range of marine life. We spent an hour searching this dive site for the fish not normally seen on most of our other dive sites, and found saddleback anemone fish guarding their eggs (NEMO!!!), a big pipefish, puffer fish and filefish, and a beautiful nudibranch. Meena's ability underwater and her air consumption are far better than many divers with more experience and training, and I'm looking forward to teaching her open water course.

If you're coming to Koh Tao and are short on time or unsure whether to do your Open Water Course right away, then a Discover Scuba Dive is the first step. We spend about an hour explaining what we're going to do when we go for the dive, and looking at the equipment you're going to use. Then we go out on the boat in the afternoon, and after learning a few skills in shallow water off a beach we swim for 30-45 minutes around a safe, shallow dive site. If you enjoy this first dive - you will - then you can do a second dive straight away, or sign up for the Open Water Course. Diving has changed the life of every instructor here, come and try it and see where the adventure takes you...

Alex Tyrell-Kenyon, PADI and SSI Instructor, Scuba J.

What’s your favorite course to teach?

This question is asked many times during courses I teach, my answer is still the same. Open water courses are my favorite. Why? Because I get to change people’s lives and watch them go from nervous divers to confident under water enthusiasts. Teaching is always a pleasure for me no matter which course I teach but to instill confidence in to a new diver is always my biggest buzz. Watching them go from being unsure of their first giant stride entry from the dive boat to handing them their certificate which allows them to dive any where there travels will take them and experience the wonderful underwater world we have. No longer are they thinking, where can I get a nice tan? or where can I get the best duty free? but where can I dive?

All instructors are capable of changing their student’s lives’, my open water instructor did this for me. I was supposed to be on a 1 year tour of South East Asia back in 2003 and decided to do my open water course at the beginning of my trip. This has to of been one of the best decisions of my life. I was addicted from the first breath I took in the crystal clear waters of Koh Tao. I was supposed to be on Koh Tao long enough to complete the open water course but ended up staying put for nearly 6 months, in which time I went from open water to divemaster and also did some traveling between the courses.

After my Divemaster certification was completed on Koh Tao I was invited to work in the Perenthian Islands of Malaysia, as a Divemaster. I snapped up this chance and headed south for a season of exceptional diving and experiences. Scuba Junction then contacted me to be part of their team. Again I snapped this chance up and returned to work here in January 2004. Where I have remained, loving my job, my life, my life style and changing many other people’s lives too.

Let our instructors change your life!!!

David Waite, Assistant Manager
SSI & Padi Instructor, Scuba Junction

Round, and Round the World We (divers ) Go, Where I Stopped... Koh Tao!

Diving has taken me many places in my life, and I have been fortunate enough to see various different cultures and exotic diving destinations through my career as an instructor.

Naturally, as a diver once you have seen the amazing underwater world, you will crave to see more. That is how I ended up in Thailand from the Bahamas. Although the Caribbean is beautiful, the abundance of fish and vibrant colored coral is of no comparison to Koh Tao. I truly fell back in love with diving when coming to Koh Tao. Exploring all the magnificent pinnacles and learning all of the foreign aquatic life was very refreshing for me. Some of my favorite fish to spot are the yellow box fish, banded sea snake, red breasted wrasse and the various nudibranchs and also the occasional whale shark!!

I recently participated in one of Scuba Junctions monthly clean up dives and felt proud to know that I was giving back to an island that has made me appreciate my lifestyle as a dive professional.

The culture, food and people are amazing and if you have the lucky opportunity to find yourself in this paradise, you will be inspired.

Living the Dream!”

Allison Ballester, SSI & PADI Instructor, Scuba Junction

Rescue Me!

I am currently in the middle of teaching one of my favorite courses. When you have a lively, enthusiastic group (which luckily most people who come to Koh Tao are) the rescue course is definitely the most fun to teach. As an instructor it is amazing to see students at the beginning of the course go from being sometimes slightly unsure and overwhelmed by the idea of being involved in an emergency situation to being confident enough to take control and delegate as part of and effective rescue plan. It's especially rewarding to see shy people come out of their shells and take action to help someone in danger. It really gives people the confidence that they can make a difference in a potentially life threatening situation if they step forward and use their training. During previous courses you are focused mainly on yourself where as the rescue course is the first time you start thinking about others. But thinking about helping others in trouble can give you more trust in your own abilities. As well as being demanding there's plenty of time to have a laugh too. I always enjoy having a giggle at the ammeter dramatics of the 'panicked divers' (often worthy of a part in Jaws 5).

It's also the most fun to assist on as a Dive Master Trainee. Acting in the role of the panicked or stressed diver whilst being a lot of fun, especially for our budding actors is also a great way to get a different point of view on the whole rescue situation. Putting yourself in the victim’s fins can only give you a better understanding of how best to help them. Changing your perspective allows you to get an idea of how it feels to be on the other side of a rescue.

Students as well as dive masters and instructors I'm sure would agree that the rescue course, whilst being the most challenging is also the most rewarding.

Sian Vibeke Jensen, SSI & PADI Instructor, Scuba Junction