I am a longtime PADI diver. I have been diving all over the world for 30 years. One of my favorite trips was on the MV Scuba Cat several years ago.
I have over 1000 open water dives, Many cameras and have certified over 300 divers. My PADI instructor status is “emeritus”. I stopped instructing in 1984 — a long time ago. Now is the time for me to re-up my certs, as I plan to work in the dive industry when an opportunity comes along.
A quick search for a place to take an PADI IDC/IE came up with 100 options. Narrowed it down to my local dive shop in the Oregon and a PADI Dive Centre in Phuket, Thailand where I had gone for one of those corporate vacations 10 years ago. Jimmy Buffet came to me in a dream and crooned sawadee krup . The next morning I emailed Sarah at Scuba Cat Diving for the 100th time and said I will see you in Nov 22 2010.
I arrived with 7 other IDC candidates, from a variety of cold climates. We started 2 weeks of Scuba diving and PADI IDC/IE training. Scuba Cat provided everything: the equipment, a pool, a boat, a wonderful hotel room a block from the beach, restaurants, the materials and a staff of dive professionals. The staff were demanding but still made the course so FUN!
As classmates, we all helped each other as we all had different talents to share. The PADI IDC/IE was the most challenging two weeks of diving in my life and the most memorable. Lifelong friends were made, dreams were shared, and everyone passed the PADI IE on my birthday. To celebrate I did what every diver should do…… diving trip at the Similans on the Scuba Cat Live aboard with your PADI IDC Staff Instructor as a guide.
Next, it was time to make the big decision towards using this new skill. A PADI IDC class teaches “how to teach”, not how to work as an PADI instructor. I chose the 3 month Instructor Internship Program to learn how a dive resort operates and how to experience the diving lifestyle .
What did I learn? The dive business is about learning. It is about communicating in languages I don’t speak. It is about finding the local motorbike rental shop and a place to do laundry. It is about getting up at 6 am to haul tanks and gear. It is about sunsets on the boat. It is about late night classes with customers. Diving is about making sure your customer raves about their day of diving, even if the visibility is less than perfect. Here is one of my typical days:
6 am – alarm, shower, shave and pack the days gear ~ Advanced Open Water today, so bring colored slates, extra compasses and fish id slates… eat some Thai breakfast and ride my scooter to the dive shop— (renting a scooter is essential-there are 50 places to rent a motorbike in Patong, just do it)
7am – sort equipment, load the trucks, drive all over the island to fetch customers. (In my old life as a vacationer the ride to the boat just magically appeared at my hotel) Transfer gear onto the boat, Now it is time for the dive instructor in me to go to work.
9 am – Boat ride to the dive site, meet students, knowledge reviews, dive briefing and a cup of coffee with Milo (a kind of chocolate)
10 am – dive You know the good stuff
12 pm – dive More good stuff
1 pm – Lunch (if the customers are not too hungry)
2 pm – Dive Even better stuff
5pm – take customers and dive staff to the Full Moon Brew Pub in Jungceylon Mall (behind the pirate ship)
7 pm : shower, dinner and prep for another day.
11 pm : Sleep awhile, then rinse lather and repeat.
I love the lifestyle that Scuba Cat let me taste.
Honestly, I cannot think of a better place or a better group of people than on my PADI IDC and the Scuba Cat Crew. What am I doing now? Dive guide/ PADI instructor on a boat and planning for that dive shop on the island. Thank you Scuba Cat!!
Thanks Corey “Mac” Parker for your story…………….