Roshan Deepal - Teaching form the Heart
famous shipwrecks for year round diving off many parts of the island. Tourism and scuba diving holidays remain on the rise after the end of the war making it critical for dive operators to continue to provide safe diving practices and develop comprehensive marine conservation measures and systems.
Roshan by the pool as a successful dive instructor in Sri Lanka
Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka Water Sports Centre located in Seenigama, is a not-for-profit community based tourism initiative managed by Sri Lankan NGO, Foundation of Goodness (FoG). Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka is committed to delivering a high quality recreational scuba diving operation while educating their customers, the local village community and area fisherman on marine conservation. FoG, in partnership with PADI and Platinum Course Director Mark Soworka sent Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka head dive master, Roshan Deepal to Temple Adventures in India to take part in the PADI Instructor Development Course. This was all made possible through PADI’s Scholarship programme whereby Roshan’s PADI fees were fully covered by the organisation enabling him to obtain this esteemed certification.
Roshan’s scuba career began over 20 years ago in a small coastal fishing village in Dodanduwa in southern Sri Lanka. His first memories are of the sea where the village community comes together for work and life. He was given the opportunity to obtain a certificate through the Sri Lankan government in basic diving and swimming skills. Little did he know his first job as a lifeguard at a hotel in Negombo would be the start of an exciting adventure ahead. The hotel expanded on his government training and enabled him to be employed at their onsite diving centre taking hotel guests on scuba day trips. There began Roshan’s passion for showing others the wonders under the sea.
PADI Instructor Roshan and PADI Course Director Mark Soworka meeting up after the IDC to see how Roshan is goign as an instructor
Roshan is very grateful for the opportunities he has been provided all along his scuba career and the pinnacle has been his recent IDC at Temple Adventures in Pondicherry, India. With PADI’s scholarship programme assistance, Roshan was able to secure something he never thought possible. He also met many new friends, networked with other professional divers and to his delight, went diving in a fresh water quarry for the very first time.
Roshan has since returned to Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka with an enthusiastic outlook on growing the scuba industry and awareness of marine conservation in Sri Lanka. His first major task will be to teach OWD and conservation topics to the many disadvantaged rural young people who have gone through FoG’s diving & training programme. Without Roshan and FoG, a PADI certification would not be attainable within the resources of this rural community. He will also introduce marine conservation materials and coral planting initiatives to Foundation of Goodness for possible funding to continue preserving and repairing the coral reef off the Seenigama coastline.
In the coming years, Roshan would like to widen his experience and become qualified as an equipment specialist as this specialty is rather unique to Sri Lanka. He is grateful for the many opportunities and has always felt that his role within the Foundation of Goodness was serendipitous. Before he was hired on as Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka’s Dive Master, he was merely weeks away from leaving his wife and two small children for a long-term diving job in Oman.
Roshan on his PADI Instructor Examination
Roshan never wants to stop learning and growing in his career. He wants to teach from his heart and ensure his students, Sri Lankan and foreign, are excited and learning to dive at the highest level of safety and care. He feels it’s his destiny.
The Foundation of Goodness, a local NGO located in a coastal village named Seenigama has been in operation since 1999 but really became most effective after the 2004 Tsunami which resulted in over 150 lives lost in Seenigama alone.
Before the Tsunami, for many generations, one of the main livelihoods in this coastal region was coral mining and burning to make quicklime, which was illegal, dangerous, and an environmental nightmare. Research conducted after the tsunami quickly showed that in areas where coral reef had been destroyed, the waves were much more powerful and destructive. This research led to the banning of coral mining resulting in many people (and youth) losing their means of making an income.
In response, the Seenigama Diving & Training Centre commenced in 2008 to redirect local diving and swimming skills from a destructive purpose to one that is constructive. Through our training programme, rural young people have the opportunity to gain diving qualifications to achieve well-paid employment in the technical and recreational diving industry. It is only through previous donation and support that the Foundation of Goodness has been able to successfully implement this project. In recent years, with the economic recession, it has become more difficult to fund this vital programme. Therefore, in 2013, Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka Water Sports Centre was established as a community based tourism initiative to sustain the Seenigama Diving & Training Centre. Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka is the first not-for-profit dive centre in the region and 100% of the profits are reinvested back into the Foundation of Goodness.
I recently completed our first Instructor Development course on the Bali Indonesian Island of Nusa Lembongan. The course was held in conjunction with Two Fish Divers that have had a successful, well respected dive resort on Nusa Lembongan for the past four years. Nusa Lembongan, just a 30 minute boat ride away from the main island of Bali, Indonesia, is growing quickly as a popular destination for divers, regular manta ray and seasonal mola mola sightings, plus a laid back vibe drawing divers from around the globe.
Celebrating great presentations on the IDC
Our PADI IDC in Nusa Lembongan had a great group of students from around the globe. Plus it was an excellent opportunity for me to catch up with many old friends that are now settled in Nusa Lembongan. I had a great time on the IDC. Maybe a little too much some nights but it was great fun catching up with former candidates and friends. And I think the candidates had a great time as well judging by some of their reviews.
"Couldn't have been happier with my IDC experience with Mark. I call him a miracle worker as the person that walked through the door at the start to when I walked out at the end are two very different people. I'm extremely happy with the outcome and feel that he trained us to a very high standard which meant that the exam was a breeze for all of us. Mark's years of experience are very evident in the way he teaches, he has it down to a fine art. " Nicole from Adelaide, South Australia
Rhome practicing her pick up lines during the IDC rescue training.
"Doing the IDC with Dive Careers and more specifically with Mark Soworka, was for sure the right choice. We had 12 solid days of preparation including a lot of theory and GSP exams which made us 100% ready for the IE. The inwater preparation was also great as we had to demonstrate and brief several skills in both confined and open water. A few days before the exam, we also had a mock IE which allowed us to put ourselves in the propel exam conditions! Sharing my IDC experience with others, I realized that we had much more training than usual which made all of us succeed! I will highly recommend Mark! Also the people at Two Fish have been very useful during the whole course which could be a bit stressful. Special thanks to Frederic Brysse, Brice, Rowan and Danielle Drury" Rhome with an accented e, from the Basque region of France.
Typhoid Flora and Tristan practicing the CESA on open water presentations on the Nusa Lembongan IDC
"If you are considering a professional dive career than look no further, @ Dive-Careers they know what it's all about." Ben from the Netherlands.
Kim looking decidedly happy after IDC evaluating.
"Mark and his exceptional knowledge made the IDC for all candidates very interesting and fun. Loved staffing the IDC at Lembongan!" Kim from the Netherlands via Koh Tao
"I had a fantastic time doing my IDC. Mark and the staff instructors were excellent and we couldn't have been any more prepared for the IE. I was lucky to have some awesome team mates which made the whole experience really fun and enlightening. I would recommend Dive Careers and Two Fish to anyone wishing to do their IDC and have complete training and enjoyable experience at the same time. Two Fish staff were excellent and always willing to help and offer advice ranging from tips for being an instructor to fixing my regulator. Thank you to everyone:)" Tristan from the UK
Matteo and Tristan figuring out the compass on the Nusa Lembongan IDC
"The IDC at Two Fish Divers on Lembongan was a nice and educational experience. The staff, lead by Mark Soworka, were extremely good at teaching and knew their stuff." Mikko from the cold, desolate Arctic, a man of much emotion.
The IDC group together on the beach
Beaches, Sceneries and lots of sharks!
Since I started teaching in the different locations we offer at Dive-Careers, there has never been a place better than another, but they all have their little something and all fantastic in their own way.
Let me give you an idea how its like…. This is how my adventure looks like. A bit from the past and from the future.