From PADI Open Water to Staff Instructor - Laurent Arn's Wonderful Diving Journey
Chapter one - From deep fears to dive fever
(This chapter is about the Openwater / Advanced Openwater / Nitrox - Enriched Diver courses which I did @ Poseidon Diving Station in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka)
My dive story started March 2017 at Hikkaduwa in the southwest of Sri Lanka. I was working in the north-western part of the island as an Kite Surf Instructor for a few weeks. My plan then was to travel around the island before i was leaving to India for some more travelling.
By that time Kitesurfing helped me as an first step to move my ass out to the deep waters like lakes and oceans. This sport made me to fight against my fears, even if it was only at the surface.
At my stay in the Kitesurf-School in Sri Lanka, there was a customer who mentioned to me, that in the south of Sri Lanka are some lovely places for diving. As my fears were still where there of course, i thought like i could go on with my fears or i could just give it a try and see if i like it or not.
On my way to the Dive School i met then 2 lovely dutchies (see in the pic below) which i could convince to come along to do the Open Water Course with me J.
As the course started with the theory and the confined shallow water trainings, I didn’t even think about my fears, cause it really seemed to be a lot of fun for me.
On my first open water dive then, i was so excited cause we went finally out into the open ocean.
I remember as it was yesterday, when I did breathe the first time from an Scuba Regulator. This feeling to breathe underwater was so amazing, just indescribable !!!!
The best thing about that Open Water course was that I didn’t even think about my fears, cause i was so fascinated by the things I saw underwater, so of course after finishing the Open Water course I was signing off directly to the next level the Advanced Diver course J.
I mean i got so infected by this diving fever right from the beginning on !!!!
During the Advanced Course i also did then my Nitrox Enriched Air Diver Certification, and all these Courses in one week.
So can you imagine this:
Years after years i was driven by fears and in this one little moment it turned all around to an a very positive experience and very intense passion.
Wow!!! Where do I start??
After a bit of a trip to Bali, it was first time to chill a bit and say hello to some friends at Gili Air which I was planning for a while already. Thanks to Sander, Joerie and Viola at Ocean 5.
A very nice place to relax and it reminded me a bit of Koh Tao but more quiet.
No bikes, just bicycle and horse and wagon…just amazing!!!!
Like Mark normally tells me normally after a 1 day holiday
Back to work!!
So the first ferry to my next adventure, my first time Lembongan!
Arrive at the island and off to Two Fish Divers.
Great welcome by HANNI who brought me to my room and I settle in a bit…I thought! Thanks Marie!
But there was Kipp as well, so we needed some time to catch up.
For the people who know Kipp….. YES it’s still Kipp hahahaha.
Next day meeting all candidates from all over the world.
Let me introduce you.
· An-Shi from Switzerland or should I say Koh Tao?
· Tom from Germany
· Chris from UK
· Podge form Ireland or should I say from Koh Tao?
· Andreas for Germany
· Marina form spain
· Bo from China
And my great great help and staff instructor
We started the IDC with a bit of introduction and than it’s exam time.
Then at night going to say hello to Bas and Kim and having my missed
“Broodje kroket “
After openwater presentations and knowledge development it was time for me to experience something I didn’t believed in.
As we were able to do the specs during the IDC for a bit of a break we went for Manta point and YES they exist!!!!!
Thanks to Restuning and An-shi, I finally saw my first Manta’s and I was amazing
Than drifting like no tomorrow at Mangrove.
Now three more days till the IE but with the scores the group had so far its gone be a walk in the park
Well classroom done in the morning so now its time to be playing around in the pool.
How is should not be done !
And how it should be done!
And what to do with a drowing baby again or what not to do
Tomorrow we will be doing the last Openwater presentations
And some wreck training after. Than I can say that we are done and ready to
ROCK ‘n’ ROLL
Everybody is more than ready and prepared!
It’s just two more days and than we obviously have to start making a plan for the IE party…. And yes Podge there will be GIN.
It was a pleasure to have been working with you guys for the last 2 weeks and for sure we will meet again somewhere, some how anywhere in the world
Enjoy the world of being a
For more than ten years since her own IDC, Dive-Careers has worked with Marie-Lise Roux, right through to her becoming one of the most successful PADI Platinum Course Directors in the world. After more than a decade of great successes working together, Marie now embarks up on a new chapter with her partner Arnaud to start a family. Seems the perfect opportunity for us to take a look at the highlights and mishaps of Marie’s career over the past decade from Divemaster, dive shop owner, PADI instructor through to Course Director, from Egypt, to Thailand and onto Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Such a wonderful career to recap with a few photos and a couple of stories.
I first met Marie at Buddha Bar when her then partner, Bas convinced her to come to Koh Tao for the IDC. We had just had a Dutch speaking instructor leave, so there was an opening at Buddha View, Koh Tao for Bas to go straight into the team. Both Bas and Marie fitted in great right from the beginning.
Marie and Bas had come from Egypt. There they had met. Bas was doing his diver training and Marie, as a divemaster, had opened a shop with her Egyptian husband. This is sounding like a timeline of Marie’s relationships and not about her career as a diver. Not meant to be that, but I guess relationships have also followed her career around the world. Anyway, Bas swept her off her feet, probably with a bottle of vodka, and they left to get married on the shores of South Africa, a destination they would return to as Course Directors for Dive-Careers a decade later.
Marie found work straight after her IDC on Koh Tao with Coral Grand and later came back to work with Dive-Careers and Buddha View. Not only bringing a second language with French and a great personality but also a strong marketing acumen, she quickly made for herself a successful career as a dive instructor. She has always done very well with getting people eager about dive courses right from open water through to the IDC. Whether communicating on email or in person, that passion and enthusiasm she feels towards the dive industry is clear. This is why I pushed her towards Course Director and wanted her working with me.
Marie started off as a Course Director with Dive-Careers on Koh Tao in 2015. After so many years on Koh Tao, she had such a great base of friends and social network that guaranteed her successful IDCs on Koh Tao right from the beginning. Her IDCs have always been fun and a great social atmosphere. It is even how she met her now partner and father of their soon-to-be child. Obviously very sociable events.
I have relied on Marie for so much, from making sense of my accounts, keeping Bas in line and keeping up with the emails, through to being called out of bed in the middle of the night and told to find a way to Bunaken to start an instructor course the next day when I have been stuck at a border with passport problems. No complaints, maybe a quick snipe at my organisation abilities, and then she would just buckle down and get it done. Turned up the next morning, half a world away and got the IDC completed.
The last couple of years Marie has been based on Indonesia where she has made many new friends and reunited with many old friends in the dive community. She has also been conducting the IDCs in Sri Lanka for Dive-Careers and Poseidon Dive Station where she has developed the respect and admiration of the local diving community. That great sense of community has always been so strong with Marie.
This was the beginning of our 5th year with Poseidon Diving Station in Sri Lanka. While part of their team was busy opening their other location in Trincomalee, north east of the Country, a big part of the Poseidon Family was still on Hikkaduwa, south west, as, despite the approach of the end of the season, the place was very busy.
On top of that, a group 9 people decided to take over the place: US! The “Want to Go Pro” people!
The February/March IDC in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia had a very special chemistry between 4 candidates and their Course Director. It is not every day that you get an ambiance that makes you forget about time, heat, rain, stress and any other little factors that could affect concentration and motivation.
It might be the shortest month of the year, but it doesn’t mean the action is less present on the Dive-Careers calendar. Here is a summary of what we’ve done last month, as usual…around the globe! Within 4 different locations, there is in February a total of 31 Dive Professional coming from 14 different countries who completed their pro level with us. Lets starts off with Instructor Development Course and why not talk about first… The Philippines!
It is still strange for me to say that (in a positive way). Well, little did I know that my Open Water Course would turn into a new passion and open the way into the new life that made me the happiest person ever. After my way from Open Water Student to Divemaster at Scuba Education Amsterdam, I researched long and carefully for a good School/Place to become an Instructor. I decided for the Team of Dive-Careers after I had exchanged emails and a Skype call with Mark.
As a PADI Course Director I am fortunate enough to dive and work in many areas frequented by whale sharks. Diving with such a wonderfully gentle, yet large, fish remains an incredible attraction and draws large numbers to dive sites known to have frequent whale shark encounters. That popularity has highlighted the plight of the whale shark, but also places increasing pressure on dwindling populations. As dive professionals we have the responsibility, and also the possibility to promote whale shark conservation. This article will review basic whale shark ecology and the importance of whale sharks to the Philippine and Koh Tao, Thailand dive industries.
Another day, another dive… another day of pinching myself to see if this is all some crazy dream!
Arriving in Koh Tao 6 months ago I couldn’t have dreamed that by now I’d be a fully fledged PADI instructor embarking on my MSDT internship. This is me living the dream with my first open water student!
Working with the DMTs on their workshops has been a blast. Andrea Warren, once my Divemaster Trainer, has shown me the ropes and I now feel confident taking the team out on my own. A great bunch of people who love diving just as much as I do! Here’s some of the gang after their snorkeling and skin diving workshop. Led by me!
When I contacted Dive-Careers about coming to do the Divemaster course I thought it sounded too good to be true… I can dive as much as I want? I can assist instructors if and when I feel like it? I can come to any lectures or workshops when it suits me? What?… there had to be a catch… nope, it was for real and I ended up extending my trip because I was having so much fun and my diving was getting better and better.
An unexpected phone call that brought me an adventure; yep, this is how the story begins…and probably how I will have to end.
Working as a Platinum Course Director for Dive-Careers is the most fantastic job you could think of. We travel the world to teach people how to teach people how to blow bubbles underwater, yes, that’s it! We offer courses in Thailand (Koh Tao), India (Pondicherry and Andaman Islands), Philippines (Bohol and El Nido), Sri Lanka (Hikkaduwa and Trincomale), Sicily, South Africa (Durban) and this year we started in Indonesia where we will be offering IDCs in multiple locations such as Bunaken, Lembongan and Bali.
This is where is where my story begins: Indonesia!