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A Beginner Diver’s Journey

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Ever wondered what it’s like to learn to dive?  Marketing Executive Chloe Spencer-Ades from The Scuba Place shares her experience…

I’ve always been a natural sports fanatic, getting involved in anything and everything I could to do with sport. I am extremely competitive and from a young age I was heavily involved in athletics and rugby, which drifted into football, and hockey and so on. Our family weekends consisted of getting up early, driving me to a match on a Saturday, and then the same on a Sunday, until I was old enough to drive myself. I’ve carried on at university, where I play hockey for Loughborough. So, it seemed fitting when I was introduced to the scuba world by my dad, and I knew I’d never look back!

My first ever dive was in Mexico in 2016. I did a try-dive at La Musa, the underwater sculpture museum created by Jason De Caires Taylor. I had no idea what I was doing, but at the young age of 16, I didn’t have any fears (a quality I wish I still had now). I was in extremely safe hands and was itching to get in the water. When I think about that first diving experience, I don’t remember setting up the kit, the pre-dive safety checks, the entry or descent – but I do remember the overwhelming feeling of “I can’t believe I’m doing this, this is crazy!” All I thought about was how little sense it made that I was breathing as normal, underwater, watching fish dash past me, weaving in and out of the Volkswagen Beetle sculpture. It didn’t make sense, but I knew that I had to do it again! I also remember having to sort my mask out a ridiculous number of times, as I was constantly smiling and laughing, and it leaked and leaked.

My next scuba diving adventure was about a year later and this time it was becoming official, I was set to take my PADI Open Water Course! I was rather nervous considering I had only been on one Try Dive over a year ago! I did a lot of studying at home (probably too much) and completed the online theory section of the course before we flew out to Egypt. We spent the week in Roots Red Sea in El Quseir, which sits between Hurghada and Marsa Alam on a really quiet stretch of coastline. If you haven’t been there, it’s a must! It’s a great base for learning to dive as well as for those who are already qualified – even at expert level!

Day One, and we were straight into the pool for our confined water skills such as taking my mask off or filling it with water. The Instructors were amazing, friendly, patient, super-relaxed and honestly, they made it so easy and fun. All the other drills and skills, like buddy-breathing, trying to hover and even simulating running out of air were far easier than I had expected! Then it was off to the house reef to put the skills we had learned in the pool to use – and WOW! Breathing underwater, surrounded by beautiful corals and exotic marine life. It wasn’t easy to concentrate on what we were supposed to be doing at all!

The biggest ‘learn’ for me was that this wasn’t like I had expected it to be – the learning is fun, and it isn’t difficult either. Every lesson or skill has its use, and every dive you do, the skills fit into place more and more.

On Day 4 of our trip, we had one more dive to do and then we were qualified as Open Water Divers!! This last dive was really fun – no skills to demonstrate or learn, and we got to really focus on looking at the corals and marine life – we even spent time watching Nemo on a bright red anemone. It was beautiful. Then, as we headed up to the shallows to make our exit, we spotted puffer fish, a blue spotted stingray, some cuttlefish and some beautiful angel fish.

Once I was a Certified Open Water Diver, I felt like part of the group, a true scuba diver! I was rewarded on my first dive with a visit from a huge green turtle, who could believe it? My first ever turtle encounter immediately after passing, I was in awe!

Three years had passed since my certification, and much to my disappointment, I hadn’t been able to fit in anymore diving. Studies had taken over my life as I took my A-Levels, got into Loughborough University and settled into the university lifestyle. However, I was due to do a placement year where I secured a job with a physiotherapy clinic. As well as working there, my dad made the best decision of his life to hire me as the new Marketing Executive at The Scuba Place in mid-2020!

After a few months of working in my placement year, I was settling in and finding my rhythm. It hadn’t, by any means, been the easiest year for anyone due to Covid-19, let alone for a company working in the travel industry, but we were determined to soldier on. After having several trips postponed, we were eager to get the wheels off of the tarmac. Following some extensive research and planning, The Scuba Place put a trip together to Grenada for October 2020. To say that everyone on the trip was looking forward to it would be an understatement. Unfortunately, nothing comes easily as we did run into some troubles with travelling due to the pandemic. We have an article on this, so check out our other blog post ‘Travelling During a Pandemic’ to see how we handled it all.  Thankfully, we made it to Grenada.

I set myself the challenge of furthering my diving experience and education with the Advanced Open Water, Nitrox and Deep Diver certifications during the Grenada trip. For someone who hadn’t been diving in three years, I was a little nervous. However, as soon as I hit that water and dropped down, that feeling of uncontainable excitement was there. It all came back so naturally, and I was loving it! Every bit of coral, tiny little shrimp, fish and the underwater world itself blew me away all over again! I truly felt like a kid in a sweet shop, and I couldn’t believe all the wonderful things I was seeing!

During the trip to Grenada, I saw my first ever shark, had my first encounter with eagle rays, dived my first ever wreck, saw schooling creole wrasse at the aptly named dive site ‘Purple Rain’ and so many other beautiful things. I passed my Advanced Open Water, my Deep Diver and NITROX certifications! I also made a big gang of friends and buddies who I can’t wait to dive with again! I was so proud of myself, but especially thankful to everyone on that trip. From the dive centre staff, to my instructor, and our clients and friends. That is what scuba diving is all about and that is why I love it. It’s a true community. Everyone you meet shares the same passion, enthusiasm, care for others and love for scuba diving. That’s the most wonderful feeling, and I’m so lucky to be a part of it.

I haven’t been diving long, and my journey has only just started, but I can’t wait to get back in the water as soon as we can to continue it!


Find out more about the worldwide dive itineraries that The Scuba Place offers at www.thescubaplace.co.uk.

The Scuba Genies are John and Mona Spencer-Ades, Directors of The Scuba Place, a small yet specialist Tour Operator. John started his diving career as a teenager on the beaches of Cornwall and set up The Scuba Place in 2010. John is a PADI Dive Master and has logged over 2000 dives. Mona started diving in 2004, has logged over 400 dives, and is currently undertaking her PADI Rescue Diver. Mona hails from Houston, Texas and moved to the UK in 2016 after getting married to John in Mexico, and joining The Scuba Place as Operations Director. Find out more at www.comedivewithus.co.uk and www.thescubaplace.co.uk

Dive Training Blogs

PADI launches new job board to meet growing demand for PADI Professionals

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As pockets around the world are reopening, there is a growing demand for PADI® Professionals in many key markets worldwide. To support its membership, PADI has launched a full revamp of the PADI Job Board to help dive centres and resorts build winning teams and connect dive professionals with exciting job opportunities. The new platform makes it easier than ever to search, find and connect the world’s best dive professionals with scuba jobs available at PADI Dive Centres and Resorts around the globe.

“For the first time since the pandemic began, new postings of job opportunities for PADI Pros on the PADI Job Board are coming in faster than they are being filled,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer of PADI Worldwide. “This is a great sign of the industry bouncing back strong in several parts of the globe. Incredible dream job opportunities around the world for PADI Pros will continue to increase as customers flood back, requiring dive operators and resorts to increase recruitment and hiring in order to keep up. With this in mind, we’ve prioritised updating the job board platform to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of connecting PADI Pros with PADI Resorts and Dive Centres to succeed.”

Accessible via the PADI Pros’ Site, the new job board offers a host of features to help PADI Dive Centres and Resorts manage job postings and candidates, and help PADI Professionals search and apply for jobs. The job board is also supported by in-app translations, so PADI Members can choose from more than 20 languages to view and post within the application.

The PADI Job Board has long served as one of the most visited pages on the Pros’ Site, with the launch of the new job board exceeding more than 31,000 unique views during the first two weeks of launch. Some of the new technologies and features aimed at further empowering PADI Pros, Resorts and Dive Centres are:

  • Manageability – PADI Retail and Resort members can more readily and flexibly post, edit, update and otherwise administer their job listings.
  • Resume posting – PADI Pros can post full resumes, making it easier for individual members and operators to find the best skillset matches that create winning teams.
  • Searchability – The job board is no longer simply a list. Pros and shops can search based on criteria without wading through irrelevant entries that don’t line up with what’s wanted or needed.
  • Direct connection – The job board allows direct connection so that operators can contact prospective hires for initial follow up.
  • Multilingual – Automated translation technology allows users to post and view listings in their language preference, reducing language barriers.
  • Notifications – Employers and candidates can enable notifications to be alerted of new applicants, job posts, invitations to apply for a job or interview, among others, so they never miss an opportunity.

“The PADI Job Board is a powerful gateway for employment opportunity throughout our membership infrastructure and provides the most global employment opportunities in the dive industry,” says Valette Wirth. “We expect the increase in job opportunities to continue to grow as travel rebounds. We will continue to prioritise supporting our PADI Members with the challenges they face during their recovery.”

For full access to the new job board, PADI Members can log in to the PADI Pros’ Site and click on the Job Board link on the dashboard.

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Dive Training Blogs

PADI Women’s Dive Day 2021 highlights important role inclusivity plays in creating balance between humanity and ocean

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PADI®, the world’s largest ocean exploration and diver organisation, is celebrating with divers from around the globe tomorrow for the seventh annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on Saturday, July 17.

With the overwhelming support of the dive community over the last six years, PADI Women’s Dive Day has grown into a worldwide celebration of shared adventure, passion and ocean advocacy. The annual event is dedicated to fostering a global community that encourages divers of all genders, ages, races, backgrounds and abilities to safely and confidently explore and protect the underwater world. Year after year, Women’s Dive Day activities have addressed ties between diversity, inclusion and environmentalism – with this year’s events scaled accordingly for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“PADI Women’s Dive Day is an opportunity for divers everywhere to unite as a community with the common goal of creating balance between humanity and ocean,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer of PADI Worldwide. “PADI has a wonderfully diverse and inclusive community of members and divers in 186 countries around the world.  We celebrate this diversity, as it is embedded in the ethos of our organisation. We take pride in the progress we’ve made to increase diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in our sport and constantly challenge ourselves to do more.”

Since its inception in 2015, the event has contributed to the significant growth in the number of female divers and subsequently, PADI Torchbearers™ who have shared and inspired passion for ocean conservation. The dive community is teeming with female divers who are marking remarkable contributions for improved ocean health and connecting their communities to local waters. Throughout the month of July, PADI is spotlighting the stories and perspectives of incredible #PADIWOMEN around the world who are leading change by example and opening doors for countless others to experience the ocean firsthand, including Zandile Ndhlovu, a PADI Freediver Instructor™ from Johannesburg, South Africa, who founded the Black Mermaid Foundation to make the oceans more inclusive.

“Together as a global dive community we can save our oceans,” says Ndhlovu. “Once people get to experience the ocean, it changes everything around how they’ve always looked at it. It begins to also feel like home, a place that they will always protect. And that is why it is important that there is always diverse representation in the ocean.”

Other notable women include Xochitl Clare, a PADI AmbassaDiver™ and marine biologist from California, United States, researching the effects of climate change on fisheries species; Cody Unser, a PADI AmbassaDiver who is working  to introduce more people with disabilities to diving and promote the sport’s therapeutic benefits; and 13-year-old Julia Aveline Rabenjoro a PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

“Learning to dive really transformed my life because it introduced me to a whole new intricate world that makes me feel at peace and it taught me how much we really depend on our ocean,” says Aveline Rabenjoro. “My greatest hope for the next generation of female divers is for them to grow in numbers and never doubt the difference they can make no matter where they come from or who they are. Together as a global diving community, we can further this by sharing our passion and love for diving with others who haven’t yet been lucky enough to explore beneath the surface.”

Divers and non-divers alike can connect with the motivating stories of PADI women and learn how they can join the community by visiting padi.com/women. They can find PADI Women’s Dive Day events in their area or participate virtually through social media conversations utilising the #PADIWOMEN hashtag.

Year-round, people worldwide can access PADI’s recently launched Conservation Activities Locator to find local events in their community. From joining an underwater lake cleanup in Connecticut to taking part in a week-long conservation workshop in Belize, ocean enthusiasts have a variety of experiences to choose from on Women’s Dive Day and beyond.

To learn more about how you can participate in PADI Women’s Dive Day, contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort, or visit www.padi.com/women. For information about learning to dive, visit www.padi.com/education/learn-to-dive

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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