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Bikini Biologist Becomes PADI Instructor After Completing IDC in Roatan



Earlier this year, Bobbie Renfro (also known as the “Bikini Biologist” in social media circles) completed her PADI IDC at Subway Watersports on Roatan. Her insights and experiences during her time on Roatan helped her complete the PADI Instructor Examination in March. Here is “the Bikini Biologist’s” inside look at her experience. 

Are you interested in taking your SCUBA diving to a professional level?

For many people this step up the dive-training ladder will open up a world of new job and travel opportunities. For me in particular, I needed to become a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) instructor to help further my career in marine biology. I started looking at Dive Master (DM) programs in my home state of Texas, but I found that dive shops had rather undefined answers to the question, “How much money and how much time will my DM internship require?” Because of this, I started looking at internship programs in the Caribbean that had set timeframes and total costs for training.

I chose Subway Watersports on the island of Roatán, Honduras. They require an application for admittance into their program, as spots per month are limited. Once admitted for my DM, I was able to sign up for back-to-back programs to complete my Dive Master internship and Instructor Development Course (IDC). PADI holds frequent Instructor Examinations on Roatán making it fairly easy to find an IDC that fits your schedule.

My experience working with Subway Watersports was phenomenal. The shop has two locations, a main shop at Turquoise Bay Resort on the north side of the island and a second shop on the south side of the island. Their level of access to dive sites around the island allowed me to dive the north, west and south sides of the island as well as one daytrip to a small, rarely-visited caye off the east end of the island. Interns I’ve met from other DM programs did not get to dive the same wide variety of sites. Between all those great dives, the shop does keep you working hard carrying tanks, learning dive theory or practicing skills pretty much sun up to sun down six days a week. Even with all the time spent working at the shop, our intern group still jumped at chances to come in on our days off when Subway would schedule us exciting extras like shark dives and dives on the Odyssey wreck.

The staff really felt like family while I was there. Everyone for the most part speaks English, but they were encouraging when I wanted to practice my Spanish. The shop manager Daren Ebanks goes above and beyond to keep staff, interns and hotel guests happy even in the face of inevitable diving dilemmas like bad weather. Daren and your instructors will prioritize your timeline to make sure that you meet all the requirements to complete your DM or IDC in the planned timespan of your program. Subway Watersports employs a large staff of local dive masters and boat captains, but also has quite a diverse faculty of dive instructors for their internship program. My DM instructors were Liam Shearer from New Zealand and Arturo Corvino from Argentina. I was beyond impressed with their extensive backgrounds in dive instruction. The PADI educational system is largely based on learning through experience, whether it’s your own dive experiences or those of others. Having two instructors with very different cultural and diving backgrounds is a huge bonus when studying under the PADI system. Liam and Arturo kept us laughing and engaged while maintaining the importance of taking our training seriously.

After completing my DM, I transitioned to the IDC program led by PADI Course Director Phillip Hetherington and IDC Staff Instructor Kendal Larson. I do not believe I could have found two better people than Phil and Kendal to show me how to be a successful PADI Professional. Fair warning, PADI IDC entails some exhausting days of back-to-back lectures on physics, physiology, dive theory, PADI standards… the list goes on. This is professional level education and the workload reflects the extent of knowledge and expertise needed to be a successful dive instructor. Phil and Kendal managed to keep a room full of tired divers engaged and learning even through the stickiest of physics problems. Two weeks flew by as they prepared us for the Instructor Examination with pool skills demonstrations, classroom lectures and open water sessions. After four years of college and two years of graduate school I have taken a lot of exams, but I have never felt more prepared for a test than I was for the PADI Instructor Exam thanks to the level of quality SCUBA instruction that Phil and Kendal instilled in our IDC cohort.

I am now a PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer (Phil made time for us to get in five specialty course certifications). My decision to train with Subway Watersports has already paid off. Since they were able to conduct my DM internship and IDC in such a timely and efficient manner I was able to accept an offer for the job of a lifetime instructing university marine science and diving courses this summer for Sea|mester, a college study abroad program affiliated with University of South Florida. I strongly encourage you to consider Subway Watersports for your dive professional training.

If you have any further questions about my experiences with Subway Watersports or becoming a PADI Professional please email me at

Find out more about Subway Watersports at



Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 1



Over the next seven days, join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy as we publish a Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Deptherapy made the very brave decision to book an expedition to our home in Egypt as soon as Roots Red Sea received their certificate from the Egyptian Authorities that the camp and dive centre was COVID secure. Roots is one of very few resorts to receive a certificate from the Egyptian Government.

We arrived in Roots the day after they re-opened.

Getting together an expedition was a major task. Very few Approved Medical Examiners’ of Divers or Dive Referees are conducting consultations at the moment. Availability of beneficiaries and the requirement to quarantine on return from Egypt affected the number of beneficiaries available.

There was also a requirement to pass a COVID PCR virus test within 72 hours of travelling.

We had decided on a small expedition and on the day of travel we had six flying to Egypt.  Unfortunately, Chris Middleton had to drop out the day before we travelled after emergency wisdom tooth surgery.

Our group comprised of Richard Cullen, Michael Hawley, Tom Oates, Tom Swarbrick, Keiron Bradbury and Corey Goodson.  Keiron was undertaking his RAID Master Rescue Course and, as it turned out, Corey was undertaking the RAID Open Water 20 course.

A deserted Gatwick Airport at 0900 on 10 October

Our outbound flight was before midday on Saturday 10 October and I must admit we were all shocked at how deserted was.  Checking in with easyJet took minutes and when we boarded the plane, we found it less than half full.

Corey is a paraplegic since a car accident two years ago while he was training prior to joining the Royal Anglian Regiment.  Corey has no sensation below the waist and is unable to use his legs.  The cabin crew on our flight were quite amazed to see the two Toms and Michael lift him from his wheelchair and place him in his seat for the flight.

Mask protocols were strictly observed by the team, the flight was uneventful, and the easyJet Cabin Crew superb. We also took a digital thermometer to check temperatures prior to flying.

Corey having a pre-flight temperature check

Hurghada Airport was very quiet and we moved through Immigration and collected our baggage in very quick time.

Two things to note:  If you are travelling to Hurghada you need to complete a COVID declaration for the Egyptian Authorities. If not, you have to fill out the rather lengthy form when you arrive.  You can undertake a COVID test on arrival at Hurghada Airport but the queues are long.  It costs much less than the tests we had done in the UK – BUT – you are required to be quarantined at your hotel until the test result comes through.  This means two days with no access to resort facilities.  If the test comes back as positive you have at least two weeks being confined to your room.

COVID guidelines

Transport to Roots was, as ever, on hand and we were soon at the camp and being briefed about the COVID arrangements.  A lot of work has been put in place to make Roots COVID compliant – and all at considerable expense.

None of the usual hugs with the Roots team and you have your temperature checked every morning and every time you return from the dive centre.  Your dive kit is sterilised every night ready for the next day’s diving.

Sterilised Dive Kit

We all felt very COVID secure.

Check back for tomorrow’s Blog and our first day diving…

Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at

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Dive Training Blogs

Dive Instructor! Is Your Paycheck rubbish? Here’s 4 passive income ideas for Scuba Pros (Watch Video)



How much money does a Dive Instructor make? The easy answer is not much. Here’s 4 ways a Scuba Diving Professional can diversify their income streams.

You hear it all the time: Being a Scuba Diving Instructor is a labor of love. Why is it that Scuba Instructors, when compared to almost any other professional in a sports training or educational role, make less money? Well, we’re not going to dive into that topic, because nobody here has the time for that!

What we are going to do is give you 4 ideas for generating passive income using your expertise as a Dive Instructor. Each of the ideas requires a little effort and investment on your part, but with a long term strategy, you can absolutely add money to your monthly income.

If you’ve just finished your Instructor Development Course, I strongly encourage you to diversify your income streams by trying your hand at some or all of the ideas we explain in this video.

We want to thank all of our subscribers for supporting this channel and being such an active and engaged audience! We appreciate you all! And thanks for making our most recent video our most watched video yet!

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