Diving with… Simone Schaller, Emperor Divers


In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer

What is your name?

Simone Schaller

What is the name of your business?

Emperor Divers

What is your role within the business?

Safari Guide

How long has the business operated for?

25 years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

7 years; I’m a Master Scuba Diver Trainer

What is your favourite type of diving?

That’s very difficult to answer; definitely warmer than 25 degrees! Mostly blue water diving and walls, like Little Brother in the Red Sea.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

Diving with Emperor is always very special. We offer various trips for all levels of divers including advanced to professional divers. Sharks, cave systems, amazing reefs, walls, wrecks, you name it, we have it. We always have a good mix of nationalities (both guides and guests) on our boats so you’ll have a great time above and underwater. Oh and don’t forget the food – you definitely won’t lose weight during your trip.  🙂

We love diving; it’s really our passion and we love to share our world with you and show you our favourite spots.

Nitrox is free on all our boats in the Maldives and the Red Sea – if you’re not yet certified, don’t worry you can get certified while on safari.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

Easy to answer – Little Brother in the Red Sea. I tell people that Little Brother always has a surprise for them. I’ve had my best dives there; encounters with hammerheads coming incredibly close, swimming past slowly and very often coming back, again and again. It’s not uncommon to get five different kinds of sharks on one dive, but one lucky day, a magnificent juvenile whale shark swam past me and my group so we even got to see six different shark species on one dive – what a feeling!

You get threshers, white tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, scalloped hammerheads and oceanic white tips and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a whale shark or a manta ray swims past. But that’s not everything, the walls at Little Brother are full of beautiful soft coral and some incredibly huge gorgonian fans. Even though it’s small and there can be strong currents, I could dive it every single day.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Red Sea: incredible visibility, wreck dives, reef dives, hammerhead dives, pinnacle dives, advanced diving, beginner diving, plus, the best value you can find anywhere!

Maldives: channel dives, manta cleaning stations, pinnacle dives, reef dives, manta night dives, whale shark snorkelling, whale sharks and mantas at night behind the boat, hammerhead blue dives, amazing night dives with sharks and rays.

Indonesia: muck diving, manta cleaning stations, hammerhead blue dives, best coral reefs in the world (it’s the centre of the Coral Triangle), whale sharks, reef dives; you name it, Indonesia essentially has it all.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I love my role as a dive guide. I get to meet people every week who love the same thing as I do and since they are spending a whole week on board I get to hear some of their stories and diving adventures from all over the world. I just love being in the water and showing people “my” world. I try my best to make everybody‘s trip a once in a lifetime experience.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

Well I love the hammerheads in the Red Sea, their behaviour is fascinating. I truly believe that they are interacting with us divers, coming to check us out, being curious and circling around us. Just last week I saw four hammerheads at around 35 metres depth, this was in the second half of the dive so most of my group was at 20 metres on their way up to start their safety stop. Once I made my way up to them I turned around and two of the four hammerheads were swimming up to us to a depth of less than 20 metres! So everybody got to see them in the end. But I must say my true love are whale sharks, at every encounter I’m stunned by their beauty. Everytime I get to see one I have tears in my eyes – no kidding! So far I’ve only seen juveniles; I can’t wait to go and dive with Emperor Maldives to see some bigger ones.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We have just got a fourth boat operating in the Red Sea from Hurghada and Port Ghalib, Emperor Echo. We keep trying to find ways to be innovative and provide an even better service for our guests. Also exciting is that we’re working on new routes to offer divers more options, especially divers who have been to the Red Sea a lot of times. We are also planning to offer Dolphin and Dugong focused tours.

As a centre what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

The biggest problem for me is rubbish in the sea; it is incredible that on every dive there is something to be collected. It affects the oceans and the marine life. The other problem is overfishing; there are a lot less fish now than there were years ago, which means fewer big animals, which could mean less divers. We are still lucky to be able to usually have weekly shark, turtle and ray encounters, especially in the south, but we must take better care of our oceans.

Is your centre involved in any environmental work?

We are trying to reduce plastic waste as much as possible; you won’t find straws or single use plastic cups on our boats. Our guests receive a water bottle at the beginning of the week and are encouraged to refill and reuse it.

We also encourage people to collect debris underwater and we of course collect as much as possible ourselves to set a good example. Emperor Red Sea also works closely with HEPCA and supports them in ways to manage the Red Sea.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I think the diving and snorkelling industry is a great way for people to discover the oceans first hand and therefore care for it more. It is the easiest way to educate people about marine life and the environment. The most important thing is that professionals or tour operators have to respect nature and follow rules. It is the professional, the diving instructor or the snorkel guide, who is a role model for customers and should inform them about the rules e.g. picking starfish up to take pictures with them is not okay, dolphins don’t like to be touched etc. In fact, no marine life should be touched.

What would you say to Scubaverse readers to promote the diving you have to offer?

We operate in some of the best value-for-money and easy-to-access diving destinations in the world. You will not find better locations for the money than the Red Sea, the Maldives and Indonesia with Emperor Divers.

The Red Sea has some of the best visibility and colourful hard corals in the world, the Maldives has some of the best manta action and fish-filled dive sites in the world and Indonesia has a bit of everything, whilst being the most bio-diverse underwater environment on earth at the centre of the Coral Triangle.

Where can our readers find out more about your business?

Team Scubaverse

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Team Scubaverse manages the Scubaverse website

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