Dive Central Gili's PADI Women
To celebrate PADI's first ever Women's dive day we have put together a montage of all the women from our dive shop, why they got into scuba diving, how they got into scuba diving and why they all love it so much! No longer a male orientated sport, scuba diving is seeing more and more women come up through to the professional ranks and make lives and names for themselves in the scuba world. Here's the the ladies of Dive Central Gili!
Sumeena is originally from England and has been living in Indonesia on and off for just under 10 years.
"That's the best thing I've ever done". I love hearing these words from my guests, it's the reason I decided I had to have a dive shop on my resort. #everydiveisafundive at Dive Central Gili - from the first Discover Scuba Dive, to the 100th naked dive, to that final Dive Master snorkel test (well, you have a mask on!). Everyone comes back from their scuba dive with a smile on their face and that just makes the atmosphere at Pesona Resort even better.
I'm lucky to be on an island with many successful women in the diving world, as business owners and instructors. My feeling about scuba diving and PADI is that it's very gender equal. I don't see or feel any difference towards me as a women in the scuba diving world. In fact, I feel owning a scuba diving shop as a women makes it easier for me to introduce scuba diving to people who are apprehensive about taking that first backwards roll into the under water world.
Felicity is 23 and is from Sweden.
Next year will be my 10th year as a scuba diver. And every time I dive, I love it more and more. Scuba diving is an absolute drug, something that’s in my blood that I cannot live without. However my journey in to diving did not start this way. I was 14 years old and my father had put me and my two siblings on an Open Water Course in Sweden in mid-December. During two days I was sitting on a sandy bottom in a dry suit that was leaking, the water temperature was 2 degrees Celsius, the visibility was less than 5 meters and I absolutely hated life. Where the hell is the fun in this?! To celebrate the fact that we all got our certificate my father bought us a 2 week diving holiday in Egypt. Normally I would be jumping of joy, but this time, not so much. 2 weeks of this hell? Urgh. Well when the day came that we were going to do our first dive in Hurghada, I jumped in the water and suddenly everything just changed. Okay THIS is diving! Dolphins, mantas, devil rays, turtles, sharks, 2 meter moray eels, thousands of fish, coral like I couldn’t believe in water that was 30 degrees Celsius. That was the day my life changed. And now that I dive in Sweden, it’s actually not too bad!
I love seeing how the industry in diving has changed over these 10 years, today it’s no longer just men that are diving, it is women, children, couples, pensioners and families! Diving is really for everyone and anyone that’s brave enough to step out of their comfort zone to try something new. I’ve never been treated differently because I was a woman, I’ve always been treated like a fellow diver and always been welcomed with open arms at new dive centers. If you’re a diver you’re a part of the family! So if you haven’t tried it, do! Who knows, maybe you’ll love it as much as I do!
Jeniffer is from New Jersey, USA and is 27 years old
My boyfriend pressured me to scuba dive when we were traveling around South East Asia, it was the number one activity to do while back packing. I was very nervous about it and was not keen to try it out. After completing my PADI open water course I was hooked and stayed in Koh Tao for 7 months to complete my PADI Advanced open water, the PADI rescue course, and then the PADI divemaster course. If it wasn’t for my amazing instructor, who knows what I'd be doing right now!
I was the only girl out of 11 guys who were training for their PADI dive master course. It was very intimidating and I was always proving to myself and to the guys that I was a professional and that I was serious about becoming certified. I’m so proud to say that I completed my divemaster training before my boyfriend and it felt very satisfying!
It was the best feeling in the world to be a certified divemaster. After diving every day for 7 months I had to go back to reality, which was not the best feeling in the world, I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Back in California I worked for three years serving tables and working doubles (18 hour shifts) to save up to do my PADI Instructor Development course in Indonesia. It was not only a goal but a dream of mine. As a woman, diving built up my confidence and changed me to be a better person. When I came to the Gili islands I was highly nervous about my IDC, I was hoping that I wouldn't be the only girl in the class like I was for my DMT, but after meeting the instructors at Trawangan Dive Center (mind you, half the staff are women instructors anyway!) I felt so much better about myself.
Then I met Holly. For those of you who don't know Holly, she is a PADI Course Director on Gili Trawangan. Her knowledge and warm company made me strive to become the instructor I am today. My new goal/dream today is to mentor my students just like Holly mentored me. Women like her give other women in the diving industry hope that we can do this job just as good as men, if not better!
After completing my Instructor course I headed out to Singapore for the Asia Diving ExPo show (ADEX) and just by chance this year they were celebrating women divers. I never felt so proud and honored to be part of an event that focused on women and scuba diving. I got to meet amazing women: Amanda Cotton, Cristina Zenato, and Lia Barrett. They discussed on how to get yourself out there by getting involved in not just diving but saving our aquatic life and conservation. So needless to say my job as instructor just got more extensive. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me; changing people's lives and changing the world with extraordinary women divers by my side.
Kazi is 29 and is from Warsaw, Poland
How did I become a diving instructor... I'm not going to lie, it wasn't my dream since I was a kid, although my favorite Disney character was always the Little Mermaid (I'm not sure if that’s got anything to do with it!) Truly that was an adventurous ride through accidents, circumstances, followed by thinking with my heart and not my head decisions that brought me to where I am now. I like to think that this journey started long before I even knew about 3 little islands in the middle of Indonesia. To start with, I was supposed to travel South America, but couldn't find a companion. So, instead I joined my mate that was leaving New Zealand to travel with his girlfriend across the world to Canada (He didn't make there either).
So let's start with how I came to Gilis for just 3 days (well that was the plan). We arrived late in the evening after a long trip from Bali that took us almost the whole day!! Yes, we wanted to save some money (as backpackers do) so we chose the slow boat. To get to the ferry we had to hire a taxi in Bali then take a bus, of course another taxi once we arrived to Lombok, when we finally got to Bangsal harbor it was late and there was no public boat anymore so we had to pay extra to get the transfer to Gili Air and seriously I thought that we would never get there... We saved around 30.000IDR…great!!! I'll never do that again.
As soon as we arrived a friend of a friend was waiting for us, she was a Dive Master in one of the dive shops and of course took us straight to sign up for diving. So I sat there with my massive backpack, empty stomach, with no clue where I am, and where I was going to sleep, filing the PAID Open Water Course paperwork, excited but nervous at the same time. We were starting the next day...
It was love from the first try... I couldn't believe how amazing it felt to be able to breath underwater, swimming with turtles, watching all the fish. It was just like being in one of the National Geographic programs...totally inside of it. My instructor was a very cool South African guy and so I continued with the PADI Advance Open Water. By then I was spending the whole day in the dive shop, meeting the crew, talking about diving... I didn't know much back then but everything sounded so exciting. So of course I continued with the Rescue Course. I said good bye to my mates and promised him that I'd join them in a few days. Well as you can imagine, that is not what happened! I calculated my money and signed up for the PADI Dive Master Program (somewhere in the middle of my Rescue Course) and it was the best decision I've ever made!
Two years later I'm still here enjoying my life, spending all of my days under the blue sky of Indonesia. Thankfully during that time I met some amazing people that have pushed me to do more. I’ve made friends that believed in me, gave me courage and a helping hand whenever I needed it. And they still do. Without these characters I wouldn't be able to be who I am right now. But the most important thing is that I found my two greatest loves...scuba diving and future husband to be...
I just love being underwater, surrounded by pure nature so fragile and beautiful. I'll never stop enjoying the weightlessness that it gives you. Freedom to fly on the current or explore the new dive site and the fact that every time you go below the surface it's always different. That is why I wanted to teach... To be the first person to show people how amazing diving can be. And even though I'm still learning, I want to pass on all of my knowledge, and help to mold brand new scuba divers.
Diving changes your perspective. You stop looking at the horizon in the same way as you did before. You don't see just a flat, massive amount of blue water, because you know that underneath there is not only an explosion of life but also a challenge for you and your skills.
The ocean keeps you humble... One day it can be your best friend, the next day it can be your worst enemy. It makes you realize that there is always more to learn and that you can always push your limits. It's infinity makes me want to go further and deeper. My aim is to try everything there is... From being in icy cold water, so clear that you lose your sense of reality, dark underwater caves where every move and action could be fatal, exploring the wrecks that are like entering a time machine, taking you back to the past.
I'm just at the very beginning of my life long journey that will take me all over the world and even though I started a bit late, the journey is only going to keep speeding up. For me, being underwater is a unique experience and I want to share it with everyone. There is nothing more rewarding than showing people this ocean planet and how it can teach us so much.
Cheryl, 29 from England
A massively shy person, I decided to suck it up one year and started to tick some things off my bucket list. I travelled abroad by myself, (got on the right plane and everything!) I did a bungee jump (actually jumped off of a bridge over a river in Canada!) and then a sky dive (I jumped out of a plane!!!) After all that, I began looking for the next adrenaline pumped activity to do. My Aunt was a divemaster and she suggested scuba diving. Ok for her to say I thought, she lived in the Caribbean! Where was I supposed to dive living in London?
I found a place though, in Kent. And when I walked in (by myself!) there were seals playing with divers on the TV. I was hooked as soon as Phill, the manager, told me that it was filmed in Newcastle!
The dive shop was very male orientated. Lots of big, burly English guys who loved beer and banter. I was a little bit intimidated, but they all turned out to be big softies and I had so much fun on my PADI open water course. A week later I went to the Red Sea on my first trip diving abroad. I was hooked.
There were a few times when I did feel outnumbered as a girl at Diving Unlimited. However, this made me push myself harder. I didn’t want to be known and the whingy girl who is scared of everything or who chucks her guts up over the side of the dive boat. So I proved myself, I went on every dive that was offered and didn’t moan about being cold or tired or about the visibility being rubbish. I became part of the team and ended up becoming assistant manager!
After a bit of friendly peer pressure, I decided to complete my PADI rescue diver course and then, inevitably, started my PADI divemaster course. It was amazing! You have to really love diving to complete your divemaster training in England. 9 months of being a dive skivvy to anyone who asked for help, training in questionable swimming pools and in cold dark lakes. I met loads of people, some who are now some of my bestest friends, most of them girls, who have gone through the diving ranks with me. My divemaster certificate was my ticket to the rest of the world. I always wanted to travel and now I had a job wherever there was water. I did my PADI assistant instructor and left for the warmer waters of South East Asia.
After a series of events, none of them planned and all complete fate, I came to Gili Trawangan. I am now part of an amazing team at Dive Central Gili, where more than half of us are girls! These girls are the loveliest bunch of strong, confident young women who are the nicest, bubbliest, most fun people to be around. Being away from home is not always easy. But these girls soften the blow with their consistent happy go lucky attitude to life.
Everything happens for a reason and everything that I have done in the past had brought me here, to this place, with these people with a long trail of amazing friends behind me who I will always be in touch with. Every woman I have met during my journey from PADI open water to Assistant instructor is amazing and inspiring and if I get to meet another bunch half as good as the gang I have already then I will be very lucky indeed. Girl Power!
Victoria is 25 and from Nottingham, England
My mum! My mum got me into diving... Perfect for padi women's day So a huge shout out to my mum for setting everything in motion for me to have this wonderful lifestyle; love you!
When I was 12 and I told my parents I wanted to study marine biology "when I grow up" and my mum thought diving would be helpful, obviously not realising diving would become my passion. For my 13th birthday she took me for a try dive in a pool and after that I was hooked. Open water and advanced at 13, rescue at 16, dive master at 20 and finally instructor at 22. There was also the studying of marine biology in between!
I was lucky enough to have an amazing instructor from OW to rescue; Gemma, who really inspired me to dive; She is a bubbly person and gave such attention and dedication to me when I was learning. Although I didn't really think at the time I would do this professionally I knew I loved it and I felt I was good at it and she always encouraged me.
When I was doing my dive master in Mexico I met my boyfriend Ivan. After going back to the UK to finish my final year of Uni, I joined him in Thailand where I did my instructor course (4girlies and only 2 lads) and began working on a live-a-board in Similan Islands. I have worked there for three seasons and throughout that time I have had the pleasure to meet some truly amazing people but as it is lady's day I will focus on them
One of my best friends is Sofie, an Austrian instructor who I have worked with the past three years, she has had a crazy kind of life but never let anything that she has experienced bring her down... She is an inspiration for me both as a person and an instructor. When we started we were both newbies but soon we realised our strengths and somehow she always took the most difficult students into beautiful divers. Also she is proof that tattoos and diving can fit perfectly well together!
Also just to mention the other beautiful ladies I worked with at SDS; Ari, Wendy, Jade, Mayumi, Lisa and Marilyn... Hopefully you are all diving today and if not I bet you wish you were.
And now just a really big thank you to all the ladies here at Dive Central Gili for welcoming me to the team.
I genuinely feel from my experiences over the past 13ish years of diving is that this is an industry that appreciates women just as much as men. After all you can find pink equipment sooooo easily (not that I'm a fan)
Despite having worked with more men than women I believe many more women are getting into diving and hopefully we can inspire them to go further.
Laura is 28 and from Hull, England
My brother Ben went off traveling and came back as a certified PADI open water diver. All he could talk about was how amazing it was. I thought I would give it a go and I knew it would be something that I would enjoy, but never in all my dreams did I think that it would eventually become my career.
After traveling South East Asia and then heading to Australia, I gave scuba diving a go for the first time on the Great Barrier Reef (what a start!) I was absolutely hooked!
I returned back to the UK to save up for my next trip. I originally planned to be away for 6 months so I headed back to South East Asia and found myself in Koh Toa. This is where myself and 6 other girls became certified PADI open water divers! I went straight into my PADI advanced course.
Fast forward 6 months and one of my friends, a fellow female instructor, convinced me to extend my trip and come to Gili Trawangan to become a PADI divemaster… What a way to end my trip!
That was September 2013 and I am still here living my dream. Here at Dive Central, the newest (and best!) dive shop on the island, we have seven PADI pros who are women…. Girl power at DCG!
The support of fellow female PADI professionals has got me where I am today. The aspiration to be like them is what drives me further forward in my career as a scuba diver and a scuba diving teacher.
Linda is 22 from Germany
I completed my PADI open water course last October in Thailand. My friend was already a certified diver and she told me all about how fantastic her course was.
I was curious to find out what all the fuss was about and that’s why I took the PADI open water course. When I did my first dive in the ocean I wasn’t very comfortable at all. However, thanks to my amazing diving instructor who was so lovely, my confidence grew. She made me feel secure and was almost like an underwater mother figure to me! I don’t think that I would have felt as comfortable with a man and I think I would have had a very different experience.
After I completed this course I knew that I wanted to continue and become a PADI divemaster.
3 weeks ago I received my divemaster certification and I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to have this experience.
Happy PADI Women's day girls! Let's celebrate all the fabulous women who are now in the diving profession!