Becoming a Divemaster on Gili T - The what, why and where

divediOk, let’s get started. To get everyone on the same page I’ll tell you what a divemaster is and what does it take to become one. Also I’m sharing some thoughts about picking a destination to do the course and why I decided to become a divemaster in the first place.

The six to twelve week divemaster course certifies a diver to the first level of professional rating with PADI. To begin the divemaster course, candidates must have at least 40 logged dives and have completed their Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Emergency First Responder and Rescue Diver Courses. By that time you’ve build up some experience and a have solid understanding of safe and confident diving. This means you are ready to take the next step up the diving ladder.

The costs for the divemaster course is mostly depending on your chosen destination. In cheap places like South East Asia it can be done for as little as 1500,- while in Australia or anywhere in Europe it can easily be double that amount. Also by the time you are ready to go pro, it may be time to think about some of your own gear to get the most out of the course. Consider buying your own dive computer (between 250 - 600) and maybe even a rashguard, wetsuit, tankbanger/pointer and surface marker & reel.

For me personally, after I completed my Open Water course in Australia and my Advanced Open Water in Thailand 4 years ago, I knew is was hooked on diving and this was not the end. To keep on diving proved to be more difficult then expected and I ended up not diving up until the point I arrived in Indonesia. Shame on me!

Becoming a divemaster requires a major commitment both financially and in time so choose wisely and try to determine what your motivation is to do this course so you can get most out of it. For many, the divemaster course is a stepping stone to becoming an instructor. For me, firstly my motivation was to become a (better) underwater videographer/photographer. However, not even a week into my course I already felt so inspired by looking at my instructors that I wanted to become ‘one of them’ and actually make a living out of teaching diving. As in many things in live this one applies: never try, never know!

For me the decision to go South East Asia for this was easy. I always wanted to go to Bali and My Advanced Open Water course on Koh Tao, Thailand ticked a lot of boxes for me in terms of lifestyle and environment. Obviously I went and looked for something similar. I knew I wanted somewhere with a laidback lifestyle (‘island life’) low cost of living and of course a lot of young (or young at heart) people to share all these new experiences with.  And not to mention, good diving!

After some online research and talking to friends I focused on Indonesia and found this amazing little group of 3 islands between Bali and Lombok, known as “the Gili’s” (Trawangan, Meno and Air). They are frequently compared to Koh Tao in terms of lifestyle. The waters were warm, the sea life abundant, the island setting beautiful, and the pace of life simple. Count me in.

As said, you will be spending a lot of time in a certain area/dive shop so I’d strongly suggest you do not book this course in advance. I decided to ask around on Bali and already got tons of free advice on where to go. Here I found out that on Gili Trawangan, the biggest and busiest of the three, all the prices are the same. Just to the make your life easier, because price is now not a deciding factor anymore.

 The very first day on the island I set of with a notebook and wrote down some questions about the course and made my way around the island. I was looking for a good vibe in general and a professional looking shop. Also it was mainly about finding a group of people that you want to spend everyday with for the next weeks or even months.

Some shops I just walked straight by, not getting this good vibe from the outside. Other ones were too big or too remote. Also some shops did not even have time to talk to me, a sign for me that they were too busy for my liking. The one shop I walked out from with a small bintang and a very big smile was Dive Central Gili. From the very first second I felt very welcome and they seemed to have plenty of them ‘good vibes’.