I feel I've gained valuable experience
in many areas. I have been introduced to and accepted into a completely different
culture. Obviously, in becoming a Divemaster, I have not only improved my diving
skills and knowledge to a professional level, but have also learned the skills and
responsibilities of being a leader and having people under my care.
Aside from the professional aspects, I have had the opportunity to experience living
daily life in an extremely remote
environment, having to think carefully about what I need and not having the luxury
of just popping down to the shop. Furthermore, as all of the staff are working and
living in such close quarters, I have been able to experience being part of a tight-knit
family atmosphere, and all that that brings with it! I have made many friends that
I hope to keep for years to come, and gained an insight into a completely different
lifestyle that, to be honest, suits me much better than what we have here!
The best thing about my placement so far is a hard question to answer. On the one
hand, I have the opportunity to work
in this brilliant environment; diving, catching snakes, finding new reefs (We found
2!), guiding, and constantly meeting new people. On the other hand, I've had the
chance to become part of the Pulau Tiga family, getting to know the staff over the
course of the 3 months, looking out for each other and making fun of each other
in equal measure!
I honestly can't speak highly enough of the people involved in this project. Julius
and Albert were brilliant at making
me feel at home in Sabah and both of them did a fantastic job in making sure I was
taken care of. Julius especially, I probably count him, along with many of the watersports
crew, amongst my close friends now!
It was a really brilliant experience and it has given me a taste of a lifestyle
that I definitely want to have for myself.
Due to this, I have made many new lifelong friends and learnt many skills that will
stay with me forever. I am planning on returning to Sabah extremely soon
What type of person would this placement suit?
As long as you are comfortable in water and on boats, and like to meet new people,
you should be fine. Depending on
how active/ lazy you are, there are plenty of activities to do. You could be playing
volleyball or going for a fun dive with the staff, or you could be sitting at the
bar chatting and drinking coffee or reading in a hammock by the beach.
Due to the remote nature, I think it is important to be quite an independent person.
You need to be comfortable not having your family and friends from home around you. You need to be able step up and proactively volunteer to do work, as the staff won't feel comfortable ordering you about. The good side of this is you can rest as much as you need and no one will shout
At times, if there are no guests, it can get a little boring. But if that happens
just read a book, have a nap or call
at your friends room and watch a movie!
Can you describe a typical day?
Usually, I would wake up around 8:15-8:30 and straight away help the watersports
crew put the boats in the water. After
that, we quickly go for breakfast. If there was a Snake Island tour that day, I
would usually be the one to do it. Around 9:00 I would round up the guests going
to the snake island and head towards the boat with one of the boatmen. If there
was no snake island tour that morning, I would help with whatever needs doing, such
as filling the air tanks etc.
On the boat I would introduce myself and the boatman to the guests as we head towards
the snake island. On the island,
I would give a fairly thorough briefing on the safety procedures and also some information
on the snakes. We would then spend 45 minutes or so scouring the island catching
the sea snakes, letting the guests hold them and take pictures of them.
Before heading back to the island, we stop off at the sand spit for 40 minutes to
1 hour, letting the guests go snorkelling
around the reefs. In this time I usually catch up on some lost sleep in the boat
from the night before!
By the time we get back it is around 11am. Usually, I will go to the jetty to welcome
the incoming guests. 11:30 is
the usual time for the morning dive if there are guests diving. Depending on the
skill level of the divers, I would act as either assistant to the divemaster, or
as the divemaster. In both cases I would help the guests choose and assemble their
gear. If I was divemaster, I brief them fully on the dive location, safety procedures,
common fish and reef topography.
Around midday we get into the boat and head towards the dive site, usually Asmara
Point or Larai-Larai. During the dive
I stay in front, with another divemaster at the rear, or vice-versa. I try my best
to make sure the dive was as enjoyable as possible by firstly making sure everyone
is safe and comfortable in the water, and secondly pointing out all of the cool
Arriving back around 2:00pm, I grab a late lunch with my instructor Julius. Amongst
other things, we chat about my progress,
and also jobs for the afternoon. These jobs can include filling the air tanks, taking
the afternoon dive, cleaning the watersports centre, or studying for my exams. I
continue doing whatever is needed until around 5pm, where I will help bring the
boats back in for the night. After that, I rest for 2 hours before grabbing a shower
and heading to dinner around 7:30pm. I'm always too tired to play volleyball!
I eat dinner at the bar with Julius and often with the guests who came to the snake
island/diving with me that day.
After winding down for the day, I head to the karaoke room to play pool and chat
with the guests. Around 11pm, the staff often go to the jetty to relax and swim
and enjoy a beer or two.
Afterwards, around 1:00am, I usually head back to one of my friends' rooms, where
we watch movies and play games, winding
down (and drying off) before heading back to my room for the night.