My name is Matt and I am the amazing partner of Monique. I wanted to share my story of how I advanced my scuba diving skills and qualifications from a PADI Open Water diver with just 20 logged dives to a PADI Divemaster. When Monique and I began to travel the world, I decided that I would try to gain some additional income by doing something I love.
Dive Master Program at Blue Corner Dive Nusa Lembongan
The journey began with detailed research to decide on a great dive centre. We got in contact with a lovely lady named Rosie Dixon, who is the PADI Divemaster trainer at Blue Corner Dive in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia. Her response was so detailed, explaining what to expect and see in Nusa Lembongan, its dive sites, cost of living on the island, the course details and inclusions, plus a comprehensive quote allowing me to choose different package options to suit our requirements. I was so excited after reading the email that I booked in straight away.
We arrived at the island start of August with the Divemaster journey set to start the next day. When we first turned up to the Blue Corner we were greeted by the exciting and always joyful Rosie Dixon, who told us she would be there for anything we needed throughout the stay. Believe me, she was a woman of her word – going out of her way numerous times to ensure we enjoyed our experience.
Pre-Dive Master Requirements
The course started with Monique and I completing our PADI Advance Open Water certification. I then progressed with 2 other PADI Divemaster Trainees to complete our First Aid with Instructor Made P and then PADI Rescue Diver course with Instructor Made G (AKA Mola Mola King). To this day, the PADI Rescue course was the most exciting and action-packed course I have completed. Made G taught us various skills and techniques we can use to help a distressed or panic diver, unconscious diver, or missing diver. He then tested our abilities to implement these skills by acting out various scenarios himself and having us rescue him (he was such a good actor).
Once the course was complete I had to ensure I had 40 logged dives. This gave me the opportunity to really take in and explore the 12 dive sites and clear waters around the 3 islands; Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. I saw SOOOO much marine life including thousands of colourful coral species, turtles, white tip sharks, hammerhead, bamboo sharks, manta rays, loads of nudibranchs and fish species and of course, Nusa Lembongan’s elusive mola mola. To this day, the Nusa Islands have been the best diving I have ever experienced in the world!!
Time to Become a Divemaster!
Once I logged 40 dives I was eligible to become a PADI Divemaster Trainee. The Divemaster course began with a detailed orientation including the following:
- The Divemaster course requirements and expectations
- Blue Corner Dive daily scheduling and booking system
- Customers pre-dive PADI administration requirements
- Sizing and packing equipment for customers using rental gear
This allowed us to get involved with all elements of the dive shop operation, training you to become more versatile in the industry. During the orientation Rosie told use “you will get as much out of this course as you put in” …Totally true! A dive computer and SMB are mandatory for the course, so be prepared!
The course generally goes for 4 weeks but can be completed early if needed. However, after the amazing experience I gained from staying the full term I would not recommend the express route if possible. If, like me, you need to do the pre-requisites as well, you can apply for a visa extension.
A Day in the Life of a Dive Master Trainee
The daily expectation during PADI Divemaster training required us to arrive at Blue Corner Dive at 7am to check the board for your daily activities and the Dive Instructor you’re assisting. You will assist the Instructor to gather rental equipment for the customers and ensure all PADI paperwork is completed before any diving activities (boring admin work I know, but it is extremely important).
Once complete, if you’re on the boat (most days you are), you will help carry all the equipment to the boat and begin setting up everyone’s equipment to tanks. You will soon become a super star at equipment set up! Gather your dive group, jump on your boat and head to the first dive site.
Once you arrive, if you have progressed enough through the course you can run the site briefing and guide the customers around the site. Dive 2 and 3, if applicable, will always be at a different location, but not before enjoying some AMAZING boat lunch with tea and coffee. Upon completion of the last dive you will return to the dive shop, clean the equipment, and log the dives with the customers.
In the afternoons you will either be doing theory with Rosie or reading through the PADI Divemaster Crew Pack (this pack is required to complete the course so make sure it’s included in the course quote).
Helping Instructors as a Divemaster
As part of the PADI Divemaster course, you will be required to assist the Instructors in each of the below courses:
- PADI Discover Scuba Dive
- PADI Open Water Course
- PADI Advanced Open Water Course
- PADI Rescue Course
Assisting in courses was my favourite, as I love teaching and engaging with people. After telling Rosie this she allowed me to assist in more courses, letting me get a real feel of what being an Instructor is like. Now I am addicted to teaching and want to become an Instructor. Damn you Rosie… Now I need to do my PADI Instructor Development Course!
What Skills Will You Learn as a Dive Master Trainee?
Let me give you a brief idea of the skills you will learn, making you not only a better diver, but also a leader.
- Dive equipment sizes, brands, and styles including basic maintenance and tank filling.
- PADI safety standards and the reasons they exist.
- How to read water conditions and plan dives appropriately according to other diver’s experience levels and certification.
- How to complete boat and dive site briefings.
- Compass and navigation skills, because let’s face it, you’re leading the way. Don’t get lost it’s embarrassing – my weak point at the start until I purchased a dive computer with an inbuilt compass; the Suunto D6i is now the dive computer I HIGHLY recommend.
- How to be a PADI professional and lead by example showing both good diving practices and environmental awareness.
- Search and recovery and using a lift bag (so much fun).
Now this might sound overwhelming to some, but trust me, it isn’t. These skills are practiced over and over again to the point of perfection. Blue Corner Dive will ensure you come out a super pro PADI Divemaster. They’re a PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre for a reason!
The Final Dive Master Skill Test
This brings me to the final test to pass the course: equipment exchange in the pool. Sharing from one regulator, 2 divers’ partner up, fully equipped and swap every piece of their equipment (except wetsuits). This was super scary at first, but once completed you feel like a super star.
If you’re brave enough, you can try the equipment exchange stress test! While you’re completing the exchange, Rosie will be down there interfering in various ways, testing your ability to stay underwater and resolve the problems under stressful (but playful) conditions. Super fun and, of course, safe. It’s voluntary, but you’ll want to give it a go!
No Wait… There’s One More Dive Master Test… It’s PADI Tradition
Once the equipment exchange is complete you have graduated and so start to relax, thinking it’s all over. Then Rosie informs you of the last test. Oh no… It’s the snorkel test! Rosie makes a cocktail of various alcoholic drinks in a carafe. In front of a crowd you will then have some fun games testing what you have learnt before sitting by the pool and fitting your mask and snorkel. Rosie pours the cocktail down your snorkel and you must drink as fast as possible! Hot tip; put a finger in the mask so you can breathe and drink faster. When the carafe and snorkel are empty you are now officially a PADI Divemaster. Of course, it’s not mandatory, but it’s crazy fun.
I must say I highly recommend this course to anyone who believes they would be interested in building up a high level of scuba diving skills or wants access to PADI Professional benefits including employment. I also recommend contacting Blue Corner Dive in Nusa Lembongan for all PADI diving courses including marine conservation. The shop is a PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre with 2 highly experienced PADI Course Directors and a team of super experienced, professional and engaging employees. Most importantly, the many dive sites available around the trio of islands are amazingly full of marine life. Now that I have completed the course and been titled a PADI Professional, it’s time to start engaging with various dive shops around the world to find our next adventure.