I never thought I would become a Scuba Diving Instructor. The entire time Matt was studying it never even occurred to me that it would be something I would like to do. I was happy being shown around, taking photos, doing my own thing. But my desire to create grew it became more and more obvious that I would need to better myself – because sometimes you need to give a little to get where you want to be. This is the story of how I completed my a PADI Instructor Course with Divers Den.
When Matt and I arrived to Cairns, it was my understanding that to be an underwater photographer, I would only need to have my Dive Master certification under my belt – hence why I completed it in Mexico. It became quickly apparent that Australia is a bit more stringent with the rules, so I had to be a bit more flexible with my job prospects. I begun working with a small dive company, taking pictures of bucketlisting tourists with our famous clown fish, Nemo! I was stoked – I was working as an underwater photographer on the Great Barrier Reef.
While I was doing that, Matt was working as an instructor with Divers Den, and told the boss about me. The boss made an offer – do my PADI Instructor Course, then go work for Divers Den (an extremely reputable company). I tapped out. Why would I pay a few thousand dollars to do the exact same job. A few weeks later, another offer was put on the table: be the photographer/videographer for the Divers Den minke whale expedition season as an internship, and THEN become a PADI Instructor. Then I could continue to work for Divers Den as a photographer/videographer. How could I refuse?
Well mates, you know how that went. I had the best time of my life. It was such an incredible experience – I wrote a whole blog post about it. I even had to snub my visiting bestest friend to do it, but I know she forgave me, so it was worth it (at least I think she did. I hope so!).
Generally internships are offered at Divers Den by working as Dive Masters, assisting daily scuba, snorkelling and boat activities. Honestly the regular internships looked just as fun and definitely worthwhile to get some industry experience under your belt.
The PADI Instructor Development Course
Next up was the hard yards. The Instructor Development Course (IDC) is 3 solid weeks of theory, pool demonstrations and one sweet weekend on Ocean Quest – Divers Den’s liveaboard. Our instructor was serious business, but set us up for success.
The Divers Den IDC prepares you for the exam theory, which covers standards & procedures, diving physiology, diving physics, the recreational dive planner, diving skills & equipment, and the diving environment. There are SO MANY practice exams, I thought my head would spin off.
You also practice the open water skills circuit over and over and over and over. This was the most difficult for me, because I don’t suffer idiots well haha. The instructor taught us how to remember the rescue 7 exercise, which is especially difficult.
To top it all off, the group heads out to the reef for a couple of nights to put all the skills to the test – practicing in the open ocean. Don’t get too excited though – there was still plenty of practice tests.
The Instructor Exam
The PADI Instructor Course is made up of 6 exams, 1 knowledge development demonstration, 5 confined water demonstrations & 1 confined water skill lesson, 2 ocean demonstrations & the rescue 7 exercise. I found the theory easy, but the practical demonstrations quite challenging.
The first day was pool skills and theory exams. It was held in small hotel in central Cairns. The pool was ultra shallow and freezing cold – neither of which helped made the skill display any easier. I won’t lie – I aced the 5 skill demonstrations, but almost failed my skill lesson.
Day 2 was held on the beautiful Fitzroy Island – notorious for bad visibility. Unbelievably luck was on our side and the visibility was 15m+. Completed both my ocean skills fine and my rescue exercise first go. Happy days! The stress was over!
Life as a PADI Instructor
So although I did a little work as an instructor – did a couple of courses and non photographer work on the boats – but nothing really interested me. Photo work was where I wanted to be. I had an absolute amazing time working as a photographer on Divers Den boats, and if circumstances permitted, I would work there for years and years. In the end I am really glad the I completed my PADI Instructor Course. Wanna know why I loved it? Just check these photos out…