My name is Eleonora, and I just turned 19. I am now a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, and this is my story.
I was born on an island, Sardinia, and the sea has been the backdrop to my own life. Since I was a child, I have always been curious and thirsty for knowledge. Every time I saw the sea, it seemed to me that this giant was calling me.
One day during a summer camp, I met Luca Occulto, my instructor. I had become fascinated by the people coming out of the sea and decided to try diving for myself. I was tiny; the cylinder was almost taller than me, and the water seemed so deep. But the instant I put my head under the water, I found peace. I felt at home, and immediately understood that I was destined to breathe underwater, that I was born to live surrounded by more shades of blue than anyone could imagine. That day changed my life. Since then, I the big blue is always in my heart.
I began my journey at Asinara Camp, a 360-degree underwater camp that trains young divers.
Having been a student of the Asinara Camp over the years, I can say firsthand that it is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have in your life. For two weeks, on the island of Asinara, time stops and diving becomes a part of you. The training is based around the idea of respect for the underwater world. So over the years, and thanks to my parent’s many sacrifices, summer after summer, I progressed from from Open Water Diver to Advanced Open Water Diver. Eventually I realized that this would be my future, and as I turned 18, I became a PADI Divemaster.
I followed my big dream, and over the years, I have turned my greatest passion into my profession. My training path up to the PADI Divemaster certification was supported by Luca Occulto and Cristina Bonino, a marine biologist, at their project: Asinara Camp. Thanks to them, I have dived in some of the most beautiful MPAs in Italy. These include La Maddalena, where following a collaboration with the Italian Navy, I refined my technique and training, and the wonderful Ustica, in which I had the opportunity to participate in the survey of an ancient amphora.
When I became a PADI Divemaster, I started working right away at the diving school I Sette Mari, run by Luca Occulto. This is where I still serve as an Instructor. I decided to work with them, because I see the future of diving and the sea in children. They are the only opportunity for a future flowering of the universe beneath the surface. I think it’s important to convey love and respect towards the ocean to the new generations. It is essential that the message of working to preserve the ocean is passed on to as many people as possible. It was my immense love of the underwater world and the desire to inspire children, like me, who stand enchanted in front of aquariums and dream of swimming with sharks, that drove me to the decision to become a diving instructor.
An instructor teaches the technique, explains the manuals, has a lot of ethical/legal responsibility and puts a lot of effort in every day. But they also have the privilege of seeing the excitement in people’s eyes, of marveling at each dive as if it were the first, of sharing the bond with water to the world, and of doing (in my opinion) the best job in the world.
Thanks to the support of Fabio Figurella and PADI in April 2023, I undertook the Instructor Development Course. The course, which included some initial difficulties because I was constantly switching between diving and being a university student, was full of emotions: from a few tears for fear of not making it to the joy of the goals achieved day after day. The more I learned, the more I realized that this was my destiny. My course was supervised by Paolo Micarelli (PADI Course Director) and his IDC Staff. I had already had the pleasure of meeting him as a speaker at the Asinara Camp and knew I enjoyed his personality, his professionalism, and his way of living the diving life.
I saw the passion in Paolo’s eyes, and I told myself that one day I, too, wanted to be like that. In May 2023, I realized that dream as I became part of the large community of diving instructors. Now I still have a long way ahead of me, including many more ambitions, a wider world to discover and a lot more experience to gain, but in all of this, even though it scares me a little sometimes, there is one constant: the sea and diving.
I think that too often we forget that water, which both gives life and takes it away, is our essence, to be respected and preserved. I want to make people understand that we are all part of the same ecosystem.
I became an Instructor to be able to pass on my love for the sea and my passion for diving, to explain the beauty of the deep blue world to those who see “only water”, because the language of the sea is truly the only universal language.
Do you have dreams of becoming PADI Professional? There’s no time like the present. If you’re already a diver, sign up for your next diving course in order to work towards your career in the dive industry. Alternatively, if you’re new to the world of diving, sign up for your PADI Open Water Diver course below!
This guest blog post was originally written in Italian by Eleonora Idili, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.