From my very first moment underwater, I was hooked on the unique emotions, the ability to breathe underwater like a fish and the feeling of becoming a part of an environment which had always been, until then, a dream of mine. It was that day my underwater adventure started. In the following days, I began the Junior Open Water Diver course with my first instructor, Stefano Pelloni, a great teacher who was able to transmit both his passion and enthusiasm to a ten-year-old boy.
In the beginning, both the studying and the physical demands of diving were difficult, especially as I didn’t know some of the theoretical concepts yet. However, the satisfaction I had when I passed the written exam and the last confined water dive was huge. I was finally a certified diver. Also that day, it just so happened that my mother met a work colleague in the village where her colleague’s partner dived with the club, L’Altreamarea in Casalpusterlengo, and from that day, they welcomed me with open arms.
When we returned to Italy, I started diving in the protected marine area of Portofino. Being from Milan where there is no sea, I always had to go in search of my natural element. After a few years of being an Junior Open Water Diver, I worked with Giovanni Tersini, my first mentor and a person who never tired of accompanying me patiently and pushing me to overcome all the difficulties, in order to achieve my second certification, the Advanced Junior Open Water Diver certification. This further increased my diving possibilities.
At the age of 13, I learned about a diving fair in Italy, EUDI. There, I met Luca Occulto and learned about the I Sete Mari diving center. From that fair, my real underwater journey to becoming a diving professional really began. I started attending the Asinara National Camp on the island of Asinara. It was an experience that allowed me to truly understand what diving is and how to experience the sea in 360°. Every day we were directly in contact with nature in the day and the night. During these camps, I fell in love with the sea but primarily with diving. From the time I spent and the experiences I enjoyed, I understood what I wanted to do when I grew up, and what my dream was, namely becoming a diving instructor.
From that moment on, I committed to the maximum of my abilities to take in as much as possible of the knowledge that was imparted during those two weeks: the equipment, the physics, the physiology, the skills and everything that revolved around the world of the sea and diving. It was in those years that I took various specialty courses, such as marine biology, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Equipment Specialist and many others that were each one a step further towards my dream of becoming a diving instructor.
In 2020, I arrived in Sardinia to complete my first professional-level course, Divemaster. From the moment I opened the manual, I understood that I was getting closer and closer to my dream. I read and studied the entire manual within a week, I loved it that much. When we started practical elements in the water, I was even happier. I also finally understood what it meant and how it felt to be on the other side, to be a diving professional. Time passed, and I completed two seasons as a Divemaster, assisting with Discover Scuba Diving experiences and ReActivate programs. I became even more convinced that what I wanted to do was be a diving instructor.
In February 2023, the turning point came. After a call to our PADI Regional Manager in Italy, Fabio Figurella, we learned of a project to help become an Instructor; finally my dream had real chances of coming true. From that day, everything changed. I left a stable and well-paid job to bet on my future. As soon as the Instructor Development Course started, I immediately began working hard again. With Paolo Micarelli, our Course Director, Andrea Gloghini, Luca Pellizzari, Valentina Valoncini and Davide Peta, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot. The team also did a great job preparing the candidates for the exam. The exam days were perhaps two of the most intense and emotional days of my life. Thanks to the level of preparation, we all passed the exam with excellent results. But above all, I managed to achieve my dream from that first day of Asinara National Camp – becoming a diving instructor.
So this is the story of how a simple birthday present to a 10-year-old boy resulted in a dream job. The journey of becoming a diving instructor involved a lot of efforts and numerous sacrifices. There were also plenty of emotions, including some I find indescribable.
Ultimately, the ability to breathe underwater is something incredible. But beyond this, the ability to teach people, especially children, how to do it is the most beautiful thing in the world .
Ready to begin your own journey into the world of scuba diving? Whether your ultimate goal is becoming a PADI Professional or you just want to experience the best of the underwater world as a recreational diver, sign up for your PADI and get started today!
This guest blog post was original written in Italian by Andrea Rovelli, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.