Imagine turning your passion into a profession…how many people can say that? Embarking on my PADI Divemaster Internship was doing exactly that. Stepping into a world where the ocean became my office, I swapped work suits for wetsuits, and I haven’t looked back! It was a passport to a life less ordinary.

me after my stress test, still alive and feeling good
Image courtesy of Amadeusz Rozycki (@amadeuszrozycki)

Beware of Beginnings 

My first diving experience was my PADI Open Water Diver certification course in Panama. I guess you could say I really jumped into it all head first. Warm water, incredible marine life and coral in every colour of the rainbow greeted me. The bar was set (and pretty high). Unfortunately, my home is a little less bright or warm, but no less exotic I soon discovered. When I returned to Northern Ireland in the UK, I continued to dive in the crisp 9°C (48°F) water. I definitely experienced both ends of the spectrum! Diving back home was just a hobby for me on the side of a full-time job in marketing. But as the weather began to darken for autumn, and more and more dives were cancelled due to bad conditions, I began to day dream about warmer climates. 

That’s how I came to do my Divemaster Internship in Tenerife. After some very serendipitous encounters, I found myself in a Facebook group for Divemaster Jobs and Internships across the world. At first I was just ‘window shopping’, imagining all the beautiful places I could go diving one day, but not right now. Then after I accidentally swam with a dolphin on a dive with my local dive club, I thought “Why not make a career change?” And there’s no better time than the present. A couple of months later, I’d packed up my life, quit my 9 to 5 and was diving with some of the funniest, most interesting people I have ever met.

a fun dive with DPVs
Image courtesy of Chris Power (@chrispowerphoto)

Bubbles and Wobbles 

With a two-month internship in Tenerife, I had heaps of opportunities to learn. The most extreme was how to handle a diver throwing up underwater, and on the surface. Both on separate occasions, and both onto me. Just another ‘experience’ to add to the list, how lucky am I? My two months in Tenerife were full of fun and good times, but there was also quite a bit of training to take me from a relative novice with 17 dives, to a confident and capable PADI Divemaster now with almost 100 dives. It took me time to find my own rhythm in the underwater world. Let’s just say, my initial attempts at mastering buoyancy or mask removal were a bit clumsy. But hey, we all have our underwater wobbles, right? (If you want to practise mask removal, watch this video). Now, I’d consider myself part fish, all thanks to some incredible and very patient mentors / instructors, without whom, I would never have achieved my Divemaster certification.

practising blowing bubble rings
Image courtesy of Chris Power (@chrispowerphoto)
my last dive in Tenerife
Image courtesy of Chris Power (@chrispowerphoto)

Laugh Through the Chaos 

One of the greatest lessons I learnt was remembering to take a second and enjoy my work dives. At the beginning, I was stressed about everything. A client ascending too fast, someone who chews through all their air 15 minutes into a dive, my divers swimming off with the wrong group when others passed us in the water. All of the above happened to me at least once in my first week. I had to learn to take a breath, react calmly with purpose and to take a moment to trust myself and remember how cool my job is. Also to expect the unexpected and learn to laugh through the chaos. The ocean’s got a sense of humour, and I’m here for it. 

keeping an eye on the eel while it keeps and eye on me
Image courtesy of Simone Dal Zotto

Conserving Ocean Frontiers

The dive industry and community go hand-in-hand and, as a Divemaster, I felt a sense of responsibility to contribute to ocean conservation. It’s not just about exploring, but also about preserving the beauty that lies beneath the waves. Showing someone a sleeping Angel Shark, seeing their eyes light up with joy through their mask, I can’t explain how fulfilling that feels for me as their guide. How amazing would it be if we could encourage every diver to become an ocean advocate, adding to the voices calling to protect it? Every client I take on a dive is one more person I know will speak up when the time comes to protect this beautiful blue planet.

spotting an angel shark
Image courtesy of Chris Power (@chrispowerphoto)

If Not Now, When?

To those itching for adventure and eager to explore the underwater, my PADI Divemaster tale is an invitation. If you’re unsure about being a female in the diving industry, I’m telling you don’t be. You’ll be setting the trend for other women to follow and that’s an amazing place to be. For context, I’m a small person, but by the end of my internship, I was able to lift as much as any instructor in the dive centre, and usually with a little more grace! Whether you’re a seasoned diver or someone contemplating your first plunge, trust me when I say you won’t regret it. Find a PADI Divemaster internship, sign up and thank me later. The incredible people you’ll meet, the beautiful life you’ll see, and the person you’ll become, they’re all waiting in an extraordinary world just below the surface. The next step for me is the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in Australia, then after, who knows what country I’ll travel to. With my PADI qualifications, the world really is my oyster. Bring it on.

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This article was written by guest blogger Skye McCulla, professional marketer turned professional diver. McCulla loves the ocean, always has. Whether she’s in it, on it or watching it, the ocean is her happy place no matter the weather.

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