So You Think You Can Dive Master?

The decision to pursue a Dive Master Internship can arise in different people for many different reasons. For some it’s a bucket list thing, a way to prove something to themselves. For others it’s merely educational, or a great way to spend summer between semesters. For many this is a professional path, for those hoping to make a career of their passion. 

 DMTs have fun on their days off too!

DMTs have fun on their days off too!

Whatever the reason for choosing to pursue their Dive Master, few will say they regretted the decision. You rack up on dives, learn a tonne, and get to experience the world of diving from a whole new perspective. 

So why are there still people out there waiting to give it a shot? Time, work, and feeling unqualified are just a few of the excuses we hear.

Instructor Rachael arrived back in 2016 with 17 dives and a huge case of imposter syndrome. “I remember receiving my PADI Dive Master Crew Pack the day before my orientation. I pulled out all the books and papers and spread them out on the bed in my dorm and thought to myself-How in the hell am I going to learn all of this in six weeks?”

Two years later she is a full-time instructor, with multiple specialties, and a whole lot of dives under her belt.

 Look how happy they are!

Look how happy they are!

It’s not to say it isn’t hard work, because it definitely is. However, challenges bring rewards and that is what these internship programs are all about. We decided to interview a couple of our previous Trainees on what getting certified meant to them. We asked what their motivations were, what their experience meant to them, and where are they now. We hope that in reading the experiences of these bad ass individuals it will inspire you to look at these sorts of challenges, whether that be within the world of diving or just in the realm of adventure living as something you not only can do, but something you deserve to do.

Barra O’Briain a physician from Canada, definitely sticks in our mind as one of our keener DMTs. Barra first learned of Coconut Tree through his sons friend Taylor, who was completing his own dive master at the time. Barra was impressed with the skills and experience that Taylor was receiving and it didn’t take much to sell him on the idea.  

 Barra-cuda on his Birthday

Barra-cuda on his Birthday

Barra said “I arrived feeling pretty confident in my skills, but quickly found how much I had to learn when it came to assisting other divers and the diving skills necessary for the task.”

His mentor was roughly the same age as his sons but Barra took it in absolute stride, humbly absorbing, listening, and learning from his Instructors and his peers. He added a wonderful dynamic to the group. 

When we asked Barra what he thought he got out of the experience he said,

“I now assist and work as a DM on weekends on a boat off the coast of British Columbia.  I am more confident in reading divers, assisting them, anticipating problems and dealing with them when they arise.  I am also a much better diver and confident in new and varied settings.”

Barra has been back to Roatan since and hopes to complete his full Tec Course at Roatan Tec Centre the next time he is back.

Meilin Mansilla, an architect originally from Guatemala, found Coconut Tree through a friend and came for the first time only to fun dive. When we asked her to tell her story, she answered so well that we think we’ll let her tell it herself.

 Meilin is also the wonderful woman who designed our new front deck. meymansilla@gmail.com to find out more about her architecty work.

Meilin is also the wonderful woman who designed our new front deck. meymansilla@gmail.com to find out more about her architecty work.

“It has always been rewarding for me putting my heart and soul to make happen what I put my mind to. I’ve always had big dreams and have worked hard to make them come true which, is a strength but also a weakness. Setting my mind to achieve working for the best architect in my country was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done, but it also made me a workaholic.

I came diving one time to Roatan and that’s when it hit me, I wasn’t fully living my life. I was successful living my life by my vocation as an architect, but what about my passion? Diving fills my heart and makes it literally explode with happiness and decided I wanted that on a regular basis, not one or twice a year 

So, I quit my perfect job, I moved to the island and started my Dive Master to fill that emptiness of passion in my heart, that thirst of feeling alive and free; weightless. I have two jobs now, I’m a dive instructor and an architect and I’ve never felt more alive. Don’t get me wrong, balancing it is hard but nothing that is worth it is easy, it takes self discipline but I’m telling you: it can be done. ‘Balance it out’ I say, don’t forget to fill your heart with what passions you on regular basis and don’t forget to put into practice what other things you’re good at.”

 Phil also does this crazy shit

Phil also does this crazy shit

Philip Zaki, from Germany will always be remembered as the guy who always wore shoes. To put him in perspective he’s the kind of guy that says international finance is ‘fun’. His long-term goal behind doing his dive master is to become a technical diver and has said that before embarking on the journey he really wanted to increase his dive experience. He believes firmly that there is no better way to learn something than to teach and share it with others

Secondly, he said “a DM internship brings me in a completely new work environment. Working in a b2b (business to business) environment in an office job myself, a b2c (business to customer) environment is a totally new experience for me and widens my view on such jobs. Let it be sizing people for their suits, estimating weights, or mopping the floor, there’s nothing healthier than some down to earth experiences if you’re coming from a place like I do” (he works in a big fancy office)

Lastly, he said he really enjoyed the camaraderie and being part of team. As a repeat solo traveler he says it’s a much less lonely way to do it.

 Pokin’ Fish and Clean’n Reefs

Pokin’ Fish and Clean’n Reefs

Jina Gaechter originally from Switzerland, currently from wherever she desires, came to us to do her Dive Master for possibly the coolest reason ever. Jina and her family live aboard their sail boat traveling all over the Caribbean, literally letting the wind take them. 

Jina said, “First of all diving has become my passion the moment I started almost 15 years ago but, I decided to do my DM as soon as I changed my life style, which means living on a boat. I am surrounded by water everyday so why not learn more about what’s in it, and be part of it.

It’s like fireworks every time I go back down. With my DM I feel so much safer and more  knowledgeable, I see so many things and I am able to help people more. On boat life I have the opportunity to jump in everyday and it’s never the same because we move from one place to the other.”

Her facebook and instagram are quite literally #wanderlust. Not everyone has the energy or patience to live life on a sail boat, but we certainly enjoy keeping up with her adventures.

 Look at Ivan diving in freezing cold water, in Roatan you would need all that wetsuit

Look at Ivan diving in freezing cold water, in Roatan you would need all that wetsuit

As you can see that the reasons behind the decision to do a Dive Master Internship are varied. These stories are only a small sample of those that we have heard in our shop. We have people come and do it during the summer in college and people who do it as a semester for credit in university. People do it in small bursts so that they can balance it with time off for work schedules and some people quit their jobs and leave everything behind. We have had trainees aged 18 to nearly 70. Whatever your reason is, don’t let your fears hold you back. It’s not really any one ‘type’ that choose to come down and have this experience. It’s the desire for adventure and for knowledge that brings these people together. When we asked Ivan Liaw, a DM from Singapore (Now working and living in the U.S.) we think he said it best.

“It's our dedication to the underwater world and those we interact with that defines us”

So quit making excuses and take the plunge (see what we did there?). For more information on how to get started contact us at coconuttreedivers@gmail.com or have a look on our website!

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 Here is just a couple of photo’s of our trainees up to shenanigans. Hockey tournament for the Sol Foundation (above). Dakota pressure washing the deck-she volunteered-(left). Marine Park Birthday Fundraiser (bottom left) Phil and Mil came to do their DM as a part of their Uni courses, genius (below)

Here is just a couple of photo’s of our trainees up to shenanigans. Hockey tournament for the Sol Foundation (above). Dakota pressure washing the deck-she volunteered-(left). Marine Park Birthday Fundraiser (bottom left) Phil and Mil came to do their DM as a part of their Uni courses, genius (below)

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