Diving Intern Jacob shares diving internship experiences from Koh Tao
What were you doing before you joining the PADI Divemaster Scuba Diving Internships on Koh Tao?
I was at college, me and two friends decided that we wanted to go travelling. We decided that the best thing to do was to do something constructive, travelling is fun but when the stories have been told of your journey all you have left are memories, with the Divemaster course I have the memories but I also have a career and an opportunity to work in amazing places all over the world. So we got in touch with DJL via Phil, he just writes emails all day. After we left college we got jobs and saved the money to come to Koh tao.
What's your opinion of Koh Tao? Do you think it's a good place to take a Divemaster internship?
Koh Tao is a paradise island, it’s the most amazing place I’ve ever been in my life, it’s small so you get to know a lot of people but it’s also lively so there’s something new everyday. The divesites that are dotted around Koh Tao are amazing but not only does Koh Tao offer amazing diving, there are many things to do when your not on the boat, for example cliff jumping or snorkelling with reef sharks, or even just sunbathing on the many fantastic beaches.
What is your overall opinion of your scuba diving internship with DJL Diving?
Choosing to do the internship with DJL was one of the best decisions I have ever made, I loved every single day I was there, the staff at the shop are all experts at their jobs but are also really nice people. The instructors are all first class, who will all go out of their way to sit and explain something your unsure of, even though they do the same courses all the time they make each one fun and exciting. This is more apparent when your assisting them, this is when you can tell they love what they’re doing.
What bits of the Diving Internship did you find trickiest?
I personally thought the exams were the trickiest part, especially the physics, the swims are also hard but its worth it when you get them out of the way especially the 400 and 800m swims.
What was the best thing you saw underwater during your diving internship?
I have many favourites, the reefs are different every time you dive there are different things to be seen, if I had to pick the best thing it would probably be the huge school of fish at mango bay, there are hundreds of them and they are always there.
How did you find the PADI Divemaster swims?
I found the swims difficult especially the 400 and 800m, I would say the best thing to do is to get them done early on in your course then they’re out of the way.
What did you think of the underwater equipment exchange?
I actually found this quite fun and exciting, so much so I did it twice with different people. I think it’s best done later on in your course, when your more confident with your breathing and taking off and putting on your equipment, I found it helpful to practice when I was fun diving before you ascend to the surface swap your equipment with your buddy, after a few times it becomes second nature and you can do it with your eyes closed, which is good because most of the time your mask is flooded.
How did you find giving dive briefings as part of your Divemaster course?
To start with I found it difficult, when your in front of customers your mind goes blank, thankfully Fred spent a lot of time with us all going through what we needed to say, he also made us draw maps at every dive site I found this was the best way to learn the dive sites and made you more confident navigating around them. The best advice I could give is when about delivering a dive brief is to always keep it simple, start from the moment your going to finish the brief, go through every step in order it’s going to happen.
Which was your favourite scuba diving site?
When we went on the big boat my favourite dive site was Chumphon Pinnacle, especially after passing my deep spec it’s very easy to find 40m. There are huge groupers and lots of other cool fish and aquatic life. We once rented tanks and a longtail boat and went round the opposite side of the island and dived Laom Thian Pinnacle, this was by far the coolest dive site, the maximum depth was only about 17m but we stayed less than ten, there we’re lots of caves and swim throughs that were really cool to explore, this was by far the best dive I did and you should definitely consider doing the same.
Did you visit the Full Moon Party on neighbouring Koh Phangan?
Yes, a group of about 12 DMT’s went it was amazing, we partied all night and all morning, probably the best night out of the entire trip. I would definitely recommend going as it gives a welcome relief from the night life on Koh Tao you’ll soon find that it tends to repeat most nights.
Once you graduated from the Divemaster internship, did you enjoy guiding certified divers?
I haven’t guided any certified divers as yet, although during the course you have to guide customers on a scuba review, it’s a fantastic feeling having people relying on you to lead them safely and also being in a place of authority really makes the course worth it.
Do you think taking a scuba diving internship was a productive gap year experience?
For me the internship was definitely worth it. I wish my internship could of lasted three years instead of months but for the time I was doing the course I loved every single moment. I have great memories and great friends from the experience I also have a profession that I can join if and when I want to.
Now qualified as a PADI Divemaster, do you think you'll continue your diving education?
I would certainly like to continue my education but I feel this will happen in future years, I just want to enjoy my diving, and hopefully find another profession that I can experience.
Are you interested in joining future wreck hunting expeditions?
I would love to have dived with Tim, even if it was just on a discover wreck dive, but this is definitely an excuse to re-visit Koh Tao and DJL.
How was your accommodation on Koh Tao ?
The accommodation was definitely above the standard as to what I was expecting, although It was a little further away from the shop from what I thought it was, though it was still within a 10 minute walk. I had my own fridge and TV and en-suite bathroom with a hot shower. The rooms were cleaned whenever requested within reason, and the grounds kept clean, overall a fantastic place to stay.
What aspect of the internship did you enjoy most?
Definitely the hands on assisting part, it kept you on your toes especially the open water courses. Whether it be dealing with a scared diver trying to bolt to the surface or demonstrating skills, you definitely feel a sense of responsibility and a place in the lessons. I think its good how the instructors allow you to complete difficult tasks and put the responsibility in your hands.
What will be your next diving adventure?
I don’t have anything planned at the moment, definitely another trip to koh tao is on the cards, I’d love to dive in Canada and Norway apparently the diving there is sensational. I want to get more specialties to become a more rounded advanced diver and I think a few wreck dives would come into it sometime.
Any advice for anyone considering taking a Divemaster internship with DJL Diving?
DO IT!!!! It’s the best thing I have ever done, the social aspect of the island, DJL and the people around is unlike anywhere else. You definitely won’t regret it.
What are you future plans?
Going to Canada for a year, getting a job and seeing what the place has to offer me! Hopefully get my dry suit training there as well.
Anything else you want to add?
DJL is the best school on the island and in the world. Tim and all his staff are fantastic instructors (especially Hannah!!! ) Thank you for the best time of my life!!!
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