Egypt at Dive2016 – Birmingham

The Birmingham Dive Show has taken place every year since 1991. DIVE attracts hundreds of exhibitors offering the latest diving holidays, training courses, and dive gear – on display and to buy – and is visited by thousands of experienced and aspiring divers from the UK, Europe and beyond. This year it was held from Saturday 22nd October – Sunday 23rd October.

For the 2016 edition, PADI’s management has decided to have some extra support from Regional Manager – Teo Brambilla (responsible for Egypt)!

bThe idea was not only to offer support to those PADI stores  – based in Egypt – exhibiting, but also to promote Egypt and help certified divers and future divers with practical tips on how to travel to Egypt, how to move around, answer generic questions  and overcome concerns about security in the country.

There were 5 – Egyptian based – PADI stores (both Resorts and Boat operators) exhibiting at Dive 2016 and they were all ‘equipped’ with the “PADI Show support pack”: a marketing kit, which included PADI sunglasses, bracelets, Course Promotional Vouchers, Posters, PADI Bunting and a PADI beach flag!

Blue O Two

aCamel Dive Club

dDivers United (Elite Diving)

eEmperor Divers and Scuba Schools

emperorPharaoh Dive Club

c…here during a special visit: DEPTHERAPY’s friends …and Egypt’s supporters!

[For the past few years, Pharaoh Dive Club have been a very active supporter of the amazing work of the charity by hosting Deptherapy’s training]

During the show, Regional Manager – Teo Brambilla took also the opportunity to award two diving icons who highly contributed to the growth of the diving industry in Egypt:

awardSteve Rattle and Guy Haywood received a special awards for their 25yrs as PADI Members!

 

Overall, DIVE 2016 was a well-attended and largely successful show …and even more important, the general feedback from participating Egyptian based Members was positive for the whole region!

PADI Pool Party Event at Madinaty City – Cairo!

Another successful event, addressed to the local market, has been recently conducted in two different locations within the charming Madinaty City in Cairo.

3photos-aqua3… Following the recent opening of Aquarius Diving Club Cairo’s branch, a PADI Pool Party was organized under the attentive guidance of Branch Manager Hatem Soliman and the cooperation of PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla!

3photos-aqua2Focus of the event was to let the local community know that a full-operating PADI Diving Center is now present in Madinaty …and consequently introduce residents to scuba diving.

Becoming a certified PADI Open Water Diver will be a smooth journey:

Knowledge development and confined water will be taught in Cairo, while open water could be completed in one of the 6 branches scattered around Egypt’s coasts.

3photos-aqua-copyFirst event, on the 7th of October, was held at Madinaty Sports Center: here Aquarius’staff took, for their first breath underwater more than 50 residents!

The beautiful location, a dedicated swimming pool and a DJ playing great music made of the event a unique party!poolphotos-collageSecond event, on the 8th of October, was organized at the British International school: here more than 100 kids were introduced to the wonderful sport of Scubadiving!

3photos-kidsIf you are a PADI Diving Center owner and/or manager with connections with corporates, sports clubs, universities, etc. and you wish to organize a similar event – addressed to the local market in Egypt – please get in contact with PADI RM Teo Brambilla.

PADI Pool Party Event at Gold’s Gym – Cairo!

 

Great success at the PADI Pool Party Event at Gold’s Gym Katameya Club in Cairo!

 

photo1…With the intent to expand the diving industry within the Egyptian market, PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla, PADI Course Director Mohammed Adel and PADI Instructor but also, Gold’s Gym Manager Ahmed Saleh decided to organize a customized event specifically designated for Cairo Gold’s Gym Members.

photo5During the weekend 23/24 September, PADI Dive Resorts Big Blue (Dahab) and Eurodivers Egypt (with branches in Hurghada, El Gouna and El Quseir) partnered up – with the support of PADI – to introduce gym’s members to the wonderful world of Scuba Diving.

photo2The great set up of Gold’s Gym, with an ‘ad hoc’ swimming pool on the roof, allowed members to try scuba diving either before or after their workouts …. Icing on the cake was the presence in the water (among other instructors) of the Gym’s Manager himself who, as passionate PADI Instructor, didn’t hesitate to change hats, put his wetsuit on and guide members through their PADI Discover Scuba Diving!

photo3Over these two days, more than 40 people did their PADI Discover scuba diving!

…Those who showed interest (the majority!) received a digital voucher, which will allow them to complete their PADI Open Water Course at a special rate in one of the Diving Centres mentioned above.

photo4If you are a PADI Diving Center owner and/or manager with connections with corporates, sports clubs, universities, etc. and you wish to organize a similar event – addressed to the local market in Egypt – please get in contact with PADI RM Teo Brambilla.

British Embassy VIPs Get Their PADI in Cairo: link between UK and Egypt ever-strong!

 

In mid July, British Embassy Representatives – based in Cairo – decided to discover the Underwater World and the beauty of the Red Sea, by taking their PADI Open Water Course.

Picture 1 from right to left Mr. John Casson British Ambassador in Cairo, Middle Mr. Magdy El-Araby MSDT and owner of Maadi Divers, left Mr. Edward Ahlgren Defense Attaché at British EmbassyThe course was thought by the experienced PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer – Magdy El-Araby, PADI Member for more than 20 years and  owner of the first and one of the most famous PADI Diving Centers in Cairo: Maadi Divers.

picture 5 from right to left Mr. John Casson, Mr. Edward Ahlgren, and Mr. Magdy El-Araby logging the dives and certificationThe class, composed by his Excellency the British Ambassador in Cairo, his wife, the Regional Gender Adviser at the British Embassy and the Defense Attaché at the British Embassy, successfully completed Confined Water Training and Knowledge Development in Cairo.

picture 4 Mr. John Casson and Mr. Edward Ahlgren removing equipment to rinse with fresh water after the diveThe following weekend, half of the team moved to Sharm el Naga for their Open Water Training: Sharm El Naga Resort is best known for its beautiful coral reefs and its crystal-clear water; it offers everything a holidaymaker could wish for: a sandy beach, a protected house reef for snorkeling and diving and comfortable accommodation.

sharm el nagaUnder the auspices of Atie Bruinenberg, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and General Manager of the PADI Resort, Magdy was happy to complete the training and certify Mr. Casson (the British Ambassador in Cairo) and Mr. Ahlgren (the Defense Attaché at the British Embassy) as PADI OPEN WATER DIVERS!

picture 2 from right to left Mr. Magdy El-Araby, Mr. Edward Ahlgren, Mr. John Casson, Mr. Atie Bruinenberg

Magdy El-Araby wrote:

 …”They loved the dive site and saw lots of marine life such as Blue Spotted Sting Rays, a Crocodile fish, several giant Moray Eels, and a Turtle. They also liked the Sharm El-Naga resort and enjoyed the hospitality of the staff of the hotel.”

magdy

…“It was a great honor to complete the PADI Open Water Course with Mr. John and Mr. Ed. They are both very nice people and excellent divers. Looking forward to complete with them the Advanced Open Water Course”

…“Maadi Divers is looking forward to complete the Open Water Dives with Mrs. Kathryn and Mrs. Helen next September, as soon as they come back from their holidays”

The British Ambassador in Cairo – Mr. John Casson – wrote:

“ After two years in Egypt it was time to find out what is so special about diving in the Egyptian Red Sea. It was great to have my PADI Open Water experience with one of 334105_411126698923437_665081935_oEgypt’s great diving professionals Magdy El-Araby owner of Maadi Divers, Egypt and to have my first dives at Sharm El-Naga – a jewel in the Red Sea crown. I have been so impressed by the quality of Egypt’s expertise, it’s sun-kissed Red Sea facilities and the spectacular dive sites and sea life. There’s nothing more liberating after the traffic of Cairo than the blue serenity of the Red Sea dives”

Congratulations to everybody …. looking forward to hearing more about your next diving adventures!

Business of Freediving and PADI Freediver course – special offer!

FD_Bnr_600x315_notext

If you’ve always wanted to enter the underwater world quietly, on your own terms, staying as long your breath allows, then freediving is for you. Taking the PADI Freediver program is your step towards discovering the underwater world in a whole new way.

Developed by industry-leading experts and competitive freedivers, the PADI Freediver™ program will help you expand your aquatic abilities by teaching you breath-hold diving best practices.

PADI EMEA in cooperation with PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer – Stephen Keenan would like to extend a special invitation to participate in the new PADI Freediver™ program.

There is an upcoming PADI Freediver event in your area, which you and/or your staff can attend.

Makadi Bay – Hurghada 15th August 2016

  • PADI Freediver Course (1 day)
  • PADI business of Freediving Workshop

PADI Freediver Course

This program is for any PADI Member interested in learning more about freediving.
Successful completion of this program will result in certification as a PADI Freediver.

The PADI Freediver course consists of three main phases:

Knowledge development about freediving principles through independent study with the PADI Freediver Touch™ (your instructor may conduct class sessions).

Confined water session to learn breath hold techniques and static and dynamic apnea.
Goal – static apnea of 90 seconds and dynamic apnea of 25 metres/80 feet.

Open water sessions to practice free immersion and constant weight freedives, plus proper buddy procedures. Goal – constant weight freedive of 10 metres/30 feet

To help support your business, we are pleased to offer these spaces at the special price of 100 € (Including PADI  Freediver Touch™ and certification).

There are only a limited number of spaces for this event, and we encourage you to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

You can register by clicking the link below and completing the registration form.

CLICK HERE

 

Should you have any question, please contact:
[email protected] or [email protected]

Your PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa Team

Pharaoh Dive Club – Deptheraphy – Project AWARE: what a winning combination!

At the end of June 2016 a ‘very special team’ took part to a Dive Against Debris Specialty as part of their training; let’s read how did it go directly from Steve Rattle, owner at Pharaoh Dive Club in El Quseir:

For the past few years, Pharaoh Dive Club have been a very active supporter of the amazing work of the Deptherapy charity. The provision of PADI training programs to the injured troops has proven extremely beneficial in many ways to the recipients, however, due to the temperate waters in the UK it is not possible to complete the training for many amputees. There are physical complications in bodily functions in maintaining core temperatures which inhibit diving in cooler climates.

pharahos depthIt is here that Roots Red Sea and Pharaoh Dive Club stepped up and provided free diving and accommodation to the participants of the Deptherapy programme. The charity simply has to fund the transfers from the UK, something they work tirelessly to achieve and for every £500 raised they are able to send 1 more injured soldier on the programme.

AMission PossibleWith the programme now running on a regular basis, there are now returning participants completing continued PADI education training. On this trip we have 3 PADI Advanced Open Water candidates, 2 completing PADI Deep Diver specialty and 4 PADI Open Water candidates.

In addition we had PADI Rescue Diver Chris Middleton, a double amputee undergoing PADI Divemaster training and taking on very successfully [under direct supervision of the instructor], all the skill demonstrations for the full PADI Open Water training of Criag Wood a triple amputee!

It was also decided that it would be a fantastic opportunity for all the candidates to add the Project Aware – Dive Against Debris Specialty. It emphasizes the crucial dive skills of peak performance buoyancy, re-enforces safe diving practices and of course provides a full background of environmental awareness.

After dinner on the 4th evening with the PADI Open Water and Advance Open Water course complete, the new qualified candidates and the instructional team attended and evening presentation of the Project Aware Dive Against Debris programme. Local issues were highlighted to the group and there was intense interest in how they could help to get the message out to the wider world.

The following morning the group assembled and prepared the specialist equipment and formulated a plan on how to tackle the task of cleaning above and below the waves at Gasus Bay north of Roots. Buddy teams were resolved, specific tasks assigned and logistics finalised before 3 buses and 2 pick up trucks set off on the 30 minute drive north. The choice of location was directed by the obvious accessibility issues of the disadvantaged divers, Gasus being a very short walk to the waters edge.

DAD 41As the Deptherapy divers set out to do the DAD primarily with fishing line collection as a goal, but with the intent of not letting single piece of bottom dwelling debris to escape notice, the land support crew swept the beaches collecting all kinds of waste blow ashore over the past months.

DAD 42All divers were given a bag, some pieces of wood for wrapping fishing line around and line cutters. Buddy teams had been arranged to compensate for their injuries, allowing every team to make a contribution to the effort without compromising their safety.

Those left on shore watched slightly jealously as the divers entered the water, the temperature was already soaring despite it still being the morning. As they submerged below the water then the beach clean-up began in sweltering heat under the sun. The debris from the beach was kept separate from that retrieved from the dive site as to be reported correctly on the DAD website.

On return to Roots in the afternoon the team helped with the weighing, categorising and counting of the marine debris. A total of 72 items excluding fishing line, were found weighing in at approximately 7kg. There was also 91 metres of fishing line collected.

However the true success of the event was to be seen over the next days when the Deptherapy divers returned from their following recreational dives all bearing gifts of debris and fishing lines that they had not noticed prior to taking part in the Project Aware Dive Against Debris, great job by all!

On behalf of PADI and Project AWARE congratulations and special thanks to Steve, Clare, Pharaoh’ staff and Deptherapy: keep up the good work!

PADI Women’s Dive Day: interview with Jilly Healey

2016 PADI Women’s Dive Day is coming up!

With numerous events hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. While the focus is on women, all are encouraged to get involved. It’s a great opportunity to get the women, friends, and family members in your life together for a fun day of diving!

In anticipation of the event on 16th of July 2016, we are interviewing several women who are inspirational to divers and non-divers alike.

Find here below the third in a series of interviews with Jilly Healey – PADI Course Director at Ocean College in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

j1Why/How did you become a PADI Diver?

In 1998 I came on a holiday to Egypt to visit my mum who had already been here awhile. She was working and wanted to find something for me to do so I wouldn’t be bored. She told me I was going to learn to scuba dive, I said no thanks as I just wanted to relax on the beach, I was in the process of selling my bar in the UK and was tired. Mum told me she had paid for the course for my Christmas present so I felt guilty and off I went.

I am not sure I fell in love with diving straight away but I did fall in love with my instructor, he was so passionate about diving that it was impossible not to love it too so I soon fell in love with it also. I left Sharm El Sheikh with my PADI Advanced course completed. I came back 2 months later after selling my bar and started my PADI Rescue then PADI Divemaster course. I am now a PADI Course Director

b (3)What does PADI mean to you?

I think regardless of the organisation if you have a good instructor you will have a good course, but as an instructor I believe PADI offers me the tools and the backup to be a better instructor. The tools PADI have given us are professional and allow me to pass my passion of diving on to my students and change their lives the way my Instructor changed mine.

I have a few ex students who are now good friends that when I think about how their life has changed because of PADI it reminds me of the saying that PADI has that we are in the  “Transformation Business”. One lady in particular when I met her was so quiet, self conscious, so afraid of getting anything wrong that she was a really difficult student to teach, she is now one of the best Instructors I know, she is out going and the life and soul of any social setting  – diving did that to her.

So “What does PADI mean to me?” – it changed mine and so many other peoples lives for the better.

b (2)What does it mean to you to be a female diver?

I do not think of myself as a “female diver“– I am just a diver. I have never been one to not do something because I am female, my Dad said I should have been the boy in the family, but to come to Egypt and work as a female in 1999 there were not so many of us. I had to prove I was strong enough to do the job in the same way the boys could especially in a very male orientated country such as Egypt. But due to the training I was given during my Divemaster course by my instructor and because of the structure of the PADI Divemaster course it set me on a strong path to show I could do it.

One of my favourite compliments was by another member of staff who spoke with the crew of a safari boat who were worried that they were about to get a female safari guide on their boat for the first time and were afraid I wouldn’t be able to tie mooring lines at the SS Thistlegorm. “She is as strong in the water as 100 men, she will tie your lines”

I am so proud to be a diver I tell anyone who sits long enough near me all about it– don’t sit next to me on a plane unless you want to hear all about it.

I wish more women would dive, as it doesn’t matter if you are male or female when you are underwater.

IMG_2546What is your dream dive?

Put me in a swimming pool and I am happy as long as I am in scuba gear, but there are a few places I would love to go. Galapagos, Buenos Aires to name a few. I am not yet bored with Sharm El Sheikh though even after 17 years of working in diving here. Every dive is different, you never know what might turn up whether it be a nudi branch, pipefish, manta, turtle or shark I love it all.

Best moment in diving?

There are so many but for different reasons – the day I became an instructor, the day one of my open water students became an instructor, the day I became a CD (I cried and laughed all at the same time) every time I help a student get over a problem that they were ready to pack the course in and then they pass the course and become a diver and then come back to dive again and again.

But the main thing that pops to mind is when I started diving, my instructor told me I had to make a list of 3 things that I wanted to see in Sharm El Sheikh. I chose a Ghost Pipe Fish, Whale Shark and Hammerhead Shark. The Hammerhead was my first on my birthday as well. Then the Ghost Pipe fish. Then I waited and waited, 10 years of diving everyday and 6000 dives or so later I saw my first whale shark – I was on the dive boat having just finished a dive – I jumped in with mask, fins and snorkel – all anyone could hear out of my snorkel was me crying my heart out and saying “ you are so beautiful I waited 10 years to see you”

The only problem now is that list has been checked but the list got longer – Manatees, Mola Mola, Blue Glaucus Atlanticus, Seals and much more.

zWhat are your plans for WDD this year? As a PADI Instructor, do you have any suggestions for divers for PADI Women’s Dive Day 2016?

My plans are to dive, any place anywhere – it doesn’t matter as long as I get wet.

Suggestions for divers – do the same go get wet and dive you won’t be sorry, a diving day is a great day.

What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving?

I don’t think there needs to be challenges for women in diving, so many women icons have paved the way for us now, the challenge should be with yourself. Always challenge yourself to do the next thing, if you don’t you will miss out on a wonderful world.

As for opportunities for women – the world is your oyster, diving opens up so many careers other than being an instructor – marine biology, marine architecture, journalism, photography, film making, marine education and the list goes on.

Clean Up 002How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?

Change the way we advertise diving, show real women diving – not the models exiting the water with perfect make up on. Show that real women are divers. I understand that its aesthetically pleasing to have a beautiful bikini clad young lady to use for advertising but its not real. It seems that most of the women I teach are wives and girlfriends of divers; to me this means we are not reaching other women.

IMG_1196So many women believe they cant carry the equipment, that it would be too heavy – I am 5 ft 2 inches and a technical diver and cave diver I have carried 4 tanks on land, 6 tanks underwater, I dive with 10 years olds that can carry their own tank.

Lets show women of all ages that diving is possible and this can be done though advertising.

Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?

Do it, what’s stopping you. But before you quit your job, you should know that although I love it and wouldn’t give it up for the world a diving career isn’t all fun and excitement. We work with so many different personalities and you need to be able to cope with that and many different circumstances – each day brings something new which is one of the reasons you don’t get bored as a PADI Scuba Instructor. You need to be patient, flexible and smile – you have other people’s life’s dreams in your hands.

If you think you can do that then do it, you wont regret it – the experiences, the memories and the friends you will make will be the best.

IMG_1041Thanks Jilly ….and keep up the good work!

How to Participate
If you’re a diver who is interested in participating in a Women’s Dive Day event, please contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to see if it’s holding an event — and encourage it to get involved if it’s not already. Otherwise, you can find an event or get more information at padi.com/women-dive.

If you’re a PADI Professional interested in hosting a dive or event, contact your PADI Regional Manager!

PADI Women’s Dive Day: interview with Nancy Abd El Wahab

 2016 PADI Women’s Dive Day is coming up!

With numerous events hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. While the focus is on women, all are encouraged to get involved. It’s a great opportunity to get the women, friends, and family members in your life together for a fun day of diving!

In anticipation of the event on 16th of July 2016, we are interviewing several women who are inspirational to divers and non-divers alike.

Find here below the second in a series of interviews with Nancy Abd El Wahab – PADI Course Director at Dahab Divers in Dahab, Egypt.

nancy1Why/How did you become a PADI Diver?

When I was a teenager I was a competitive swimmer and I loved watching documentaries about the ocean, such as ones from Hans Hass. Due to my fascination with the underwater world my parents gave me a diving course as a Christmas present at the beginning of the 1990’s. I remember it vividly; it was January and we went to a lake in Germany, the water was 4 degrees cold, there was no visibility and I was wearing a suit that was miles too big for me and broken gloves. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved it!

What does PADI mean to you?

PADI opened up the possibility for me to follow my dream to teach others to become divers and even to teach Scuba Diving Instructors. PADI has always supported my work and the educational system is just fantastic. For me PADI stands for education, adventure, conservation, empowerment and transformation.

nancy3What does it mean to you to be a female diver?

Personally, I would like to see more women at higher professional levels of diving. It is already happening in so many areas of diving, such as technical diving, recreational diving, freediving and hyperbaric medicine to name a few. Women are excelling in areas in diving that have previously been home ground to men. Thus, I am very proud of being a female diver, PADI Instructor and PADI Course Director. I hope that through the passion I have for diving and teaching diving I can inspire other woman.

What is your dream dive?

Definitely Sharks Reef at Ras Mohamed (Egypt), especially during the summer because of all the diversity, the unbelievable amount of fish and amazing colors you  can only see in the Red Sea.

nancy2Best moment in diving?

I had many great moments but by far the best moment was when I took my daughter, Samra, the first time diving when she was 8 year old for her Bubblemaker program. Now she is nearly 20, a TEC diver and she will start her PADI Instructor course with me this summer.

samra2What are your plans for WDD this year? As a PADI Instructor, do you have any suggestions for divers for PADI Women’s Dive Day 2016?

In Dahab I would like to get all my female PADI Instructors friends together to offer the PADI DSD for women only. I believe it is very inspiring and empowering for women to see other women working as Instructors and taking an important role in the diving industry. Since it is one of my life’s greatest pleasures to dive with my daughter I would like to encourage other female divers to take their daughters diving too on this special day.

What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving? 

I think, nowadays women are more accepted in the diving industry/world. When I first started diving in Germany women were definitely not given the opportunities that they are given today. However, I still see many countries where female divers are an exception because of cultures where it is not common that men and women participate in the same activities. I believe that we need to find ways to teach more female divers in these cultures and countries, who then can become Instructors. These women can go on and help encourage other women to dive.

nancy5How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?

Throughout the years I have trained many women to become PADI Instructors and I am very proud to see them being passionate about their role as a teacher and that they inspire the next generation of female divers. I did the same with my daughter and she is part of the new generation of female divers. It makes me very proud seeing her and how her diving skills are growing. I think it is a great opportunity for us female professional divers to carry our passion to our daughters and other women who then will be able to carry this passion to more women in their environments, such as Universities or work places.

 Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?

Nothing against men, but the diving industry is a male dominated industry. Thus, women in this industry face more problems then men do. So one of my most important tips is to not get intimidated by the men in the industry. Also, know yourself and have self confidence in yourself and your capabilities because sometimes it might not seem this way. Furthermore, a very useful and great tip is to find a female mentor that can help you answer all your questions, someone you can look up to and that might understand the struggles you are going through. Another thing that was very beneficial to me when I started my diving career is to become friends with many professional female divers, not only in recreational diving but also in technical diving and freediving. This way, you have a group of friends who understand your new life. Moreover, one of the most important aspects of the diving industry (which applies to women as well as men) is networking. Try to do that as much as possible; it’s all about who you know. Finally, do your research about which diving center you want to go to. Check their reputation, sponsorship, internship opportunities, career options, instructors and ask people who have dived with them before. This is extremely important since your standard of education will depend on them.

Thanks Nancy ….and keep up the good work!

How to Participate
If you’re a diver who is interested in participating in a Women’s Dive Day event, please contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to see if it’s holding an event — and encourage it to get involved if it’s not already. Otherwise, you can find an event or get more information at padi.com/women-dive.

If you’re a PADI Professional interested in hosting a dive or event, contact your PADI Regional Manager!

PADI Women’s Dive Day: interview with Anna Schmitt

2016 PADI Women’s Dive Day is coming up!

With numerous events hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. While the focus is on women, all are encouraged to get involved. It’s a great opportunity to get the women, friends, and family members in your life together for a fun day of diving!

In anticipation of the event on 16th of July 2016, we are interviewing several women who are inspirational to divers and non-divers alike.

Find here below the first in a series of interviews with Anna Schmitt – PADI Course Director at Panorama Divers in Hurghada, Egypt.

IMG_9485

Anna, why and how did you become a PADI Diver?

On my first visit to Egypt, I decided to try diving, as I was obviously in one of the best locations to start my diving story. I followed the PADI DSD programme. From the moment I took my first breath under the water, I realised that my life would not be the same again. A strong desire to discover the undersea world became my ambition.  The more dives I made the more I realised that I wanted to become directly involved in marine conservation issues by making changes and sharing my experiences with others. This really contributed to inspiring me to become a PADI Instructor in the future.

IMG_2284What does PADI mean to you?

It depends on which perspective I look at the question.

During my diving history with the guidance of amazing PADI Instructors, I overcame my anxieties and difficulties in the courses. PADI gave me the most comfortable, safe and easy way to progress through the various diving levels, keeping me interested, confident and eager to learn more.

IMG_2712Now if I look at PADI from my current level as Course Director, I feel responsible for maintaining the high standards set by PADI and to ensure the next generation of Instructors follow the same philosophy. For me PADI is a great support network and provides me with all the educational tools for teaching, encouraging and inspiring new PADI professionals.

What does it mean to you to be a female diver?

Traditionally diving was thought to be a male dominated recreation and profession. Female divers have proved that this is not the case. Being female, I think, brings more empathy and caring attitudes into diving.  Nurturing & protection is a natural instinct to most women, which is exactly my case. Being a female diver, it gives me confidence, independence, freedom and new opportunities to live my dream.

IMG_2746What is your dream dive?

Personally I think any dive can be a dream dive. Entering the water and being at one with the ocean brings peace and tranquillity in a normally hectic & noisy world. The stresses and worries of everyday life are left far behind. My dreams come true every time I dive because I have been given the opportunity to experience another universe under the waves.

WDD AnnaBest moment in diving?

As I begin to descend the first few minutes of any dive are the best moments, when a world of silence surrounds and envelopes me: no expectations, no promises – just being open with your heart and mind, a great opportunity to feel free.

What are your plans for WDD this year?

We have already scheduled our WDD on the PADI web site, so anyone who is interested can join us. We will spend a beautiful day on the boat with female non divers taking the opportunity to try diving for the very first time by conducting   DSD programmes. In the following days, as a special offer, OWD courses will be conducted for all those women who would like to continue their diving experiences. We haven’t forgotten about some female divers who may not have dived for a while, so Scuba Reactivate programmes will also be available.

IMG_2670As a PADI Instructor, do you have any suggestions for divers for PADI Women’s Dive Day 2016?

Very often with the routine of our daily lives we find excuses or reasons to put off until a later date something that we could do now. July 16th could become your day to have a life changing experience, don’t miss this opportunity.

What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving?

Women’s dive experience shows, that if there are any challenges in diving, they have already overcome them. So any challenges left are only there, because you believe they are there. Give yourself a green light and go for it.

The opportunities are limited only by how far you want to go: exploration, travel, employment, independence, education both personal & the ability to educate others. Builds confidence & forges friendships.

IMG_6631How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?

Encourage more WDD type events throughout the year. I am sure there must be many women who would love to try diving or would like to get back into diving. Offer “family” dive days as many women have children and these youngsters could well be the next generation of divers. Offer dives and classroom sessions after school hours and special weekend events so that families can attend.

Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?

If you really want to do it, don’t wait go for it! It is a wonderfully rewarding career. Opens the doors of opportunity for travel, to teach & enables you to pass on your wealth of diving experiences. Can allow you to dive in different conditions and climates and to work with other people who feel as passionately about the oceans as you do. Find your freedom, live your dreams.

 

Thanks a lot Anna ….and keep up the good work!

 

A very special PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor!

At the end of February, while performing my duties of PADI Examiner during an IE in Sharm el Sheikh, I had the pleasure to work with Bogdan Lawicki as candidate.

b…it was the first time for me, as an Examiner, to evaluate a candidate instructor with disabilities: I was so impressed by his positivism, his attitude, knowledge and skills …that I decided to do a small interview with him and his course Director, Massimo Casabianca!

Let’s start with Boo:

kHi Boo, can you give us a short background about yourself?

I have always been a sportive and active person: table tennis, swimming and several martial arts!

In December 2008, I had a motorbike accident that brought to the amputation of my right leg, as you can imagine my life changed drastically and I had to adapt myself to this ‘new life’.

 

Despite the accident, my sportive nature did not change … I tried few different sports, but when I tried scuba diving – during a holiday – I felt in love with it and I decided to continue up to where I am today!

When did you start scuba diving?

I did my PADI Open Water Course in 2010, during a holiday in Marsa Alam – Egypt! That’s how I started.

fDo you currently practice other sports?

My main sport activity is scuba diving …however, I do a lot of swimming to keep myself fit!

What relationship exist between scuba diving and your disability?

Underwater I feel free!

…and this freedom make me forget all the mobility problems and issues I face on the surface.

e

When did you decide it was time to become a PADI OWSI?

Three years ago, when I became PADI Divemaster. This was an important milestone in my diving career.

 

What made you decide to start a professional career in diving?

Honestly – at the beginning – I was concerned about becoming a professional diver because of the responsibilities involved; but then, I understood that this was the best way for me to share my love and passion for scuba diving.

y

Which kind of social impact your new role of PADI Instructor will have on others?

I believe this will help integration of people with disabilities into society: the society is still struggling to see people with disabilities practicing certain activities. Scuba diving will help people not to feel marginalized.

I personally see you as a role model, what’s your opinion: do you believe your story can be an inspiration for other people with disabilities?

Definitely YES!

In addition, I am proud to be considered as role model; the message I want to deliver is that, after an accident, life goes on and there are plenty of activities a person with disabilities can do …and one of this is certainly scuba diving!

What scuba diving gives you?

zScuba diving gives me a lot!

When I am doing a fun dive, I switch off from my routine, I relax and I enjoy exploring the underwater world. On the other hand, while I am teaching, I love the feeling of being able to share my knowledge, skills and passion with my student divers!

 

…and now some questions for Massimo:

aHow was the experience of teaching Boo’s IDC?

Challenging and gratifying! The challenge was to adapt the logistic and see the all IDC in a different way: not with my parameters but with the eyes of a person with disabilities.

Did you have previous experiences in teaching scuba diving to a person with disabilities?

No, that was the first time …and I will do it immediately again!

Boo has changed my approach to teaching …forever.

According to you, which kind of social impact Boo will have on others as PADI OWSI?

I believe he will be not only a role model but also an ambassador, especially for those families with kids with disabilities. Scuba diving will allow them to escape from their daily routine and enhance their interactions with their playmates.c

Any special tip you want to share with other Instructors and Course Directors who are willing to teach divers with disabilities?

The only tip I feel like giving is to synergistically work with your students, listening for their needs and adapting your course day by day. Creativity and flexibility are key factors!

Limitations are mainly mental rather than physical: this is where Boo helped me to change my way of teaching, opening my mind and helping me understand that anything is possible … provided you want it!