Abo Gallum Environmental Project

i-DiVE TRiBE  –  a group of divers whose target is to change the concept of diving in Egypt – has recently completed a successful environmental project in Abu Gallum Protected Area.

Dr. Abd El Rahman El Mekkkawi, PADI IDC Staff Instructor and co-founder of i-DiVE TRiBE, shares with us the report of the event!


Our target is to develop our members’ diving skills, knowledge and concepts. We aim to use the knowledge and individual skills of our members to serve the community and preserve the environment.

We I-Dive Tribe, in collaboration with Incredible divers lead by Ibrahim El Mekkawi, and PADI Dive Resort Bedouin divers,  a group of divers interested in helping spread ecological awareness, would like to share with you our latest environmental project and event. Our founders Dr. Abd El Rahman El Mekkkawi and Farah Akram Samy wanted to do a project that increases the environmental awareness of our young Egyptian youth and helps save our beautiful nature for future generations.
So as a big family, the tribe gathered up and started collecting ideas. Finally, we came to a conclusion that with the help of Hamed Mohamed (teaching assistant at Luxor College of Fine Arts), we will do an underwater clean up in Abo Gallum Protected Area, and Dahab, offshore clean up from The Blue Hole to Abo Gallum, and do some Sandy Stones fluorescent and phosphoric road signs “part of abo galoum protected area remapping and renovation”.

idive1So we cut some flat stones from St. Catherin Mountains and started carving them. Then we colored them in fluorescent colors. They were made out of stone to be long living and eco-friendly. We used phosphoric colors to light up in the dark, as well as the fluorescent colors. The idea of using fluorescent lights was to reflect to it being naturally found in the sea, corals and marine life.
We then moved them to their destinations on the road to mark where people should head.




In this picture, Mr. Emad elwani “Chairman of the City of Dahab” is with us while placing the road signs.

… And since science and knowledge must be a crucial part in our everyday life; and must be our base; the team had some lectures before starting the cleanup:

The lectures were about the corals and their importance to our oceans and seas; also about how to save it from plastics and rubbish that is suffocating it. Farah Akram was our lecturer.

We also had a very interesting lecture from Mr. Ahmed Sadek, the director of Abo Gallum protected Area, who came and talked about the importance of these protected areas.

Since we believe in the importance of science and knowledge, every diver was given an online pdf copy, of Project Aware book to study it and answer the knowledge reviews. Our team leaders/PADI instructors, offered to teach us some of the environmental specialties.

And as a part of acknowledging our work, the director of the protected areas had some acknowledgment certifications made for the whole team.

Then came one of the most important parts of our event that lasted 3 days, off shore and underwater clean up: with the help of a team of young men and women cleaned the shores from the famous Blue Hole to Abo Gallum …And our divers started the underwater clean up.

Here are some photos for both offshore and underwater clean up.

5Part of the garbage that was collected in big garbage bags, then was transported using camels to be disposed later on.

7Some of the pipes we collected.

6One of our team carrying the garbage collecting bag.

As a conclusion, we hope to spread the importance of keeping our seas, oceans and shores clean to have them in the future and share them with the future generations.#

Our team included:

Mohamed Abd el Monaem – Ali El Daour – Ibrahim El Mekkawi – Veronia Emad Gerges  – Usama A. El Dakrory – Sherook Mohsen Eldafrawy – Mohamed Molo – Nermeen Refaat Ayad – Ayman Mahmoud Senosy – Haytham Hussein ELfouly – Haytham Sharaf  – Esraa Zangeer – Ahmed Hesham – Anas Osama Hammad – Mahmoud Ahmed Alaa – Saad Abd El moneam – Ali Ahmos – Sayed A. El Sayed – Ahmed Saleh Abdelrahman  – Ahmed Yahya Abdallah – Abd El Rahman El Mekkawi – Farah Akram – Hamed Mohamed.

Many Thanks and Congratulations to i-DiVE TRiBE for the great event:

we really like what you are doing, keep up the good work!


New Course Director in Egypt – Amr Z. Ali

amr<<My Journey Started in 1998 doing DSD with my cousin Ahmed Hafez then few years after i become PADI Divemaster, so much fun seeing new type of marine life every day (I loved it) but in 2006 some say its good time to move on to the next step and become OWSI, OOOOK life saving on the edge, am I able to finish this step? 

With encouragement from many friends and all the Team Of INMO Divers where I use to work as Dive Guide, then I meet with my first Mentor Gabi Pointer and she is without doubt Amazing Educator and mentor, I still remember the day I ask her how did you become a Course Director? So her success become my goal of life.

I enjoyed teaching very much as I see divers struggling to do a skill but with practice they accomplish and they are happy to enjoy diving, and that is where my joy come from.

Some good years of saving and spending as I instructed SCUBA Diving with Big Blue Dahab since 2008, working there made me realize and believe that I can be Course Director due to many Divemaster courses I taught there but all of the sudden Egyptian Revolution started and every thing is withhold to the unknowing time, it comes with some benefits too as I noticed more of Egyptian divers coming from Cairo and Alexandria to our famous city of Dahab and I thought that is my Market, beside the Bedouin community in Dahab city.

To focus in this Arabic speaking market I had to find another mentor to provide me with the experience in this area so sending messages to other course director around the Red Sea area and here he is the best person and friend I ever worked with Mohamed Adel Platinum Course Director, the  year of 2015 was full with experience and fun working with him, Knowledgable-Ready-Helpful in all times I ask him there is always a logical fantastic answer, never loss his temper. Also I got to know Detlef England as he have same plan to become PADI Course Director so we educate each other in many ways during Mohamed Adel IDC`s.

23-03-2016 i become PADI Course Director, this day I will remember for ever as I see the pay back of all the hard work and the help I got from my family and friends and I am very much thankful for every one who stood beside me to reach my goal>>.

Congratulations to Amr for successfully completing his CDTC !

New Course Director in Egypt – Detlef England

detlef<<I started diving in 1986 with a ‘try dive’ in the swimming pool, during a holiday in Mombasa – Kenya: after the first breath underwater, I immediately understood diving was going to be my addiction for the rest of my life. The diving center where I started was a CMAS diving center therefore after completing the 1* CMAS, I continued all the way until I become a 3* Instructor. In 1996, I crossed over to the PADI system, as I knew I wanted to ‘go Pro’ with PADI and in 2011, I enrolled in my IDC with Course Director Nikolay Baumann at the Dive Connection in El Gouna.

My mission as a Course Director will be to encourage IDC candidates, from all over the world, to become PADI ambassadors and embrace the PADI philosophy. For this reason, I will focus as well on promoting Instructor level continuing education!

My ambition is to aim for Platinum Course Director within the next few years and maintain that status.

Another important goal for me is to share Project AWARE’ s motto SAVE OUR WORLD / OUR WATER with future professionals …so that they can deliver it to all their future students, their friends and family!

By the end of 2016 I can celebrate 3 mile stones: diving for 30 years, 20 years PADI Membership and my first year as a Course Director. What a Fantastic year!

I need to say thank you to all my friends, family and PADI staff for their support.>>

Congratulations to Detlef for successfully completing his CDTC !


MF2016_HEADER copy

We are pleased to invite you to join us at the 2016 Member Forums in Egypt.

PADI Member Forum 2016 promises to be an exciting and informative journey through the new, cutting-edge educational tools that have been added to PADI’s digital library.
The seminar will feature a risk management presentation along with an interactive Q&A session about PADI Standards.

You’ll also get a glimpse into the new PADI marketing campaigns, including: My PADI, AmbassaDiver™, Discover Scuba® Diving Days, and changes within Emergency First Response® and Project AWARE® programs. Registration is free and recommended.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet up with other PADI Professionals and Members in your area and discuss issues you may need assistance on… or just enjoy the get-together with other key players in the industry.

The events details are as follows:

7th of April 2016 at 19:00hrs
Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort – KM97 Quseir Marsa Alam Road

15th of April 2016 at 19:00hrs
Hurghada Marriott Beach Resort – El Corniche Road

18th of April 2016 at 19:00hrs
Ras Mohamed National Park’s Conference Room – Bank Street – Hadaba

22th of April 2016 at 19:00hrs
Hotel ibis Styles Dahab Lagoon (previously Coralia)

** Please register online using the links provided above **

There is no charge for attendance at the Forum. Attendance at this member forum will count as one seminar credit.

The Forum will be conducted by:
Teo Brambilla, Regional Manager Egypt.
Teo can be contacted on +20 122 3658961 or [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you at one of our Member Forums!

Your PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa Team


PADI Offices Revamping – Team Egypt

PADI Offices Revamp Service to Boost Diving’s Best-In-Class Member Experience

One-stop-shop specialized support teams are only the beginning in helping PADI Members succeed in 2016.PADI50

If you’ve heard change is in the air at PADI, you are correct! The PADI organization revamped the global Regional Headquarters to upgrade its already unparalleled service and support for PADI Members. As part of a dynamic initiative to super-charge diver acquisition in 2016, changes include streamlining departments to allow for one-stop member service through the creation of dedicated regional teams to offer you area-tailored consultation and support.

Territory and Regional Specialists – One Call Does It All
Suppose you want to add PADI Freediver™ to your course offerings. You have questions about obtaining your Freediver Instructor rating, you need to order some Freediver training materials, and you’re looking for tips on how to reach potential Freediver customers. To meet these needs in the past, you would have talked with three different PADI departments — but not anymore. With restructured PADI Territory teams, now you can do it all with one call. PADI Territories are led by Territory Directors – industry veterans with years of dive industry experience empowered to deliver the prescriptive support you need to succeed. Each territory is also supported by multiple teams of Regional Managers and Regional Training Consultants. Your regional team is highly familiar with your local area’s unique successes and challenges, is knowledgeable in both PADI training standards and the latest products and services, and is dedicated to helping your business grow.

Team Egypt

Under the leadership of Jonas Samuelsson as our Territory Director, Pam Holt will now be working as a dedicated office contact together with PADI’s Regional Manager, Teo Brambilla, providing service from the field.


team egyptPADI also redefines member service with the introduction of the PADI Customer Relations department. PADI Customer Relations unifies support for business-critical services such as diver certification inquiries, membership status updates, digital product support, and other customer service needs. Formerly handled by multiple departments with overlapping responsibilities, merging these services increases efficiency and simplifies getting special service and help when you need it.

Investing in Industry Growth and Prosperity – Now Here’s Something to Talk About
As PADI kicks-off its 50th anniversary celebration, the organization’s focus is not on its past successes, but on you and your fellow PADI Members’ prosperity for the next 50 years. To this end, the PADI Offices are investing more than ever before in unprecedented market research to increase diver acquisition and retention, and improve the diver experience. As just one example, PADI has McKinsey & Company, a highly recognized, multinational consulting firm, assisting with qualitative and quantitative research to identify new opportunities for industry growth. Stay tuned as PADI turns research into action to help drive more divers to you.

PADI Members – The Way the World Learns to Dive
For five decades, the PADI family has continuously evolved the dive experience to deliver unrivaled diver education backed by best-in-class instructor and dive operation support. Enjoying its yearlong golden anniversary celebration, PADI continues to evolve both member and diver experiences, showcase you and your fellow PADI Professionals as diving’s leading edge, and demonstrate why PADI is the way the world learns to dive.

PADI Regional Manager for Egypt

We are pleased to announce that Teo Brambilla has been appointed as PADI Regional Manager for Egypt.

Teo (2)Currently PADI Regional Manager for Sinai, Teo will expand his territory to include the whole of Egypt. He has accrued a wealth of experience within the diving industry through his roles as PADI Instructor Examiner, TecRec Instructor Trainer and previous owner of a successful PADI 5 Star IDC Centre in Egypt. As PADI Regional Manager for Sinai and Middle East since 2012 Teo also benefits from extensive local knowledge of this region.

With his in-depth knowledge and network within the Egyptian market, Teo will provide invaluable support to PADI members throughout the country.


Teo can be contacted on [email protected] or +2 012 23658961.


Please join us in congratulating Teo in his new role and we wish him a long and successful career at PADI.

School Groups and the diving business

Corri Clarke, PADI IDC Staff Instructor and Assistant Manager at Oonas for 9 Years, discusses here one of the more unusual groups of repeat guests and the benefits and challenges they present.

IMG_1564editCorri, can you give us a short background about Oonas?

As one of the longest established Diving Centres in Sharm El Sheikh, Oonas Dive Club is recognized for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, set in the centre of one of the world’s most popular diving destinations. Guests return year after year to enjoy incredible Red Sea diving and the personal attention of our small team of professional and dedicated dive staff. Its charm and popularity are built around the unique combination of a dedicated Hotel and Dive Centre which are located right on the beach and set in a quiet corner of the busy resort of Na’ama Bay.

Why did you decide to focus part of your business to School Groups?

About 10 years ago, over a sociable après dive session, discussions with a diving guest and UK-based teacher explored the possibility of offering a special school trip to introduce school kids to the wonders of the underwater world. The following year, Oonas Dive Club welcomed the first of its many school groups, all booked on a specially constructed ‘Learn to Dive’ Package.

The event resulted in 30 newly certified divers enthused with their new found skills and the experience of visiting an exotic destination, happy teachers and a huge motivation for the dive instructors who enjoyed rising to the challenges of this new and unusual venture.

So, that’s the history. Since that time Oonas has hosted 15 different schools, (with many returning each year to continue their diving education) and issued over 500 certifications from Open Water to Rescue Diver. Groups sizes have ranged from 12 to 43 participants with students aged between 11 and 18 years old.

It’s a perfect solution for keeping the Dive Centre busy and the Hotel fully booked in what would otherwise be the more expensive school holiday periods which ‘regular’ divers are more inclined to avoid.


How are School Groups normally organized?

With any large group, especially those involving schools, the key attraction is the ease with which things can be organized. The more that can be offered by way of support, the more likely teachers will be willing to take on arranging a trip.

To this end, Oonas entered into a collaboration with a previous guest and school teacher, who set up a UK-based agency offering bespoke Scuba Diving School Trips. The services offered by the agency include:

  • Presentations to schools and parents about the proposed trip
  • ABTA / IATA backed travel agency for booking flights and insurance
  • Templates for risk assessment and other formal documentation required by school governing bodies and authorities
  • UK payment facilities
  • Pre-trip delivery of PADI materials required for courses
  • UK liaison at all stages of the trip

This leaves teachers free to concentrate on encouraging participation and ensuring that payments are collected, rather than getting bogged down in bureaucracy and paperwork – a great relief!

What are the challenges you face?

One of the biggest challenges for any Dive Centre based in a more exotic destination, is convincing those in authority of the safety aspects of the activities and the location.  Good briefing documents, thorough Risk Assessments, Emergency Action Plans and the backing of the PADI teaching system, all contribute to this aim. References from previous school groups, excellent ratings on customer review sites and international awards are also an important part of promoting the Dive Centre’s reputation as a professional and reliable outfit.

Once the decision makers have been convinced, the rest of the challenges relate to organization and planning. Communication is key! Try to obtain as much information as possible beforehand – there is nothing more frustrating than running around on the first day trying to work out how many students will do each course. Clear and precise information about each student, ages, proposed courses, the date of last dive and number of dives logged (where appropriate), food allergies, date of completed medical forms etc. Never give up on this – it’s always that one piece of missing information that will be bound to trip you up on the day!


It’s not just a holiday

Another important aspect is to promote the educational benefits of learning to dive in a foreign location. Scuba Diving is often seen as a relaxing pastime, with palm fringed beaches and hammocks, which doesn’t really fit with the learning and development objectives of a school trip. So, as well as making sure to promote the dedication and discipline needed to learn the skill of diving, emphasize the opportunities for cultural exchange, such as supper in a Bedouin encampment with experience of the traditional lifestyles and foods. Arrange a PROJECT AWARE evening with instructors all contributing to a presentation on the protection of our oceans, using Project Aware leaflets and materials. Quiz nights about local information, diving topics and marine conservation are great! An underwater clean-up dive can be very rewarding, or a shopping trip to the local bazaar with opportunities for interacting with local shop keepers and perfecting bargaining techniques – the resulting stories are hilarious.


Dive the Plan!

Of course, we’re all fabulous at dive planning, logistics, timings etc. Well, for school groups apply the same principles but much more! Always build in extra time for unexpected eventualities. Apply low student:instructor ratios, allow time for remediation in the timetable (you will be so glad you did!) and keep to a planned schedule so that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing at each point of the day. Have a debrief every day with staff and teachers to make sure everything is on track. Things that might seem minor, such as allocating spaces to groups for kitting and de-kitting can develop into chaos if not planned and communicated sufficiently.

What is so special about teaching school students?

So, is the extra effort really all worth it I hear you ask? Well after 10 years of welcoming school groups, I can definitely say a big emphatic YES!

The most amazing and motivating aspect is the transition you see as an instructor/teacher/manager, from students who arrive in a foreign country, slightly shy and often anxious about what they have embarked on, to responsible and confident divers, keen to discuss their experiences both above and below the water.

Ordinary diving guests have often remarked on their (unexpectedly) pleasant experiences mixing with a younger generation of divers, and teachers on their own diving holidays who have seen with their own eyes what a rewarding experience it is, have come back with their own groups in subsequent years.

The last night party and presentation ceremony is testament to the whole experience, with speeches from students and instructors, thank you gifts presented, friendships formed, group photos and a promise to continue diving in the future……….. oh, and a great big Egyptian buffet – what could be better than that 🙂


For more information about arranging a School Group contact [email protected] or have a look at the following website: http://www.321dive.co.uk/





A magic dive with a special person!

At the end of October, I was invited to a special event  …or better, a dive with a ‘special person’.

IMG-20151104-WA0001Here below the interview with Raffaele Vallana – General Manager and Co-Owner of Diving&Discovery – who hosted the event:

Raffa, can you give us a short background about Diving&Discovery and yourself?

Situated into the wonderful dive location of Ras Umm Sid, one of the most popular and fascinating capes in Sharm el Sheikh for biodiversity and landscape, Diving&Discovery has been operating in the scuba diving industry since 1996, offering top quality services for sea lovers.

Awarded for “Excellence” by H.E. Ministry of Tourism and as “Best Diving Center in South Sinai” by H.E. South Sinai Governor, the centre is proud of its esteemed position, recognized by several qualified international authorities such as EUF (European Underwater Federation) and ISO-UN (International Organization for European Standardization).

Classified as PADI 5 Star Dive Resort, Diving&Discovery offers a wide range of aquatic activities; finding himself in a homely environment, the guest has always the chance to be advised by a team of qualified professionals and choose what he likes more.

My own presence at D&D, as General Manager and Co-Owner, started on 1999. Earlier, since 1996, I had the opportunity to increase my personal experience and know-how as Instructor, through the cooperation with several diving centers in Sharm. My professional diving career started in Italy on 1991, but I had the privilege to dive since when I was 6 years old (1979) with my father, who transmitted me his passion, guiding me into a world which changed my life.

Who is Ghanim Mohmmed Al-Muftah?

Ghanim is a Qatari 13 years old cute and lovely boy, who was born with a severe pathology, called “Caudal Regression Syndrome”. He learned how to make his disability a strength point and he demonstrated how motivations and positive energy can bend and eliminate any kind of limitations, achieving unbelievable success and objectives.

How did you get in contact with him and his team?

It happened thanks to my “second Family” in Qatar. In fact, two of my best friends and partners of Diving&Discovery are working and living there. They are superb divers and very well integrated into local diving community. Therefore, when has been decided to edit a professional documentary about Ghanim’s life, they had of course no doubt about which diving centre to involve.. and I was really honored to have D&D being part of something so important.

What is the ‘’Journey to the depth’’ project?

It is a documentary, which narrates Ghanim’s biography, since when he was born, passing through all events and experiences which made him becoming a disabled athlete, able to compete successfully in several sports. I believe that the main message and meaning of the documentary, is to highlight how much fundamental are motivation and courage, for a serene and positive life, regardless the presence of a physical disability. Youth and adults too, can just achieve a very positive teaching, by Ghanim’s attitude and tenacity.

Why did you decide – together with his staff  – to organize an event in Sharm and what you wanted to achieve?

Well, since when has been illustrated to me the possibility to manage the event, I’ve realized that it was going to become the most important “mission” and challenge of Diving&Discovery. Something to be proud of…  I’ve immediately realize the importance of a fundamental perfect organization, putting together all our experience, for a very special case which deserve absolutely the best care and attentions.

…..Why to take this responsibility and why here?

First, for Ghanim.. as I said, he just deserved to be assisted, giving him the opportunity to have fun and learn, improving his diving skills, which believe me, are absolutely remarkable.

Second, because I firmly believe that Sharm El Sheikh deserve something too, as our small contribution for the raise of the image of the location, highlighting the safe, the flexibility and the good organization of professional dive operators, showing not least, the gorgeous biodiversity which characterize the local environmental. Perceptions and concepts, that were guiding here remarkable number of tourists, before of the deep crisis that we are sailing through.

Did you have any previous experience with Disable divers?

Yes, at Diving&Discovery we already had several previous experiences with disabled divers, but honestly, nothing comparable with the specific case of Ghanim. I mean, we never had the pleasure to assist a diver who suffer of a so severe handicap, being able to transmit motivation, positive energy and strength to the Team and myself. I have to say it.. we all learned a lot. And it will be unforgettable.

What makes diving with Ghanim a unique experience?

Wow… that’s the question I was waiting to answer to..

What makes unique the experience with Ghanim? Himself, his bravery, the contagious enthusiasm which made all Diving&Discovery Staff and Supporters to feel even more motivated in our profession and positive in life.

How Scuba diving can help people with special needs?

Scuba diving gives the opportunity to feel in freedom, without any barrier and limitations, being able to don’t suffer for any obstacle. How to measure it? Just seeing the wide smile and happiness which accompany special needs people before, during and after any dive…

2015-10-27 17.47.37 (2)PADI Regional Manger Teo Brambilla awarding Ghanim for his outstanding achievements in diving.



PADI ON TOUR – HURGHADA – October 2015

During the second week of October, Teo Brambilla (PADI Regional Manager), Pam Holt (Field Service Coordinator) Su-Li Wong (Consultant, Training and Quality Management) and Amir Khalil (Sales Representative and Product Consultant) conducted a joint trip to Hurghada.

SPATThe trip included a series of events and activities designed to provide support to the Egyptian market, PADI Dive center and Resorts and PADI members.

During the week, several meetings were conducted with key accounts in both Hurghada and El Gouna: the aim of these meetings is to provide customized business support in terms of marketing, social networks does and don’ts, training development, PADI continuing Education philosophy and digital training material use/benefits.

A dedicated PADI Pool Party, to introduce Turkish Airlines Staff to Scuba Diving, was conducted by PADI staff as a way to celebrate the great partnership between the two companies in running the PADI DIVE DAY.

TA pool3The PADI Member Forum took place on the 13th of October and more than 100 PADI Members attended: the presentation was delivered by Teo, Su-Li and Amir as representatives of their departments (Field Service, Training and Quality department and Sales).

mf5mfThe MF covered important topics such as, PADI’s market share in comparison with competitors – as part of the ‘Win with PADI’ value proposition, an overview of the revised OWD course and the exciting ‘ready to be launched’ PADI Freediver Program and a great workshop on the PADI digital products (how to purchase, assign, use …and benefits!)

This fantastic week ended with the PADI DIVE DAY!

bannerAn event organized by PADI and HEPCA and sponsored by Turkish Airlines, Project AWARE, Aqua Lung Egypt, FourthElement and Scuba Online.

On Wednesday the 14th of October 2015, over 300 diver joined forces to conduct both underwater and beach clean up at Magawish Island in Hurghada:

happy diversclean up boatcleanupSpecial thanks goes to members of HEPCA and PADI Dive operators: Dive Point Red Sea, Aquarius Hurghada, Colona Divers, Euro-Divers Grand Hotel, Hurghada, Dive Pro Academy Hurghada, Panorama Divers, New Dino Diving Centre Hurghada Red Sea Egypt, Ilios Dive Club, Blue Paradise Red Sea,Cool Divers Diving Center, Deep Dark Safari, Red Sea Sails, Queen Utopia

The day ended in PAPAS BEACH CLUB where a closing ceremony was hosted.

dive day cerimonyDuring the ceremony, winners of the ‘Selfie competition’ were awarded:

First and second place won a Turkish Airlines Flight Ticket and third place a complete Aqualung ‘Core’ regulator.

selfiexBefore the great BBQ prepared by PAPAS’ staff it was time for some fun with the Prize Draw. Divers from different nationalities and affiliated to different PADI Dive Centers received the following prizes: SCUBAONLINE Dive Bag, Fourth Element Swimwear, Forth Element Dry Bag, PROJECT AWARE T-Shirts, Aqualung masks.

bbqMore pictures of the event are available at the following links:






Is the PADI Rescue Diver Course for everybody?

Let’s hear marketing expert Ornella Ditel’s opinion, after she completed her PADI Rescue Course!

orn3Tell us something about yourself?

My name is Ornella Ditel and I am responsible for Sales & Marketing at Camel Dive Club & Hotel, the historical scuba diving hub in the heart of Sharm El Sheikh.

I started working at Camel five years ago, but I moved to Sharm in 2007, after my Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Communication and after having worked in different parts of the world in the diving tourism related field. In Sardinia (Italy) I’ve worked as a counter girl for a popular diving centre; in Thailand, I worked as a snorkeling guide and as a diving boat hostess; and in Australia I worked both on diving safari boats and land based.

My passion for scuba diving started thanks to my ex-partner who is a PADI Instructor and underwater photographer. He struggled to convince me to try diving, as in the beginning I was scared to death and firmly declined his many attempts to even making me try breathing through a regulator on the surface!

What is your diving background?

I did the PADI DSD experience in 2004 and then repeated it in 2005 twice before I finally signed up for the PADI Open Water Course the same year. As many beginners, I’ve been one of my instructor’s worst nightmares as I truly struggled in some of the skills, like clearing the mask or performing the CESA. I have very clear memories of myself in the Camel Dive Club swimming pool thinking of aborting the course and just stick to snorkeling! At that time I was a guest at Camel. I think that if it wasn’t for the patience of my partner and the bubbling atmosphere that you experience at Camel, I would have never realized that scuba diving was what I love the most.

orn1A few months later, I signed up for the PADI Advanced Course and Nitrox Specialty, which I thought would have remained my final diving certifications for life. Although many of my diving friends used to encourage me in continuing my training up to a professional level, I have never been interested in it. I love scuba diving, but thinking of being responsible for teaching diving skills to horrible students as I was or guiding inexperienced divers is not really “my thing”.

What made you decide to enroll in the PADI Rescue Course?

Although I have never been interested in becoming a diving professional, during every dive I always keep an eye on other divers, and somehow feel I should have an active role in making every dive a pleasant and safe experience for the group I am in.

12In various occasions, especially in diving destinations with poor visibility and strong currents, I faced some problems and helped other divers to calm down or to fix small issues with their equipment, and mine, both underwater and on the surface. It also happened that I could feel that some divers I was with were not feeling relaxed about the next dive, because of the potential sightings or difficult weather conditions, for example. In those cases, I thought that improvising or ignoring certain issues could not have a happy ending all the times, so I clearly felt the need to develop my knowledge and learn the adequate techniques to assist other divers in need. That’s why in 2014 I signed up for the PADI Emergency First Responder Course, which is a pre-requisite for the PADI Rescue Course. I did the Course with the tuition of my fantastic colleague Beth Sanders along with my former boss at Camel who was also a PADI Instructor that wanted to refresh her EFR skills. I loved the course and I decided right away that after a few years of being a fun diver it was time for me to commit to something more serious and potentially beneficial not only for myself but also for my diving buddies.

Do you believe is a useful course?

I now believe that the PADI Rescue Course and the EFR Course are the most challenging yet most useful and rewarding milestones of my qualifications in general, not only within the scuba diving field.

Whilst my training was kicking in, moment-by-moment I was surprised and happy to realize that I knew what the next step should have been. I truly loved the fact that performing rescue skills provide instant feedback and that the challenge and the skills are somehow in balance.

90Was it challenging?

The Rescue Course for me was quite tiring but also very good fun! It needs concentration and commitment and sometimes the thought that the scenarios I was getting trained in could have been real life situations was about to put me off. However, in other occasions like transporting the unconscious diver on the surface, I could not stop laughing with my buddy student after we completed the skills! He had eaten some quite spicy stuff, so the simulated rescue breaths had a smelly addition which I am sure I’d have never noticed in a real emergency, but which was hilarious in that circumstance, whilst definitely also worked as a good hook to remember the techniques we were learning!

000073What did you like most?

The aspect of the Course which I enjoyed the most was the feeling of usefulness that pervaded me when I stopped being paranoid and realized that if any of the scenarios would have happened, my presence as a EFR and Rescue Diver could have saved someone’s life. This is priceless, in my opinion.

Con-Ed; Grenada; 2012

Will you recommend the PADI Rescue Course to other divers?

I definitely recommend this Course to fellow divers, and not only to those who plan to become Divemasters or Instructors. Certified Rescue divers are probably the best buddies any diver could dream for. Wouldn’t we all feel safer if we’d know that all our diving buddies would be ready to assist in case of need? I definitely would! And I am not necessarily referring to dreadful and serious situations… sometimes divers can face small issues which may lead to surface earlier only because of the lack of knowledge of the proper ways to handle a non-standard situation.

With this Course I expanded upon the knowledge I had already acquired in previous scuba training. When I passed the final exam after the amazing tuition of Camel Instructor Francesco Pipino, I truly felt I took a giant step forward by taking everything that I already knew to a whole new level, and becoming a more confident diver who knows how to react in the event of an emergency.

DSC_0013In any learning situation, there is an old adage saying that to teach something is to really understand it. This thinking applies here as well. I believe that to feel comfortable helping others is to really feel comfortable with yourself in the water. Non-professional divers could achieve this comfort level over time with hundreds of dives, but taking a PADI Rescue Diver course will get you there much sooner.

The PADI Rescue Diver taught me transforming a threat into a challenge. With the Rescue Course, I did not become like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider but this Course definitely challenged me, forced me to push my limits forward and rewarded me immensely both on a scuba diving level and as a general personal achievement.