In July, during a visit to Red Sea Relax diving center in Dahab, I had the pleasure to meet a special person who had just completed his Divemaster Course: Charlie Holt.
Charlie is among some of the youngest PADI Divemaster and he is now attending his Instructor Development Course: this, inshallah (as we say in Egypt), will make him one of the youngest PADI Instructors in the diving industry!
… I was having a meeting with Chris (General Manager and co-founder of Red Sea Relax), when he suddenly told me “Teo, would you like to meet a fanatical diver who was introduced to diving through PADI aged 10 years/2 months ….and then looking forward a whole 8 years to become a PADI PRO?”
My answer was, of course …YES !
I spent some time chatting with Charlie and his passion was so inspiring to me that I had to ask him straight away if he was ready to be interviewed by his PADI Regional Manager.
Before the interview, some facts:
- Name: Charlie D Holt
- From: Newport Pagnell, UK
- Date of Birth: 16 July 1997
- Working/Training: Red Sea Relax (S-32391)
- Qualified Junior Open Water: 29 September 2007 (Aged 10)
- Dived to 30 Meters at Canyon Dahab on his 15th birthday.
- Divemaster: 28th July 2015 (PADI #365946)
- Projected Instructor: 12th September 2015
When and where did you first start diving?
I took my first breath from a regulator aged 5 in a swimming pool in Kenya when my mother was doing a pool try dive experience. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to try properly myself and when we went on holiday to Cyprus my family bought me the Open Water Course for my 10th birthday.
I think seeing some documentaries on the Discovery channel with Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) hahaha
Do you have any role model who have inspired you?
I would say that I’ve got a few, the instructors that took me through my courses to Divemaster level had a massive impact and hopefully some of their good habits and professionalism has rubbed off on me! The fact they also had an obvious passion for diving helped encourage me and proved to me that it’s possible to have a job you love and not dread going to work every morning!
Diving gives you a chance to get away from any problems that you might have on the surface and provides a method of escape. I find it more relaxing than other sports combined with experiencing another world and the aquatic life.
I went to 40M as part of my deep spec course in Dahab at the Lighthouse Reef
What U/W activities do you like most?
I enjoy guiding dives and showing other divers the amazing sights at the local reefs, although deep dives are also a favorite of mine. They often give you the chance to see life and underwater features such as swim-through or wrecks that you don’t get the chance to see when at shallower depths.
One of the most memorable dives was a night dive in Dahab a few years ago; it was amazing how the aquatic life changes when the sun goes down. We almost ran into a Fan-tail stingray that was bigger than me on the safety stop! Along with seeing a huge barracuda lurking in the distance this definitely made the dive memorable.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen on a dive?
If you are diving in tropical waters I think you see something unusual on every dive because of the huge variety of life and some of the stranger creatures that go alongside this.
The diving here in Egypt and Dahab is superb and there are still more locations to explore in the Red Sea. Further afield I would like to dive the Maldives to experience the different conditions such as current and a chance to see the bigger fish like whale sharks and manta rays.
What has been your favorite PADI course, and why?
My favorite course was probably the PADI Advanced OW as you get to try different diving activities like drift dives, improving buoyancy and night diving. I feel like it really improves you as a diver and brings a lot of different skills you may not learn in other courses.
What is your actual involvement in the diving industry?
I was granted an Internship at Red Sea Relax this summer to complete my Dive Master and Instructor qualifications. Since passing my Dive Master I have been guiding local dives for them and once I qualify as an Instructor I have been guaranteed a place on their permanent Instructor roster.
I have to return to UK to start university and here I will help with the marketing side during term time returning to Dahab and Red Sea Relax to work during vacations periods.
I love diving and the truly wonderful thing is the ability to introduce it to other people. I know I am going to love being an Instructor and to hopefully progress to higher levels and become a Course Director shaping future Instructors has to be the ultimate goal.
I would imagine that parents always want the best for their children- which means having a “proper” job, that pays well and offers potential for advancement if you work hard.
We know that in the diving industry you’re probably never going to get rich- or certainly not rich quick- but it really is an extremely responsible job that does offer a chance for progression. It is also extremely rewarding work that offers the chance for huge job satisfaction. The old advice of find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life really does apply here. If a parent wants the best for their child- they should take into account the happiness that working in such an industry could bring and therefor support them in their career choice.
…I’d like to conclude my interview with Chris’ words:
“On a professional note, Charlie exudes enthusiasm for diving. On his DM course produced some of the highest scores we have seen in our 12 year business history and over the last week he has eased straight into the role of Dive Guide with confidence, charm and professionalism. Despite his young age, to me he already represents an excellent ambassador for PADI at its professional best”
Charlie, from all of us at PADI: congratulations on your Divemaster credential and all the best in furthering your career at PADI!