The Course Directors
Bas van Riemsdijk is from the Netherlands and he used to work with his father in high-end fashion, living in the city, wearing custom suits and shirts with cufflinks. But then 22 years ago, he started diving in Greece and loved it. One thing led to another and eventually he sold his house, told his girlfriend, and bought a one-way ticket to Egypt!
Since then he hasn’t looked back. For the last 8 years he has been teaching people the thing that he loves most: diving. He lives on a beach in the sun and introduces people to the life he still can’t get enough of. Now he is the one of the crème de la crème of PADI Instructors – a PADI Course Director, able to teach up to Instructor level. Although teaching PADI IDCs is now his main focus, he still enjoys teaching Open Water Courses. The look on students’ faces after their first ever dive is one of the things he enjoys the most about teaching and probably every dive instructor would agree with him on that!
This IDC was to be a bumper one and the biggest TSD had even run with ten and a half candidates…. (the half will come later )
So to our students!
Susan is from UK and had been living in Dubai, which is where her passion for scuba diving was born. Having worked in HR for many years, like so many of us in diving she got bored with the 9-5 and wanted something more. She came to TSD earlier this year to complete her Divemaster. She also completed her Assistant Instructor Course as she did not have time for the full IDC, but she liked it so much she decided to come back and complete it.
Anja is from Germany, although more recently lived in the UK. Her last job was in technology, but it became boring and repetitive and so after a few drinks with friends the seed was planted and she decided to make a life change and become a PADI Dive Instructor! So she booked a program at TSD to complete her Divemaster and IDC at the same time.
Richard is Filipino and otherwise known as Wizard. He lives in Coron, one of the wreck capitals of the Philippines. Wizard’s story is interesting in that many years ago he had some trouble swimming while in the army and almost died. After several years he build up the courage to get back in the water and became a scuba diver. He progressed so far he eventually became an SDI instructor! Way to go Wizard!!! He since decided he wanted to join the PADI family as due to the popularity of PADI courses, this gives him a much bigger market and also makes him much more employable.
Dennis is also from Coron. He learnt to dive the local way: grab a tank and go!!! Thankfully, since then he has had more formal training! He also came to us as an SDI instructor wanting to make the crossover to PADI.
And to round it up, Ken was our third local from Coron. He completed his Open Water in 2006 and loves diving with macro creatures. He had been working as a Divemaster at the same dive centre as Wizard and Dennis wanted to be able to teach.
Satu is from Finland. She is married with children, and along with her husband, Jari, had worked hard for many years, but they finally had enough. They sold everything including their house and car, packed up their family and started travelling. They were in Peru just before the Philippines, so it was quite a journey to make to get here! Jari is already a PADI Instructor and took a couple of Specialty Instructor Ratings with us, and their little boy has recently completed his Bubblemaker, so diving is in the family! They are looking to travel for a long time yet and teaching diving is great way to do this.
Brian is from Ireland, and he started diving when his dad bought him an Open Water Course when he was 16. He always wanted to dive with dolphins. Working in the UAE, he had some water on his doorstep and started moving through the ranks, coming to us a Divemaster.
Jonnie is in his third year at Uni, and last year he went to Thailand and completed his DM course on Koh Tao. There he met Brian and last month’s IDC candidate, Reece, who recommended that they come to TSD for their IDC course.
Robin is from Sweden, where the water is cold and courses are expensive. So he moved from chilly Scandinavia and came to Thresher Shark Divers to complete his Divemaster Course and soon wanted to become an Instructor. Having dived in many place around the world this was the obvious next step.
Rich, who had been living in the USA in Florida and Key West, was yet another Koh Tao graduate and completed his Open Water there several years ago. His passion is sharks!!! So what better place to come than Malapascua! While Rich was completing his IDC, his wife decided to complete her Open water course and progressed to her Deep Adventure dive. She has seen the sharks and wants to potentially complete her IDC in the future and join Rich teaching around the world.
Phew! So there they are, Team July!
The PADI IDC
The IDC started with no problems and everyone was well prepared. Some hadn’t been in the water for a while but had spent their time prior to the IDC well by reading the theory. While the May IDC was plagued with candidates getting sick at various times, this one was hampered by the weather. The first couple of days was great wonderful sunshine and perfect waters, but then came the wind…
But this is not a problem at all as we can be very flexible with the schedule and bad weather never lasts long. So the stormy time was filled with several classroom presentations and lectures. Soon the winds had cleared and we were back in the water. Just like the last IDC the flexibility of our schedule allowed us to stay on track and as we always do, give our candidates more water and classroom time than is required.
Remedial sessions were arranged as and when the candidates felt they needed it and there was many an evening spent revising together and preparing presentations for the next day.
Just before the mock IE we were joined by our “half” candidate! Stephan is a manager at a small resort on the Sipalay in the Philippines. He wanted to do his PADI Instructor Course, but with his managerial responsibilities did not have the full 15 days to devote to it.
At TSD we always try to accommodate individual needs and Stephan had seen on our website that we offer one-on-one IDCs. With the only full time Course Director on Malapascua we can run an IDC almost any time to fit around your schedule. Stephan came up to see us for a couple of days and signed up on the spot We also encouraged him to take elearning as that cuts down the duration of the IDC. So Stephan was able to come up for 10 days in June to complete a private IDC with Jason. He arrived back in July a couple of days before the IE and joined the rest of the group at no extra charge to refresh his skills in advance of the exam.
So the big day was here. The hard work of the candidates and staff paid off as the mock IE went well and everyone went onto the Instructor exam.
The instructor exam went well. We now have 11 new PADI Instructors!!!
After the party…
As well as the free Oxygen Provider and Marine Resource Management Specialty Instructor Ratings offered during the course, almost everyone chose to go on to do additional Specialty Instructor ratings, and for good reason, as they will make you much more employable. In addition, we have a great offer for this – as well as it being a great price, we give you your fifth for free! This matches PADI’s application fee offer (5th free) and helps you get the courses needed to achieve PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) status.
One Instructor Specialty that is invariable chosen every time is the PADI Deep Diver Instructor rating. This requires two dives, and these are usually done at our famous thresher shark site, Monad Shoal! So not only do you get the certification, but you get to see a very shark at the same time!
More photos on Facebook.