On May 9th I received an email from PADI, saying I was accepted into the CDTC of July 2nd in the Dominican Republic! Now I can totally imagine myself lying on a white sand beach sipping a moijto but
15 years ago if you’d told me I would be where I am now I would have answered: “yeah right, keep on dreaming!”
I started diving in the late 90’s because there was an article in the “Viva” a Dutch magazine aboout diving and it offered 2 dsd’s for 1 in Zeeland, NL. Together with Martin we took the offer and loved it. Clearly I am a sucker for advertising. Naturually, after enjoying my impulse purchase so much my next step was the Open Water course. Pool sessions were great, but the open water dives were cold and dark and I cannot say those weekends were my favorite past times! Even now I get cold in the supposedly balmy pacific, anything under 21 degrees and I would love a dry suit! However after a few dives in Holland during the summer my air consumption was getting better and I started to enjoy it a bit more. Ice diving was enjoyed by Martin but I decided it would probably be better for me to skip that.
Along came Aruba and I signed up for what I can only describe as an ‘interesting’ advanced course. My underwater navigation consisted of my instructor pointing at an area and telling me to swim there and back! But the lush Warm water, clear visibilty and the tons of fun I had sucked me into the diving world. After many cold winters in the Netherlands we decided to move our business to the much warmer Curacao, mostly so I didn’t feel like I needed a dry suit just to step outside in November! Therefore in 2000 we opened a restaurant on the island and all our free time was spent diving. After a few months I realized I was not enjoying the islands as much because most of the time was spend behind a hot stove in an AC kitchen, and the ocassional dive was not enough. I had clearly caught the diving bug, a career change was in order!
In 2001 we became the proud owners of Silent Immersion. Both of us just holding the advanced certification, maybe we were crazy but it felt like the right decision. But we clearly had a lot of work cut out for us so study time began. By September 1st we were OWSI. It was alot of hard work but well worth it and many times I think back about my first glance in the encyclopedia of diving and think, it wasn’t that bad after all, it all makes sense 🙂 but at the time I was probably ripping out my hair, banging my head on the table and trying to understand the Haldean Model.
We had 4 brilliant, educational years managing Silent Immersion but decided we needed a change and we were looking for a new adventure. We wanted to travel a bit and explore so after camelling it up in Egypt we ended up in Costa Rica and somehow never left. Costa Rica seems to have that effect on a lot of people with its gorgeous forests, beautiful beaches and sunsets that are beautiful every day…So by December 2005 we were once again proud owners of a dive shop; Rich Coast Diving in Playa del Coco. Things moved quickly and successfully for us with Martin taking the step to becoming a Course Director. In doing so we changed our shop status to a PADI 5* IDC center. IDC’s began and ended with new PADI Instructors, we held multiple specialty training courses and have had many divemaster interns starting off their careers as PADI pro’s. It’s been amazing but I felt like I wanted more out of it and be able to be involved as much as possible.
Thankfully the world didn’t end in 2012 because we were taking the steps to becoming a PADI CDC facility, and it would have been a shame to put in all that work for nothing 😉 So with a second course director on staff we became the only CDC facility in Costa Rica. As most dive shop owners know, staff members come and go and so did our second Course Director. So the next logical step was for me to climb behind my mac and start a business plan, pass my exams in the last IE and send it off the PADI headquarters. RESULT? I will be in the Dominican Repbulic in July!!! Imagine I started my diving because of a cool advert I saw in a a magazine, I stuck it out after the days of my cold, dark open water days and now I’m on my way to becoming a course director. It’s been a journey with a lot of hard work, but let’s face it, diving is worth it.