The Adventures of a PADI Divemaster Trainee in Phuket, Thailand

Author: Max Hand, December 2006

"Cripes DM" said Penfold. I realize now, of course, he was always referring to a Divemaster and not Danger Mouse. I have just completed my PADI Divemaster course in Phuket with Sharkey Scuba and I agree with Penfold on this one "Cripes DM".

Max (left) entertaining as always

I arrived here in the beautiful settings of Kata, Phuket in sunny Thailand as a PADI Rescue Diver. I already had some 130 logged dives from a host of different environments, ranging from the refreshingly cool waters of the UK , to the warmer waters in countries like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bahrain and the spectacular Red Sea in Egypt . I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single one of those dives and believed myself to be a pretty competent diver. My Rescue Diver had further enhanced my ability to look after others but I never thought my divemaster course would take that ability to such a greater level.

I completed my PADI Rescue Diver in May 2006 with Iain of Sharkey Scuba after crossing over from BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club). Iain came highly recommended by a friend from back home. I was told that he was widely accepted as one of the best instructors in Phuket. They were not wrong. Iain is a great instructor. He is has years of experience, is calm, professional, and trains you to a very high standard. Above all he also makes it FUN. After all that's why we all do it. So I had no hesitation to come back to Iain to start my divemaster course in September.

Instructor Iain - "Get it right this time!"

Like all PADI courses there is a large part of self study. This course was no exception. My practical and theoretical dives knowledge grew exponentially as I studied subjects such as Physics, Physiology, Decompression Theory, Equipment and Skills and Environment. The knowledge reviews and exams helped me understand these subjects and Iain was always on hand to help explain and tutor me where needed. In my case that was most of the subjects! For that I thank Iain for his patience.

Let me ask you some questions:

The answer to all of these, and many more, while doing my course is an empathic YES.

Champagne celebration for Divemaster Max!

Both Iain and his wife Oui have been out of this world. After my first visit, I knew that if I ever did my DMT course, there was only one place I would ever do it. They are friends for life. And they treat all customers with the same friendly, welcoming, and open way. They are truly professional, have a high standard of excellence, and it obvious to all that they both love their work. Like all divers we are in it because we enjoy it and love to have FUN. Sharkey Scuba are no exception.

I already knew from my previous trip that the diving around Phuket is some of the best I have ever experienced. I worked on many different boats and visited many of the varied beautiful dive sites around Phuket and Phi Phi. Dive sites such as the King Cruiser wreck, Shark Point, Anemone Reef, Koh Bida Nai, Racha Noi, and my personal favorite, a wall dive called Koh Doc Mai, to name but a few. While assisting on an Open Water course we even got to see 2 huge Manta rays at a local dive site Racha Yai. They circled us for about 40 minutes. The only word that can describe such an occasion is awesome.

Now I am a Dive Master. It has been tough at times, but I have loved every second of it. My knowledge and awareness of what goes on behind the life of organizing and managing (both theoretical and practical) Recreational Diving has developed to new heights I would never have dreamed of. Hopefully this will be the start of a long and thrilling Dive career. I know that it has got off to a brilliant start by doing my DMT with Iain Page. Not only is he a great instructor but a great friend too. Thank you Iain.




PADI student


Whale shark

Manta ray

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