Over the next month, Devocean Divers will be training Meagan, a former Canadian government communications director turned year-long backpacker, to be a certified PADI Divemaster. Under our expert instructors, she’ll learn the theory, water skills and practical application it takes to lead safe, professional, and fun dives. While she completes the program, she’ll blog about her experience. Here’s her first post. Enjoy!
Two weeks ago, I arrived on Malapascua Island to find white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and friendly Filipinos everywhere I turned. After searching out the highest rated dive shops on Trip Advisor, I decided to go with Devocean Divers. Not only were they rated five star but they also had great prices and I was greeted with a warm smile and welcoming handshake by the Dutch owner himself, Marcus. As a recently certified Advanced Open Water Diver, I merely set out to get a few more dives under my ‘weight’ belt. Little did I know, Malapascua had much more in store for me.
My first dive was at Chocolate Island where the aquatic life is just as sweet as the dive site name. Guided by Divemaster and local expert Rickniel, we immediately came upon a huge black Frog Fish. Next he found us a Thorny Seahorse, a Cuttlefish, a Box Fish…and the list goes on. I worried about getting a sore neck from constantly having to react to the “ting, ting” of Rickniel’s pointer. This was a great first dive that wet my palette for the main event – Thresher Sharks. The next morning, I awoke at 4:30am and set out for Monad Shoal with Devocean to see these majestic sharks with their long tail and big eyes. We had at least eight sightings and even saw two at once. The fun wouldn’t stop there, however. Over the next few days, we saw an octopus during a night dive at Dakit Dakit, the adorable Harlequin Shrimp at Gato Island, and even a Hairy Frog Fish back at Chocolate Island. Malapascua was delivering in spades.
I quickly realized that a few fun dives would not quench my thirst for all that Malapascua had to offer so upon returning to the dive shop, I signed up for my next set of courses – Emergency First Response Provider and the Rescue Diver course. Over the course of a week, German Instructor Steff led me through the rigours including performing CPR and rescuing a non responsive diver from the sea floor. While challenging, these were undoubtedly the most rewarding dive courses. Although I hope I never need to employ these skills, I am now a much more confident and aware diver.
With these courses behind me, my next thought was “What now?” I contemplated continuing my travels around the Philippines but I just couldn’t bring myself to pack my bag. Instead, I found a place to stay for a month and sent a request to Cebu City for an extension of my tourist Visa. Today, I opened the crisp new cover of a Divemaster Manual. For the next month, I’ll call Malapascua home. I’m excited about the steep learning curve ahead but I know I’m in good hands at Devocean. I hope you’ll come along on the journey with me!