This content was originally published by our Dive Master Alexandra Jane Stuart-Cox on her blog. Please give her page a visit to read more about her experience with PIDS and her journey from fashion designer to PADI PRO!
There’s so much I love to do and so much that makes my heart happy but if there’s one thing I definitely have a passion for in this world and it’s seeing people full of life and real happiness. I don’t know where Ill be in a few years from now and I might even find my way back into the fashion and fitness industry but one thing I know for sure now, is that I love my job.
This job has been the best thing that has happened to me. It has taught me professionalism in the industry, and how to ensure the diver you take around the dive location, have the best and safest dive. I wanted to be doing something with my life that will somehow influence other peoples lives positively, and I wake up every morning so grateful for this opportunity. I get to see people fall in love with the ocean and push themselves out of their comfort zones. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing with this gift I got given until I started really listening to that little voice inside of me telling me “This is what you are here for”. Being a Dive Master has helped me see my potential but also helped me understand my abilities and my love for people. But, learning to be a dive master with Phangan International Diving School has been one of my most memorable and enjoyable times of my life. I let go of everything i thought I was supposed to live up to and just did what made me happy.
WHERE WOULD I TAKE YOU DIVING ON KOH PHANGAN?
On the Island I am on, we have a few local spots around here that we could go diving., although they offer shallower dives. These local spots are good for when you are wanting to learn to dive. But our favorite spot to dive is Sail Rock. Its the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand and it sits an hour away, north west of Koh Phangan in the middle of the great blue. Here, I”ll show you what it looks like :
Beautiful, I know. This is where I was trained and completed a lot of my DM. Along with everything we had to know about the scuba equipment, filling tanks, boat briefings and emergency assistant plans, I also got to gain extensive knowledge about the marine life living on the rock. The life on this rock is so diverse that diving here for a week straight would not be enough time for you to really grasp the beauty of it. I get to swim with schools of Batfish and Barracudas, Parrot fish, Butterflyfish, Triggerfish and lots of little Nemos and Dori’s – I know you know what I mean by that, besides the real name for them aren’t as fun.
But the main friendly giant that comes to visit us at sail rock is the Whale Shark.
SO YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE SWIMMING WITH THE WHALES?
When I first arrived in KP, it was the very beginning of JUNE, 2017. The month of May was apparently the best season of whale sharks they have had yet. Obvs, I missed it. And then from that day on wards I missed the whale shark was at the rock. I was either working my hours in the office or filling tanks the days it decided to grace us with its presence. But I stayed patient and knew the day would come.
Well, it did. took 7 months and I was already a certified DM, but the best feeling in the world is tapping your customer under water and telling them to look up. I could feel EVERY bit of excitement inside of them and every bit of mine. Its so big and its so graceful. That happened a few days in a row after that and sometimes we’d be doing our safety stop at 5 meters and it was just swimming around us, giving us a little show. All I know, is this is what I live for. The calmness under water, no one can talk, it’s just a beautiful meditation with your own breathing, your customers and this giants grey and white spotted whale.
Many people hear the word “whale shark” and feel a small amount of fear rush through them. Understandable. To be honest, any creature that appears bigger and most definitely stronger than you should send all sorts of adrenaline through your body. We, as humans beings, should always stay humble under water even if these creatures aren’t as dangerous as their name makes them sound.
WANNA KNOW SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING?
A Whale Shark is not a Shark nor is it a WHALE! Strange, cause its name entails both of those words. Its understandable why it can often be misunderstood. The whale shark is actually the largest fish in the world, and can grow up to 65 feet long – That’s close to 20 meters for those of you, like me, who have feet but don’t measure in them…
They are grey and with white spots and each one has its own unique markings positioned in specific horizontal, vertical and diagonal patterns on its body. The stomach is white. I remember it being white when I had one swim above me. I turned on my back and as my gaze hit above, this graceful beauty swam over me. An experience that quite literally made me think ” how is this real life”.
Of course, me being me, Im always interested in how and what the animal eats and hoping “human” is not part of their food chain.
They feed on some of the tiniest ocean micro organisms called Plankton. They actually just kind of inhale their food and their gills do all the work for them. Anyone ever inhaled their food or, ate so quickly and have no memory of chewing that it felt like you did? I have. They also feed on really small fish and crustaceans but, they do so by gulping in a moth full of water and then siffing it through there gills to which their food is left behind. Easy, huh?. No wonder they always so chilled out. They probably never get hangry.
If you want to really dive into more facts about these gentle giants go check out this blog written my Jennifer Kennedy. She talks about its bones its teeth and other fish very similar to this one. Also, go check out 10 Facts About Whale Sharks, if you thinking about going swimming with them soon. I always think having more information about the marine life you dive with makes it a more memorable and special experience.
I know there are many things out there that take people to the same euphoric bliss as scuba diving does for me. Everyone has there own little place where they have found love and pure happiness. For me, Scuba Diving, connecting with people and becoming connected to my breath under water has changed my life. The family here at PIDS has pushed me beyond my limits of self-discovery and have showed me a different level of unconditional love and friendship. We’re all here to live our best lives and we are all here to experience things beyond our imagination and when we all work together as a team of instructors and dive masters to make that happen for our customers and ourselves, that’s when you reach a different level of life. The high of all highs.
I owe a lot of what I accomplished over the 6 month internship to my Course Director, Chris Heaton. His patience with me and his dedication to PADI is of a much higher caliber that I have ever experienced. Also, just for the record, I’m not trying to earn any extra brownie points here or anything. Oath, he’ll read this and ask what’s the catch… Seriously, though, Thank you for being my mentor and friend.
This is @chris_heaton_cd. He's had the amazing privilege of being my Course Director while I've been completing my Dive Master on the island. 😏😉 He tells me my jokes aren't funny and because I'm South African, I cant drive. If you swipe right you'll see I caught him telling me off, which is most days by the way. 😏☝ #goproprofessional 😉
So guys, if you want to further your dive education whether it’s through an Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Dive Master or Instructor Development Course, my school here at PIDS can guide you through your underwater journey. Its only the beginning of the time of your life. You’ll thank me later.