How did Mel become a PADI Divemaster?
Where does my passion for the ocean come from?
I fell in love with the water as a young kid, if there was water about then I was in it! My grandparents lived in a remote part of the coast in the South West of Australia and I stayed with them every school holidays. Most of my time was spent swimming in the beautiful blue water, combing the beach for treasures after storms and exploring the sand dunes. I swam that beach rain, hail and shine! In winter I swore I wasn’t cold through blue lips and chattering teeth, in summer I argued I hadn’t had too much sun and covered sunburnt shoulders and noses with more layers of sunscreen. The only way I could be pulled away from the water was with promises of returning again soon. The ocean was my happy place, still is, and I expect always will be. Nothing makes me happier than feeling the sand between my toes, the salt on my face and the wind in my hair!
What was my first dive experience?
I started snorkelling regularly in my twenties with friends. We would pile into a car, crank up the tunes, head to the coast and explore what the ocean had to offer. We were hooked and one by one signed up to become divers. I arranged to do a free discover dive and was blown away with how different everything looked from that new perspective, I knew what things looked like snorkelling on the surface but this was a whole new world! I immediately signed up to do my PADI Open Water course with one of my closest mates and was certified in March 2017.
I was really keen, diving every opportunity I got regardless of weather, visibility or temperature. Every single dive I did in my local waters presented something new. I would come home and pour over fish ID books and websites eager to find out more about what I had seen. I brought my underwater camera with me every dive and attempted to capture the beauty and wonder to show my family and friends. My first year of photography was rather average, I had no idea what I was doing but was thoroughly enjoying it anyway! I attended regular shore dives with Bucket List Diver and met so many awesome new friends, especially through the Women’s Dive days. The depression and anxiety that had plagued me for years were slowly melting away, I was so happy doing what I loved. In April 2018 I completed my Advanced Open Water course and was thrilled to learn more about the world of diving. My photography skills were improving and I had also discovered how much I loved night diving! The underwater world is an alien place but night time is when all the truly weird and wacky creatures come out to play!
From zero to hero in 2 years!
Early December 2018 I became a Rescue Diver and four short weeks later in January 2019 signed up to become a Divemaster Intern with Bucket List Diver! Hayley, Natasha and I had an absolute blast training to become Divemasters though some days were really hard and had me digging deep to keep going. It was exhausting but so rewarding! Seeing the wonder and excitement on other divers faces as I show them creatures they’ve never seen before fills me with such joy! I love when people come to me and ask “what was that fish?” and I can share knowledge with them. I stand tall when I tell people that I am a divemaster, I’m really proud of what I have achieved and am looking forward to taking the leap into Dive Instructor in the near future.
What is next with Mel?
2019 has been a big year for me as I have also launched my Underwater Photography business “Salty Dragon” and I’m looking forward to being able to help tutor other divers with their own photography journey. It took a lot of pushing for me to put my photography out into the public eye but I’m so glad to those who convinced me.
I wish I could go back in time and talk my younger self into starting diving sooner. I never expected this hobby to take off and transform my life the way it has, best decision I have ever made. Have you tried scuba diving? If the answer is no then I have to say, why not?