It’s hard to imagine that I didn’t write this review earlier considering I was part of the first group of divemaster trainees during the 2012/2013 season in Khao Lak. Better late than never!
Let me start off by saying that I basically looked at divemaster internships all across the world, from the Carribeans to Europe to Africa to Australia. You name it, I looked it up. Why did I settle on Wicked Diving in Thailand? Here were some of my top reasons:
- Liveaboards (living and diving on a boat for several days)
- Small groups of divemaster trainees (4 max per group)
- World-class diving (great visibility with warm waters)
- Includes accommodation (bungalows are located a short walk from the shop)
- Low living expenses (cost of food, entertainment, etc.)
- Safety conscious and eco-friendly dive shop
When I look back at my internship with Wicked Diving, I can’t help but smile a little bit. It really was a fantastic course with amazing instructors. Diego was our official divemaster coordinator / instructor but the rest of the Wicked staff made our experience that much better. All the instructors were friendly, knowledgeable and experienced. All four of us from the course learned to become very good divemasters. Not only did we learn by doing, we learned from examples and our examples were all world-class instructors.
There are a lot of divemaster internships where the goal is just to check off the minimum requirements for you to get your certification. With Wicked Diving, you get more than that. You get real experience leading actual guests. You learn to handle real problems that arise during dive trips on liveaboards. You learn from mistakes you make and you learn from the guidance of your instructors. And you have a lot of fun the entire time.
As for Khao Lak (just over an hour north of Phuket airport), it is a small town. You can walk from one end to the other in under 20 minutes. But don’t let the small size fool you. For those looking for adventure and a good time, you will still find it in Khao Lak, particularly if you get to know the locals. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some might get bored very easily if they need the bustling life of bigger cities. However, for those who truly want to experience “local” Thailand this is definitely one of the places that you need to be.
Finally, for those who would like to spend a bit of time in Khao Lak working as a divemaster after your internship, it’s definitely a possibility, particularly if you are in the first crop of divemaster trainees. Your course should end by late November, which is just in time for the holiday season. Lots of shops look for freelance divemasters to take on their extra work. I was personally able to get work with Wicked Diving and with another shop. Just make sure to build up a good reputation both as an individual and as a diver. Get out there and meet everyone in town. Chances are someone knows someone who is looking for divers. Moreover, Wicked Diving has a great reputation of producing very good divemasters, so just being associated with the shop increases your credibility.
If you are looking for a divemaster internship where you gain knowledge and experience beyond the actual divemaster curriculum of PADI or SSI, look no further. If you are looking to experience Thailand in ways other tourists never will, look no further. If you want to work with an amazing staff and become part of an amazing family, look no further. The divemaster internship at Wicked Diving was some of the best times of my life and I have no doubt if you choose Wicked Diving you will also leave with memories to last a lifetime!
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