Living The Dream! Interview With A Professional Scuba Dive Instructor

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


I have dreamed of dropping everything, packing my bag, and running away to Bali to become a Scuba Dive instructor for years—who hasn't—but for my friend Shannon, it isn't a dream, it's his reality. 

Shannon on dry land–a rare occurrence these days! 

VITAL STATS:

  • Name – Shannon Brian Screaigh
  • Age – 27
  • Born – York, Western Australia. 150km inland from Perth, population 4000
  • How We Met – In a bar in Hoi An, Vietnam in 2008 and have kept in touch ever since

The Anthrotorian (A) : Where was the first place that you scuba dived?
Shannon (S) : In Nah Trang, Vietnam

A: When did you know that you wanted to become an instructor?
S: I never wanted to be an instructor actually, but the first time I dived in Nah Trang I knew that i had to find a job where I could do this and make a living.

A: How long did in take you to become certified?
S: Open water, advanced, and rescue courses took about 40 dives and I did them in Nah Trang, Vietnam; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and Koh Tao, Thailand, respectively. Then it took 2-3 months to take the Dive Master (DM) course. I worked as a DM for the first year, and it seemed to be a good diving job. I had to take the next step and become an instructor. This was a 3 week course.

A: Was it easy to find a job?
S: There are a lot of jobs in the diving industry. If you are certified, and willing to relocate, it is not hard to find one. Most of the jobs are seasonal however.  

A: Realistically how much can you make as a scuba diver?
S: A good job would pay about $2000 per month and will often include room and board. Of course, there are exceptions.

A: Walk me through a day in your life.
S: Wake up, eat breakfast, dive, morning tea, dive, lunch, sleep, dive, afternoon tea, enjoy a beer with another beautiful sunset, dinner, some small talk about the days diving, and sleep again... very stressful...

A: What is the craziest thing you have seen?
S: Craziest.... hmmmm.... Dugong (sea cow) or mola mola (sun fish). Maybe humpback whales or the sun rising from the top of Mt Kilimanjaro — I can't answer this one!!! Lembai Pygmy sea dragon was special too. 

A: Where is the most amazing place you have dived?
S: Another difficult question! South pinnacles, Protea banks, South Africa are up there! Seeing over 1000 hammerhead sharks in 1 single dive. But Castle rock, Komodo, Indonesia, has the healthiest corals and the most fish I have ever seen! When they all started to eat each other it was like being in the Blue Planet series!

A: Scariest thing you have ever seen or done
S: Getting caught in a down current while diving, bungee jumping in South Africa, skydiving at home when I was 14, and crossing the road in Hanoi, Vietnam!

A: Will you do this forever?
S: I would think not, but would like to think i'll always be around water, or living next the sea if I ever should "settle down" — whatever that means.

A: If you weren't a scuba instructor what would you be doing?
S: Most probably still living back in Australia, headed towards running my own electrical and refrigeration contracting business, 2 1/2 kids and a white picket fence.

A: Worst part of the job?
S: The day of the charter starting and the chaos of having to get food, supplies, and guest together in time to leave.

A: Best part of the job?
S: Easy! When I see that look in a guests eyes, almost like they want to cry with joy, and they tell you "that was my best dive ever!"

RAPID FIRE:

A: Favorite breakfast food?
S: Fruit salad with muesli, yogurt and honey.

A: What is the last book you read?
S: Shantaram

A: Tea or coffee?
S: Coffee for the brain, tea for a hangover

A: Where is the last place you travelled?
S: Africa was the last big trip

A: Blue or Green?
S: Blue, when the water's green the visibility is bad!

A: If you could meet anyone alive in the world who would it be?
S: David Attenborough

A: Where do you feel most like yourself?
S: Can't decide yet, when I find it, that's where I'll stay. For sure it's nice below the sea!

You can find Shannon in Komodo, Indonesia where he operates a unique diving business called Current Junkies. It is a new and original concept in diving, that specializes in drift diving and strong current diving. Guests stay on his outfitted boat for 5 days which allows them to do dives further out in the ocean. The aim is to find Blue Planet-like dives for all of his guests!

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