Four Years as a Dive Professional
When Kate and I arrived on Maui from Hong Kong in September of 2016, we were ready for the next chapter of our lives. I had just retired from over 30 years in the international transportation industry and like any new adventure in your life, the future was uncertain. What I couldn’t have anticipated is how exciting and fulfilling the next four years would be.
I became a Divemaster in 2014 through the team at Maui Dreams Dive Co., our “go to” dive shop on Maui for over a decade. At that point I was just setting myself up for a semi-retirement job whenever my career came to its natural end. From 2014 to 2016 we came to Maui on our regular vacations and Don and Rachel from Maui Dreams would always ask me, “When are you going to move here and start working for us?” To which I would reply “Don’t tempt me with that if you are not serious”. To which they would reply “Don’t tell us you are coming if you aren’t.” So that’s how it went until Kate and I moved to Maui for good in September of 2016.
Good to their word, I started working at Maui Dreams in October 2016 as a Divemaster. Under the kind but sharp eye of Michele, I was taught the actual job of a Divemaster here on Maui. I found out very quickly that just because you hold a Divemaster rating, doesn’t mean you know anything about how to actually do the job. The job mostly entails taking folks on guided dives. For two weeks, I went everywhere Michele went and tried to copy what she did. It seemed so easy and smooth for her and so disjointed and hard for me. But after a few weeks, I was ready to give it a go on my own and I loved it. To be able to show people the wonders of our undersea world here on Maui is truly a pleasure. I was having a great time and so were our guests.
From Divemaster to Instructor
In January of 2017, I took the Instructor Development Course, or IDC, with Michele and Kim from the Maui Mreams family along with a few other of our Maui friends. It was led by Course Director Jay Schiesser with help from then IDC Staff Instructor, soon to be Course Director, Bruce Weitzenhoffer. Jay and Bruce put us through our paces for eight days straight, and then PADI sent over an examiner from the mainland to test us for a day and a half. But after it was all said and done, the six of us in the class were all newly minted Open Water Scuba Instructors. It was a tough two weeks for me, and for Kate who was supporting me, but I couldn’t have made it through without the patience of Jay and Bruce and all the help from my classmates.
Check Out These Stats!
So my instructor journey started in February of 2017. From then until now, I have issued over 425 diving certifications, including everything from Open Water Diver all the way through Assistant Instructor, and many diving specialties. I have also taken almost 300 people of Discover Scuba Diving experiences and taken hundreds of folks on guided dives. All in all, over 1100 professional dives, and I enjoyed every one of them. During this time, I also had the opportunity to continue my diving education by working my way up the instructor rankings to Master Instructor, which is one level below Course Director, which is the top instructor rating. There is an old joke about Couse Directors and it goes like this…. What’s the difference between God and a Couse Director??? God doesn’t think he’s a Course Director… LOL… Anyway Course Director is probably not in the cards for me, but you never know…
Words can’t adequately describe how grateful I am to Rachel and Don Domingo for giving me this opportunity, to my work colleagues for unselfishly teaching me this craft and for their unwavering support over the past four years, and to my wife Kate for always backing my play. Maui Dreams is a very special place to work, filled with special people, because Rachel makes sure of it.
Starting this December, I’m going to be taking some time off to chase another dream, but my plan is to return to the Maui Dreams Ohana sometime in the second half of 2021 Until then, I wish you all many beautiful Maui sunsets, and happy diving!
Aloha – Corey