How did you discover your fascination with scuba diving? Have you been diving since a young age?
I discovered diving in 1978 when I was just 15 years old. Back then, diving was a sport few people did and the rules were not only fewer, but stricter and more empiric (rather than scientific, which it seems they are now). But despite the stricter rules and the lack of cool computer technology to play with underwater, the call of the sea was so strong to me that I just kept going back for more. Dive after dive, I was able to discover a new fascinating dimension of Earth, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
How did you manage to turn your passion for diving into a profession?
I am of the principle that one should be passionate about his or her realm of work, so I’ve always known that I should undertake a profession related to scuba diving. That said, I did have to wait 10 years before I could make diving my work-passion, not just hobby-passion. It was worth the wait; now I’m happy everyday, and I look forward to my job.
How did 4Sub Plus come into the picture, and what does the name mean?
4Sub Plus is so-called because three friends and I came together (hence the number four!) and wished we could create a diving school whose main goal was to bring passion and fun to all. Not long after, our wish came true, but it did take some planning; after all, we had very clear idea that we wanted to be different from all the other diving schools — we wanted to give more individual attention, and instead of catering to large groups, we wanted to focus on more detail with fewer people, and we wanted to tailor each session to the needs and characteristics of the individual in attendance.
In working for 4Sub Plus, what has been the biggest highlight?
The biggest highlight in being a diving instructor is seeing my students smile with their eyes all lit up once we return to the surface after their first dive. Nothing beats that moment of connecting with others on a shared loved for the sea and its treasures. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to use my passion to bring happiness to others. Plus, I love being able to expand people’s horizons!
Do you have a preferred way to dive?
Every diver vacillates between what type of diving they enjoy most, be it deep sea, wreck, reef, etc., but I always come back to preferring any dive in which I encounter big underwater animals, like whales and sharks. They don’t scare me at all!
Where is your favorite place to dive?
This is tricky to answer since I love many locations all over the world! That said, the one spot that has stolen my heart for diving is the Maldives.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It depends where I am: my job is all over the world, so it differs week-to-week, and it pretty much comes down to my clients’ schedules. One things is constant, however, and that’s my office location: the ocean!
What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve ever had on a guided tour? Ever had any odd requests from clients?
One person booked a week-long trip in Italy with me, and when I asked him about his diving experience, he said he had only ever dived in a swimming pool in Belgium. When we met up, I took a look at his logbook, and, owing to what he had reported to me earlier, I was surprised to see that he had logged a boat dive. But here’s the funny part: when I asked him where he had gone boat diving, he said, “Well… it was with a little inflatable boat!” Funny chap.
Since we all know no job is perfect, would you mind sharing some of the downfalls of being a scuba diving guide?
One thing I truly hate is when people don’t respect the ocean and the underwater life. Apart from that, it’s hard to complain about being a scuba diving guide!
As an experienced guide, can you think of any tips that people should know before going on a guided tour?
Diving is a fantastic experience, but you can’t mess around with the ocean; she’s powerful. On guided scuba diving tours, there are definitely some rules you simply cannot break— it can be a matter of life or death.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Anywhere that has big sea-life for me to dive alongside! Someplace with Manta rays would be great.