Monday, 9 May 2016


April 28th was D Day.  Online dictionaries define D Day as “the day on which an important operation is to begin or a change to take effect.”  D Day for the DMTs means the equipment exchange and stress test.  It’s the last day of the course and a good way to end on a high note.  I thoroughly enjoy it for many reasons, but mainly because (i) I am in charge and (ii) I am really good at giving orders…..

After consulting the Instructor Manual for the rules and grading criteria for completing the equipment exchange, I gave the group a few minutes to powwow aka create an action plan (see the photo below).  PADI lists the equipment exchange as:

“In confined water, demonstrate the ability to effectively respond to an unusual circumstance underwater by exchanging all scuba equipment (except exposure suits and weights) with a buddy while sharing a single regulator second stage...”

We even had paparazzi underwater.  One of our guests volunteered to take photos of us throughout the morning.  After a fun morning underwater, we took apart our equipment and rinsed the sand out of our hair, bodies, and kit.

The snorkel test took place on the 30th where Scuba Junkie proudly welcomed 6 new divemasters to the professional world.  Sadly, both Daniel and Peter left us the next day.  The girls (Katrine, Moa, Sara, and Shantha) signed up for the 6 week Eco course.  They are currently working on the finishing the Reef Check course, shadowing divemasters, and going on boats.

Pssst, whalesharks have been sighted recently!  If you have any questions about our DMT program, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Congratulations to Daniel, Moa, Shantha, Sara, Katrine, and Peter!  We hope to see y’all underwater soon!


Toward the end of the month, we focused on the DM conducted programs.  These programs include:

     *ReActivate, which is a program designed to refresh water skills and scuba knowledge when a person hasn’t dived in a while;

     *DSD diving, which is a program designed for people who want to experience diving without completing the open water course;

     *Discover Local Diving, which is a program designed to introduce people to a new diving area; 

     *Skin Diving/Snorkeling

I divided the candidates into two groups of three again.  While I was working with one group, the other group shadowed different instructors on a variety of scuba courses and divemasters leading fun dives.  After five days, we switched.

The first five days I had Daniel, Shantha, and Sara practicing their briefings and guiding.  Below is a photo of the team taking a break on the jetty.

Here is a silly photo of Daniel, Sara, and Katrine practicing their buddy checks.

The last five days of the course, I worked with Peter, Moa, and Katrine.  Here’s a photo of them right before a debrief.

It was great fun working with so many different personalities on the course.  As with anything, each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses.  For instance, some people are stronger at briefings while others have stronger underwater skills.  What made this month really special was how everybody helped each other out.  It was awesome watching my scuba babies grow as divers!


After a week of paperwork and lectures and just being INSIDE the classroom, the divemaster candidates finally made it to the water to tackle the mapping project.  The group split up into two teams of three people.  They practiced skin diving techniques, measuring distances with fin kicks, navigating around Awas and the House Reef with a compass and using natural features, and learning how to plan and work together as a team.  Take a look at the photos below.  

Daniel, Shantha, and Sara drew a map complete with very colorful pictures of each of the structures.  Peter, Moa, and Katrine produced a PIRATE’s treasure map.  Both groups displayed such creativity in their efforts.  It’s been really amazing to see them grow as divers and as friends!


It’s the time of the month. Without further ado, I would like to introduce the April divemaster candidates:

Hi, I am Katrine, a Belgian girl living in Malaysia, who loves diving!  I love it so much that almost every “long time off”, I come to this amazing island to dive with Scuba Junkie.  I can never get enough of it!  The combination of always wanting to be under the surface and my curiosity to learn made doing my DMT the next logical step.  I did all my other courses here at Scuba Junkie, so I signed up for the 6 week Eco DMT program.

My name is Daniel, and I am from Spain.  As a child, I always loved snorkeling in the Mediterranean Sea.  In 2011, while I was studying biology at university, I decided to go deeper by taking my OW [open water] course.  Since then, I cannot stop diving, and I have fallen even more in love with the underwater world.  Completing my DMT course while enjoying the beauty of the Coral Triangle’s biodiversity is a dream come true.

Becoming a divemaster has always been a dream of mine.  When I came to Scuba Junkie six weeks ago, I realised that enrolling in the course was something I could actually do.  So now I am back in Semporna and Mabul fulfilling my dream.  I can’t wait until I am able to guide divers in this awesome underwater world.

Why do I want to be a divemaster? Why NOT?
We’er only here once.
Live what you love doing.
Soak up the sun while it shines.
Drink a beer while it’s cold.
Escape the concrete greys.
Walk amongst the tall greens.
Swim in the deep blue.

Although I was first certified as a scuba diver 20 years ago, I didn’t find many diving opportunities in Colorado, USA, where I grew up.  When I quit my job as a surgical technician 2 years ago and began traveling the world, I realised that I had the chance to start diving again.  I fell in love with diving all over again and have been diving and traveling ever since.  I am hoping that I will be able to travel to many more countries as a divemaster, which will enable me to see even more of the world – both above and below the surface of the sea!


I am Sara, a Swede living in Melbourne, Australia.  I have been fascinated by the underwater world for many years.  More recently, I have started to enjoy capturing macro shots with my camera, so that I can show my non-diver friends how amazing this underwater world is!  I am doing the DMT course because I want to learn more, challenge myself, and see if this industry could be for me.  I miss my coffees, aerial yoga, and being able to make cakes whenever I want, but Mabul, diving, and the DMT course is making it all well worth it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016


It's that time again! We are in the middle of our Shark Week! A week dedicated to our beloved friends in the ocean. During this week we can highlight the dangers that face these graceful creatures, inform guests and the local community about sharks, and share what can be done to help them.

So far, along with Green Semporna we have worked with the local kids and the Kolej Komuniti, teaching them about shark conservation and biology, and why they are so important to the ocean ecosystem. There have been Presentations given by our environmental officer Dave, and a few of Scuba Zoo photographers/videographers, Bertie and Jason. A fund raising Pub Quiz as well as multiple beach cleans. 

Shark conservation is Crucial to the health of our oceans. Lets protect these animals from extiction!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

DMT Update

After 4 Weeks of Training in Theorie, In water Skills, Mapping, Deep Diving, Search and recovery,  and lots of assisting in Courses from Discover Scuba Diving to Rescue Diver Course our latest 4 Dive Masters have finished the Course by way of the Snorkel Test and are now part of the Family here at Scuba Junkie and PADI Worldwide!

Well done guys and Girl and all the best for your Future as PADI Dive masters!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Month of March 2016 sees 4 New DMT Candidates from 3 Countries


The Month of March 2016 sees  4 new DMT candidates from 3 Countries, Netherlands, Germany and Malaysia.

I have done my Open Water Course with Scuba Junkie in 2011. After I did most of my Fun diving around Mabul and Kapali with Scuba Junkie. Since I am fascinated by the Underwater world, I made the decision to become a Diving Instructor, so I can show the beautiful world under the Surface to many more ppl! I hope to be able to change the behaviour of ppl so they take more care about our Oceans. To be a Diving Instructor is my biggest wish to give my Life another challenge and meaning. The Diving is still the most fascinating thing in my Life as I get to see something new every day!

Because of the programs I saw on TV of Jacques Cousteau I started diving in 1978 and from the start I loved it. Unfortunately I had to stop diving because I couldn’t afford to buy my own Equipment back then.                                                                                                                                                            Only 4 Years ago I had the chance to start over again with diving after we ended up in Koh Tao. From the first second in the Water the feeling was perfect and after that Holiday our way of Travelling changed as well. Since that day we only travel to dive!!!                                                                 The diving went so well that we decided its time to deepen our knowledge.  We did different specialties and became advanced Divers. During this 4 Years we’ve visited Scuba Junkie 3 times and last September we decided to do the DM Course because of the encouragement we got from other DM’s here and after a talk with Dave and Audrey  we took a sabbatical from our work for 3.5 month to become DMT’s. After completing out DM course we will be better divers with a lot more knowledge about all the aspects of diving. Furthermore is being a DM a good back up if we might decide to leave Holland one day to start a new life and maybe become Instructors.

My love for diving started in April 2012. We used to travel around the world a lot, but I was always scared of what was in the water. But on one if our Trips to Burma I got really sick and we thought it would be better to go to Thailand where medical cure is way better. We decided to go to Koh Tao, so I could relax on the beach, maybe take a cooking course or just read a Book while Marcel could go diving. We ended up in a dive Resort and the fact that every time the Boats came back in, so many happy ppl got off, made me curious and that same evening I decided to sign up for the OWC. I had an amazing Instructor, who made me feel comfortable from the very first moment. And I knew after my first dive that I had discovered a completely new world, A new Love!  I finished not only my OWC but my Advanced as in that same Week. Since then our travelling is all about diving and a whole new world is open for us again, full of secrets and beautiful creatures. Last Year we decided we wanted to do the DM Course, not only because it will make you a better diver, but also because it will broaden your view on diving and the aquatic world. I’m even thinking about a career change. Maybe after 25 Years in the Chemical Industry its time for something more adventurous and new. In the end , me getting sick made me so much stronger and completely changed my point of view, not only on my work but also on my life and future. Who would have thought that I, who was so scared of everything in the water, would do diving and 4 Years later be a certified Rescue Diver and on the way to become a DM ?!  I had to think of that this past week… and it put a huge smile on my face!! ☺ 


I got my OW 6 Years ago and have loved it ever since. I’ve been travelling on and off for the past 3 Years and always making sure to include diving as part of my Trips. Last December I decided that I need a change and bought a Ticket out of Canada. After a couple of Month travelling, here I am in Borneo making diving and travelling as my Lifestyle. I’m so exited and looking forward for my Divemaster Course this month!!

Monday, 7 March 2016

DMT's Week 4

I can’t believe the month is almost over. Time has flown by so quickly. This last week, the team has been busy practicing refreshers and fun dive briefings. Scuba Junkie offers refreshers to divers who have not been diving in a couple of months as way to increase confidence in their diving skills, like clearing a mask, and in their diving ability, like buoyancy control. A refresher involves several parts. First, the DMTs work on finessing their “equipment explanation”, which means being able to describe the function of each piece of scuba gear, and discussing how to set-up and break down the equipment. Second, they need to talk about the skills that will be practiced under water. Ideally, a thorough briefing involves confirming the underwater sign of the skill, a clear explanation of how to do the skill, and why we do the skill. Third, they will need to be comfortable demonstrating skills underwater, watching divers perform the skills, and correcting any mistakes. By this point, the DMTs should feel comfortable navigating Awas and the House Reef. So for the fun dive practice, the team is learning how to analyze the conditions, such as current strength and tide levels, before going on a dive. Next, they practice delivering a thorough yet succinct dive brief, which should tell divers from start to finish of a dive what the dive will entail, our expectations of them as divers, and the cool marine life they might encounter. Lastly, we go for a DIVE and practice logbooks! The goal is for each DMT to successfully navigate around the dive site of his/her choosing.
On the 28th, we completed the equipment exchange, which is one of my favorite parts of the course. Here, the DMTs work in pairs to exchange their fins, mask, and BCDs with their buddy all while buddy breathing. Buddy breathing is where two people share one second stage regulator between themselves. Super challenging but extremely fun! In the evening, we had one last “skill” to complete - the snorkel test, which is basically a rite of passage for newly minted professional divers! Below is a picture of our new divemasters (WOHOO!). I and the whole team at Scuba Junkie are so proud of all of their hard work! Welcome to the club! If you have any questions about making the transition to living the dream on an island and diving every day, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to see you here!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

DMT'S Week 3

For Week 3, the DMTs were super busy ticking off the boxes re the Practical Application portion of the course.  First, they completed the mapping project.  The team spent two days working to create a map of Awas and House Reef.  This entire month, the theme has been boys versus girls.  So on the first day of mapping, the boys (Damien and Man) and the girls (Jan and Sanne) worked in separate teams using skin diving and various search patterns to orientate themselves.  On the second day, they worked together as a four person team to combine their maps and to polish the details, such as compass heading, fin kicks, and depth readings.  They did a superb job!

Next up, we geared up for the final skill circuit, which involves demonstrating the twenty-four skills from the open water course.  There is a big difference between being able to DO the skills and being able to DEMONSTRATE them.  Part of the skill circuit involves learning how to explain the parts of the scuba gear and how to assembly and disassembly the kit.  Here’s a picture of the girls practicing their spiel and preparing their equipment.  And here’s a photo of the boys hanging out after the skill practice.

At the end of the week, we completed the 40 meter dive.  It was serious fun planning and preparing for the deep dive.  My favorite part is seeing how “narc-ed” the DMTs are at 40 meters by playing various number games that involve hand-eye coordination.  It’s always a good laugh to see how hard they are concentrating when counting using their hands.  Check out the team after the dive!

Next week is our final week together, which means the STRESS TEST and the always messy SNORKEL TEST.  Stay tuned for more details!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

DMT's : Week Two!!

As I mentioned in the last blog post, the February DMTs have spent much of their first week completing administrative/non-water work details: (boring) paperwork, reading the DM Manual, and watching PADI videos, etc.  Week 2 saw them back into the water.  WOOHOO!  They assisted different instructors with open water and advanced courses and shadowed divemasters leading refreshers, snorkelers, and fun divers.

Now, we are back in the classroom.  While the classroom isn’t a bad place to be as it involves sitting in comfy chairs and couches upstairs in the bar with the sea breeze blowing through our hair, it isn’t exactly as exciting as being in the water and blowing bubbles. At the moment, we are focused on finishing the dreaded information laden Chapter 9 of the DM manual and participating in five lectures – physiology, physics, equipment, decompression theory, and environment.  Each lecture summarises important information that is necessary to the diving industry and sport.  Here’s a picture of the group (minus Man, who is in Semporna helping out in the equipment room today) during one of our lecture days.  At the end of the week, the DMTs will be taking their second exam and should start their mapping project.

Work hard, play hard.  That should be everybody’s life motto.  During the day, I cram dive knowledge into their brains.  In the evenings, people congregated upstairs chatting with each other about the day’s diving and just enjoying the beauty of Mabul.  If you haven’t seen a sunset here, then you are missing out on LIFE.  Absolutely stunning!  It’s not a bad life – that’s for sure.

Sunday, 7 February 2016


Happy Leap Year! This month, we will have four new divemaster trainees (DMTs).  We are very excited to introduce them to you:

I am Jan from England and have taught English in various locations around the world for the past 10 years.  I decided I needed a change of career – another one that would also give me the opportunity to travel the world.  Having been passionate about the diving since I got my OW [open water] in 2011, I decided to do my DMT.  I hope to become an instructor in the future to continue living the dream.

I come from a small island in Denmark and have always loved the ocean as it brings peace to mind.  I just quit my job as a social worker to go traveling and am trying something completely different.  Ever since I got my OW in 2009, I have wanted to challenge myself and do the divemaster course.  I enjoy the quietness of the water, the sound of bubbles, and I also a sucker for turtles!

From County Kildare in Ireland.  Started diving (OW) in 2008, in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.  I enjoy diving, particularly the big stuff.  Diving has allowed me to meet a lot of strange and interesting people and visit many remotes parts of the world.  I am doing the DMT course as a way of broadening my dive knowledge and to learn more about the marine conservation work Scuba Junkie undertakes in Mabul and the surrounding areas.

Alright, my name is Man.  I am so lucky to have been born in Semporna.  It’s such a lovely place with beautiful islands.  I have been working with Scuba Junkie as a dive shop assistant for the past year.  One day, I started to become interested in diving.  So, I talked to Ric [one of the owners], and he said that he would be happy to give me the opportunity to be a divemaster.  The first breath underwater is still fresh in my mind.  Now, I realize what my passion is! I love diving!

The first week of the course is all about orientation to Scuba Junkie and our way of life, introductions to their diving history and reasons for becoming a professional diver, and increasing their enthusiasm for the underwater world by expanding their knowledge on dive theory and marine life.  We just finished the administrative side of the course aka the paperwork, which is not the most glamorous side of diving but necessary.

We will be sure to keep y’all updated on their progress throughout the month.  If you have any questions about our in-depth DMT program, please send us an email at or check out our website at

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Congratulations to Dani, Sarah and Dolly! January DMTs

Congratulations to our January DMTs, Sarah, Dolly, and Dani! They have successfully completed their dive master course with Scuba Junkie.  We had an epic equipment exchange and stress test on the 28th!  Throughout the month, these guys dealt with a lot of challenges, such as learning everything in a second language, improving their dive skills, and learning how to speak like a professional diver!  We also shared many laughs along the way (well I did at least).

 One of my favorite things is something that the December’s DMTs passed onto to the January DMTs.  As we all know, the buddy check involves BWRAF.  The December DMTs created a new and improved buddy check consisting of BWRAF – H.  The H stands for HUG.  After completing the buddy check, everybody gets into a circle, wraps their arms around each other, starts jumping, and yells, “DIVING, DIVING, DIVING!”  It’s pretty epic.  Their enthusiasm inspires me and hopefully everyone else to keep on diving.

Dolly has returned to Australia to continue his studies. We will miss him greatly!  Dani and Sarah are staying for a two week internship, and we are happy to have them.  If you see them around the dive shop, make sure to buy them a beer for all of their hard work!

If you have any questions about our DMT program, please let us know either on Facebook or through email at

Introducing our first DMTs of 2016!

Happy 2016! Scuba Junkie would like to introduce to you its new DMTs for the month of January.

I have been an ocean baby my whole life, from being born in Hawaii to growing up on both coasts of the USA.  I am a dancer, a climber, a mountain biker, and a traveler.  And a diver, of course!  I love being outside, trying new things and meeting new people.  I got into diving as a reason to travel the world.  I hope to one day become an instructor and work all over the globe, showing people how beautiful the world is just below surface.

So, a little about me.  I am originally from London, U.K., and have been traveling and working as an English teacher for over a year.  I have been interested in marine biology since I was a wee nipper, and I made a promise to myself when I left the UK that I would finally learn to dive.  I got my Open Water certification last Christmas Eve, in 2015, in Bocas Del Toro, Panama.  Since then, diving has become a huge part of my life, and I can’t imagine living far from the sea now.  My daily commute to work is by boat.  What’s not to love?
So why did I decided to do my DM?  Well, everything about the lifestyle appeals to me. I feel part of a community of passionate and proactive nutters, who share my sense of adventure and curiosity about the ocean.  I also love what the DMT course at Scuba Junkie has brought out in me and those around me: a focus on empowering one another, improving my diving skills, and my awareness of the environment and marine life, and generally taking pride in what I do.  It is undeniably a full-on course, but it has felt great to be totally immersed in something so dynamic and new.
My experience at Scuba Junkie has been so positive; mainly because the staff here are so helpful and lovely, and they have gone out of their way to help me with any queries.  Ultimately, every time I dive here, I learn something new.  I find it so useful watching the variety of teaching styles of different instructors and dive masters, and I learn so much by observing and chatting to other divers who are visiting too.

I am Dolly from China studying in Melbourne right now.  Half a year ago, I got my AOW certification in Koh Tao, Thailand, and I was addicted in scuba diving after that.  During this summer vacation, I found a really cool place to begin my DMT – Scuba Junkie.  It helps every diver to realize his dream.  For me, I just want to travel around the world and find part-time jobs in different places.  The DMT program trains me to be a professional diver including offering practical skills as well as theoretical knowledge.  I am meeting lots of friends here even though most of them cannot speak Chinese. Scuba diving is such a magical sport because it allows people from different languages and backgrounds to bond together.  I am so happy that I am welcomed by everyone here.  If you want to enjoy a lifestyle where every day is a holiday then come and join us.

We are already in Week 3 of the program.  At the moment, the DMTs are currently finishing the second half of their exam.  Earlier this week, they worked together to complete the mapping project.  They focused on their strengths – navigating, fin kicking, and artistic ability – to create a map of the ever favorite dive site, Awas.

Later this week, we plan to dive to 40 meters to meet the Deep Dive requirement.  During this dive, we will check to see if the scuba babies are affected by nitrogen narcosis by playing a couple of hand eye coordination games while at 40 meters.  At 30 meters, we will look at color differences, and at 15 meters, they will navigate a reciprocal heading – 20 fin kicks out and 20 fin kicks back.  Moreover, we plan to finish up the Search and Recovery activity.  During this practical application, the DMTs have to search for small and large objects and learn how to operate lift bags as well as learning how to tie three knots – bowline, two half hitches, and sheet bend.  For the small objects, I throw several coins into the Scuba Junkie confined area of Awas.  The DMTs then have 25 minutes to find as many coins as possible.  For every coin that they do not find, they will have to give me one in return.  I find this sufficient motivation for them to do well.  Jason, another DMT instructor and Scuba Junkie legend, would always stand at the stairs and yell words of encouragement.  He would literally yell, “Words of Encouragement.”  Both methods work well :-)

If you have any questions about our DMT program, please feel free to email Scuba Junkie @  We would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Congratulations to our December DMTs!!

Last month in December, we had three amazing DMTs: Kai (in the blue t-shirt), Chris (on the left), and Cat (on the right).

My name is Kai.  I am a regular local guy from Borneo.  I am the account clerk at Scuba Junkie.  One day, I told Ash and Dave [Semporna managers] that I would like to do diving as my career.  After talking with Ric [Scuba Junkie’s owner], Scuba Junkie offered to enroll me in the divemaster internship program, which allows me to take all the courses (open water, advanced, EFR, and rescue) up to the divemaster level.  I am very happy diving and meeting people.  I have learned a lot from the instructors here!  Now, I realize that I need nitrogen to live ☺

Chris is one of the new DMTs at Scuba Junkie in December. He hails from Brisbane, Australia, and has been diving since he was first certified as an Open Water Diver in the Maldives in 2001. Chris is a career researcher, and is completing his DMT internship in order to have a more active and leading role in his university’s dive club. He came to Mabul to see peacock mantis shrimp and flamboyant cuttlefish – both of which he saw on his first day. Hobbies include talking, all the time and about anything at all, to anyone who will listen / is within earshot.

Catherine is the second recruit in Decembers DMT course, from Sydney, Australia. First certified in 1997, searching far and wide to do her DMT course and finally finding her ‘happy place’– Scuba Junkie Mabul.  With a background in Sales & Marketing, she is looking to change the scenery from the usual office grind as well as to become a better diver.  Travel, photography, diving and salsa dancing are just some of her interests – and looking for any opportunity in which to combine one or more of these interests is her passion in life.

Below is a picture of the December DMTs after completing their equipment exchange/stress test.  Everybody succeeded with flying colors, and Scuba Junkie is happy to introduce them to the world as PROFESSIONAL DIVERS!

If you're interested in taking the step into professional diving please send an email to