Catherine

I like talking and teaching about the business in diving. I like showing my Instructor Candidates the figures and encouraging people to value themselves.

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How did you start diving?

1996 first started diving, in Egypt. I wanted to go on holiday to do something that would prevent me from looking at my work emails.  I had to do something that didn’t have me glued to my inbox.

At that time, I had someone helping me plan my scuba holiday. I said I’m a single woman going on holiday, I want to learn to dive and I wanted to meet people in a safe environment. They gave me Egypt or Trinidad & Tabago.

Have you done all your training here in Egypt? 

Yes, I’ve dived other places. Went pro 2014. Divemaster 2013. I’d decided to take a 3 month break from work and decided to do my divemaster! Hang out my friends in dahab.

After two weeks I called my parents and said I was selling and moving to Dahab.
I don’t remember saying this but apparently from 2008, I would say to my friends, that if I ever lose my job, it’s no problem because if I do, I’ll move to Dahab and become an instructor. So it was meant to be.

Your Divemaster program must have really left an impact. 

I realized life was more for living than working all those hours to have a few weeks for a scuba holiday. Better to live your passion.

My parents were not a fan, but they love it now! They even move here for the winter.  They were not convinced my life could be working out as it was. They say I’m a lot happier and less stressed person now.

Is Egypt a safe place to travel and work solo as a woman?

I can go home at any point in the early hours of the morning and I don’t have to check the license of the taxi driver and I will always be safe. In my hometown in England,
I’d have to text a friend when I got home to make sure I was okay.

I’m in Dahab and married a freediver. He took me freediving for one of our first dates. There’s a lot of hand holding and talking. It’s pretty romantic.

Does freediving have the same challenges as SCUBA in terms of male to female representation? 

Bigger proportion of male instructors in freediving in our area.  From the competition side there are some really high profile women. And this year, I think it will be a great year for women’s freediving. We have five women diving below 100 meters.

How has your career evolved?

So I staff IDCs, which I really like. Getting someone to be an instructor and seeing where they go. It’s wonderful to see people go off around the world and keep in touch.
Plus it keeps me fresh, because I’m constantly reviewing my skills. As well I am a freediving instructor and judge freediving competitions.

Advice for aspiring professionals? 

Understand your worth and what you need. How much do you need to earn to live when you’ve taken care of insurance and equipment and how much you are being paid? Make sure you work for a center that values you and reflects that in their business. Don’t help dive centers reduce the quality of the profession. I want to encourage people to not work for centers that have the cheapest prices. We need to be able to not just get by, but to be able to take care of ourselves.

Having a business background and sales background or at least training yourself a bit is important because you do want to be able to advise people correctly.

When did you start tec diving?

After the world record was set here in Egypt and because many of my friends are tech divers I felt I should try it here and it was exciting. It really helped on my education side in terms of dive knowledge.

I guide differently now. I think every instructor with a deep specialty rating should at least do some tec courses.