For anybody who loves the ocean and loves to travel I would definitely recommend doing a Divemaster internship and Roatan is an amazing place to do it. You are a five minute boat ride from the second largest reef system in the world, so the diving is nothing short of spectacular!
I came to Subway with my advanced certification and spent seven weeks working through my rescue diver and Divemaster training. The instructor, Gerardo, is very experienced and has lots of tips and tricks for being the best Divemaster. I feel very prepared for working as a Divemaster thanks to his training. He makes sure that you are exposed to, know how to handle, and can adapt to different situations that could happen while working as a Divemaster.
As part of the internship and training, you will help with boat set up and take down and will assist the Divemasters when they take guests out. All of the captains and Divemasters are very nice and willing to answer any questions you may have and share their knowledge. Being able to go out on dives with the Divemasters and guests is where you get some of the best experience. You see how the Divemasters handle different situations, and, as you progress in your training, you begin to learn how to handle these situations yourself. It is a very rewarding feeling when you help solve a problem underwater for the first time. Being at the dive center everyday and helping with many aspects of the operation gives you a good idea of what will be asked of you when working as a Divemaster.
The internship is not only work, though, it is also a lot of fun. You not only get to go on amazing dives everyday, but you get to meet a lot of really cool people who also love the ocean. Interns come from all over the world and you all live together, dive together, and explore the island together, so you become fast friends. It is a wonderful way to see a new place, meet people from all different places and backgrounds, and get a certification that will let you work around the world!
I spent an age searching around online before finally deciding to take the plunge (pun intended) and do my DMT with Subway Watersports. I truly believe it to be one of the greatest decisions of my life. The staff and other interns were all fantastic, being both incredibly fun and welcoming whilst making training/learning effective and safety a priority. The intern house is located perfectly centrally to both work and the bustling West End, making trips to either both very convenient.
As for the diving, the reef is extremely healthy on the north side, whilst the caverns of the south side are truly spectacular. Seahorses, nurse sharks, and even dolphins are a relatively common sight when diving with Subway, especially with their eagle-eyed Divemasters and Instructors.
Huge thanks to Holly and the whole team for preparing me for the big wide world of professional diving. I made friends for life there; and if it wasn’t for a change of personal circumstances, I would have happily stayed there indefinitely.
Having decided that spending another summer in the armpit of Britain (Middlesbrough) just wasn’t an option, I started to look around on the internet to see what Divemaster courses were on offer. Subway seemed to be one of the more organized internship programs so after a few initial emails to Gillian and some very friendly replies I booked my place on the intern programme. In all honesty….pulled a bit of a masterstroke there, because last summer was one of the most memorable summers I’ve had.
I arrived in Roatan in the middle of July to be greeted by Gillian and her friendly dive dog Lily. I would like to give a bit of advice here to all future DM’s, if travelling to Roatan via the US listen to what Gill says and really do allow 3 hours minimum between arrival and departure……….TACA employees do not own hearts and if you’re a minute after check in closes well tough luck!!!(As I found out to my cost!!)
So anyway……………..Gill picked up Sarah (another intern) and myself from the airport and took us to meet our new friends at the dive shop. I do mean new friends as well, that is one of the biggest plus points about Subway, from the moment you arrive you automatically gain a circle of maybe 15 friends, whether they be fellow DM’s, instructors, boat captains (some of the most random quotes of my life have come from Boris) or friends of Subway, they are all SO WELCOMING you feel instantly at ease and makes the next big experience that little bit less terrifying………………..the first dive!
Now for me this was a little scary, its not the thought of going for a dive that was scary, it was the thought of going diving with all these awesome divers who were going to look amazing underwater and I was going to be a slightly chubby northerner who wouldn’t be able to sink. I’m going to let you into a little secret now…… everyone’s first dive is a little ropey but the staff know this, they were there once upon a time a long long long long long long time ago, they know exactly what your going through so just remember to relax and keep an eye out for eagle rays and whale sharks!
Another plus point about Subway is the amount of dives you can get in. Diving twice a day is so much fun and believe me your competence under water increases ten fold within no time and you can really start to concentrate on becoming a good divemaster and more importantly having the DM pose perfected – arms crossed, body horizontal, air consumption minimal! You may be thinking what is the hell am I going on about but give it a fortnight in Roatan and you to will be striving for it!
Not only will your diving ability increase over the first two weeks so will your upper body strength! Believe it or not Subway has its own form weight control programme in place, eat as much rice and kidney beans as you like (this is the free staff dinner you are supplied by the hotels kitchen) and move scuba tanks all day!! After a few weeks the chubby northerner was no more! Thankfully! Yes this is a working holiday, ever been on a diving holiday and all you have had to do is sit on a boat while someone makes sure you have everything required for the dive??? Whilst at Subway you are that someone, you really learn about customer service and tend to every need of the customers. This is important to learn and if you go diving after you have completed your DM you will feel compelled to give the DM a hand and tip the poor kid!! I will emphasise again you do work, but it doesn’t feel like work once you get into a routine it all becomes second nature and you enjoy seeing the customer feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.
Your trip isn’t all about diving, Wednesday and Friday nights usually involves a trip to the West End to hang out with all the diving DUDES!!! You will be able to spot them; they will have long hair and a distinct lack of upper body clothing! It is actually such a laugh when you go to west end, no doubt if you have typed Roatan into Google, you will have come across the Sundowners bar. This really is the stereotypical beach bar, palm tree’s growing through the bar, amazing view, really nice cocktails and a BBQ what more could you ask for?? Further down the road was the Purple Turtle which is attached to another diving company called Reef Gliders. Again, a really good bar, everyone goes there and you get to meet some colourful characters. For the party animals out there, Fosters and Fubar are open till late but due to my alcohol induced narcolepsy I was usually passed out, generally in the street or a quiet corner of purple turtle or stood up next to the DJ booth in Fosters………………..ok the message I’m trying to get across is, there is some nightclubs in the West End but I can’t handle my drink and was usually passed out by that point!! So if you want to know what they are like I am not a reliable source of information!
Sharing a house with the other DM’s and instructors is so much fun, you really get to meet different characters from all over the world. Whilst I was there I lived with 1 German, 1 Colombian, 5 Americans, 1 French (angel fish! Helene I miss you!!!!!) 1 Australian and a couple of fellow Brits so you really do get to meet people from all walks of life.
If I had to make a list of a few things to do whilst staying with Subway it would be as follows……..
Whatever you don’t book your plane ticket to home directly after your DM is finished, round up the rest of the fellow DM’s and central America is only a ferry ride away. It is such an underrated travel destination!! Myself and three other interns visited Honduras mainland. Patrick arranged for us to be picked up by Omega tours and they took us to an eco-lodge for a couple of days of lounging about in the cool bug free mountains which was such a relief after 8 weeks slowly roasting on Roatan. Omega tours is such a cool place, you can do any number of things from horse riding to white water rafting, I went for white water rafting, laying in a hammock eating lots of tasty food and drinking from their heavily stocked and well chilled fridge! After Omega tours we headed to Copan which is the nicest little Spanish village! We stayed at Café Via Via (I would recommend) we visited the Mayan ruins and generally chilled out for a few days. Upon leaving Copan the troops emotionally dispersed, sob sob (Rob wailed like a little girl) Or was that relief at finally getting rid of me? I wouldn’t like to say! Rob and Sarah headed onto adventures new around the rest of central America whilst myself and Rachel headed back to Roatan for a few more dives and to catch our flights home!
I would like to thank everyone so much who I met whilst I was in Roatan, you all made it such an awesome experience and I would recommend it to anyone!
Until I see my Roatan chums again,
I have had a fantastic time at Subway Watersports. Having travelled fairly extensively before going to Honduras, I knew I should be prepared for anything and everything. I had wanted to do my Divemaster internship for sometime and found out about Subway through a Google search on the internet. I had looked at other places as well, but was drawn to this program because everything seemed very well established and professional, as well as living with the other Divemaster interns. Within two months I landed at Roatan International Airport.
Patrick met me at the airport and took me to Brick Bay, to the house I was to live in. There I met Paula and Andy, the dive instructors from Turquoise Bay where I was to be based. I also met Christel and Lauren who were some of the other Divemaster interns. At Subway it is a bit of a tradition for the new interns to be taken for a meal. I had the privilege of being taken to a barbecue where I met the rest of the interns and scuba instructors as well as other guys who live and work on Roatan.
The following day, we all clambered into the back of Paula and Andy’s pickup truck and set off to Turquoise Bay. The drive goes past the best view on the island (there is a bar there cunningly named “The View”) where you can look out over the reef and the turquoise waters that lie in front of the Turquoise Bay resort. I loved the dive shop here. I couldn’t find fault with it at all (except the sand flies liked it as well, but that is the case across the whole of Roatan).
Everything was going really well, and then I did my first dive. I had not dived for over a year and although I was quite comfortable in the water, I got a nose bleed about 5 minutes into the dive (I had got one when I was on the plane before and I think that I must have set it off again when I was equalizing). Then, to top everything off, when I got back on the boat I got seasick! Not only did this earn me my nickname of Chuckie, but I hit my low point and started to wonder if I would be able to do my Divemaster if I couldn’t steady my stomach. The following day I got seasick again, and then I read something about the anti-malarias I was taking which said that they can make people prone to seasickness. So I stopped taking them and from then on I was fine!
A few days later, we had been joined by more Divemaster interns and we went to spend the night on Pigeon Cay, a small uninhabited desert island just off Barbareta. It was a wonderful trip. Boris, the Turquoise Bay boat captain, scaled a palm tree to get a coconut. He hacked off the top with a machete and we all drank some of the coconut milk. Then we topped it up with rum which got the evening off to a good start. The only other people on the island were some local fishermen. Paula noticed that they had caught a turtle and she managed to persuade them to give it to her so she could release it. That was a real highlight.
What I really liked about the internship is that although there is an overall time scale for you to complete everything, most of the time you are able to work at a pace which suits you. Living and working with the other Divemaster interns is a real plus as you get to hear about their experiences and help each other out if you are trying to get your head around physics. I have come away with some really good friends.
If you don’t have any customers you still get to dive as well which means you get the chance to really fine tune your skills or have a go at Kung Scuba (ask Paula)! Having dived in the Indian, and Atlantic oceans as well as the Med and the English Channel, the Caribbean diving in Roatan is the best I have ever experienced. I saw so many different creatures, including turtles, nurse sharks, porcupine fish and spotted eagle rays. The corals are beautiful and at 28˚C the water is wonderful.
After a couple of weeks, I started to think about what I wanted to do afterwards and Patrick told me about an IDC (Instructor Development Course) which was starting as my DM was ending. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be ready for that, but after speaking with everyone I felt reassured that I would be able to complete my IDC as well. Patrick sorted out everything for me and Paula and Andy were fantastic with helping me to prepare for the course. I am pleased to say that 2 weeks later, I passed the IDC and the Instructor Exam!
I would like to thank everyone at Subway Watersports for a fantastic experience. I loved my time in Roatan and it’s all thanks to a great team.