I spent many long hours, days and weeks researching the best place to enroll in an IDC program. I had five main criteria. I wanted a highly rated 5 star PADI dive center, excellent facilities, small class sizes, a comprehensive schedule and most importantly an excellent course director. I researched many locations all over the world and wrote countless emails to course directors. Having been a divemaster for quite some time on Koh Tao, I was familiar with Sairee Cottage Diving and upon contacting Marcel Van Den Berg, I got an immediate and enthusiastic reply. I was impressed. Marcel spent over an hour discussing my career, my experience, my passion for diving and conservation and answered in great detail every question I had (there were many). Marcel also took the time to give me a tour of the facilities and went a step further, inviting me to one of his Project Aware lectures (acknowledging my interest in conservation).

Over the course of two weeks we worked closely together, improving and honing my skills, preparing me for the IE and giving me the tools I needed to succeed when I transitioned into real life instruction. Marcel provided as much support and extra help as I needed, even if it meant sitting in the classroom until 11 PM. Along with the invaluable guidance of staff instructors Julian Picco and Kody Workman, I was able to attain my dream of becoming a certified PADI OWSI.

My overall experience was fantastic. I highly recommend both Sairee Cottage Diving and Marcel as a Course Director. So much so that I enrolled to further my education in the MSDT program and join the team for an internship!

Many thanks to Marcel and everyone Sairee Cottage.

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