Having decided to take the plunge and change career to become a diving instructor I knew that there was only one course director who I wanted to do my IDC with; Marcel van den Berg. I first met Marcel in 2009 whilst I was completing my Dive Master Training where he helped me immeasurably. I knew that his style of teaching goes above and beyond what is required to pass the assessments and his passion for all things aquatic is simply infectious.

The IDC offered at Sairee Cottage not only prepares you for the IE but goes above and beyond to really prepare you for a life instructing diving in the real world. Classroom sessions are conducted in a professional and IDC specific classroom situated right on the beach. Course content is thorough and is peppered with Marcel’s real-life experience of over a decade as a professional in the dive industry. Throughout the course we had the opportunity to be taught by and speak with other experts in their field from EFR to Specialist Course Instructors.

Not only is Marcel an inspiring and engaging teacher, he has a terrific team of support staff in Staff Instructor Julián Picco and trainee staff instructors Nubia Irazú Romo Nuñez and Oscar Salas Zamora who couldn’t have done more to help us if they tried. (Muchos gracias mamacita y tio Oscar. ¡Gracias por sus infinitas sonrisas y ánimo y paciencia!) The whole team made time to go through additional preparation work, questions, practice exams and skills circuits to make sure that we were all confident when walking into our IE. Even late night/early morning messages were replied to promptly with no complaint. Your patience was seemingly endless so thank you! You guys seriously gave us the best possible grounding for our IE and I can’t express how grateful I am for the love, care and attention that you gave us.

The course itself is split between classroom, practical practice, and assessment. The standards set at Sairee Cottage are high with a major focus on industry standards, inspiring divers, safe practices and risk management. Having been a diver for 18 years I have seen a lot of amazing instructors and dive leaders. Equally have often seen examples of how things should not be done. It was reassuring to be in an environment where such high and safe standards are required of all staff and trainees.

The vibe at Sairee Cottage is one of family and even though the IDC is intense we weren’t separate from the rest of the centre and I felt a part of the family as a whole; regularly spending time with instructors, DM’s, DMT’s and guests at the resort. I have in my IDC classmates found firm friends who I can’t wait to share many more laughs with. I am so happy to have completed my IE, to be settled on the Island and ready to start work. I can’t think of a better place to have done my IDC and I can’t recommend Marcel and his team enough. Thank you for enabling me to take the leap and for helping me to feel confident in teaching and inspiring the next generation of divers!

I’m sorry it took me nine years to get back Marcel, once again I’m eternally grateful to have had you as such an integral part of my diving journey! I’ll see you soon in the bubbles! Thank you all a gazillion!!!! Koh Tao has always held a special place in my heart and now Sairee Cottage does too. See you all beneath the waves