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Clare Wilders (previously Goodman) has worked for the Ocean College Dive Centre in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt for over five years. Having peaked in her 20 year performing career by playing "Trunkie" the Elephant in the Elephant.co.uk television advert, she is has now settled in Sharm, a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, qualifying her to teach up to and including Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver levels. She is also an experienced guide in the area. Feel free to contact her
A few words from DiveBunnie:
thought that you may wish to know a little more about the force behind
the Dive Bunnie site, so here is a little run down.
visited the web, wanting to glean as much information as possible about
women in diving when I first learned to dive, I found that we were
rather under-represented, and sadly, some of those sites that did speak
up for the girlies, were either dull or uninformative. Since I started
DiveBunnie, this has changed somewhat, however at the time, I felt that
it was my duty to fill that gap. Hence the birth of DiveBunnie in May 2003. Those of you who visited then (bearing in
mind we are still fairly young!) will have seen things develop a little over the years.
So…why a career in diving?
I always had a vague interest and wonder at the ocean, together with
a healthy respect for its power. I grew up watching the Jaques Cousteau
programmes. I recall thinking how cool it would be to sit and have a
giggle with them in their little recompression chamber! However I never
really discovered the underwater world for myself until relatively recently,
well… actually thinking about it, my first snorkelling encounter
was over 10 years ago. This was in Antigua when a local friend took
us snorkelling from the beach… oh what a blinding moment that
was! When we surfaced I was astounded to discover that what had felt
like 15 wonderful minutes had in fact been a whole hour!
couple of holidays later, both spent in the Carribean and both spent
snorkelling, I found myself just off the coast of Hurgada (Egypt), about
to jump off a boat with a tank on my back and a reg in my mouth. It
was only a try dive, however it contributed to possibly one of the most
memorable days of my life. I was kind of spoilt, as the site of my first
ever SCUBA dive is nicknamed "The Aquarium" and being in the
Red Sea, need I say more? We did as much "diving" as possible
that holiday, slightly regretting the decision not to actually take
a course. However it gave me the motivation to pursue my Open Water
qualification, with maybe a little more determination than someone who
hadn't already had a little taste of what was down there. So a year
later, in January 2002, I found myself in Sharm el Sheikh with 7 fellow
students, about to embark on our Padi Open Water course. Ok, I know…
I chose to keep to the warm clear waters of the Red Sea to pursue my
course, just call me a wuss. Bizarrely, I now work for the very same company with whom I did my Open Water course. And, during my first Christmas as a divemaster,
I had the pleasure of guiding one of my previous fellow students, in fact even
assisting on his scuba review, particularly bizarre as he quite clearly recalled me struggling with my mask skills when I first learned!
gaining my qualification, I returned to the Red Sea many
times and have been well and truly spoilt. On my tenth dive,
I had the fantastic fortune to see 5 hammerheads, followed by a couple
of reef sharks. Nearly two thousand dives later, I can now appreciate the
rarity of that moment! For
a while after qualifying, I had to resort to a few holidays and the
wonders of a swimming pool, keeping my skills up-to date as well as
learning a few new ones… just to keep me on my toes. I did also
break briefly into the realms of UK diving. First thing I noticed was
Well, after my UK dabblings in the local puddle… sorry, quarry, I headed
further afield again. Don't get me wrong, there are many wonderful things
to be said for UK diving, and I am
sure that once I hit the sea, and maybe see basking sharks in Cornwall,
I will be full of enthusiasm. However, in the winter of 2004 I was a little more
enthusiastic about a little island off the South East coast of Africa.
Well… less of the little really, as it is the fourth largest island
in the world. I became a member of a reef conservation project in Madacascar
called Blue Ventures, which
kept me busy for a couple of months. The village where we were based
has experienced quite a fair amount of damage from over-fishing, combined
with climate changes, and are in the throes of creating a marine conservation
area along part of the South West Coast. Our job was to help instigate
that, by gathering information and logging a base line of the current sea life and
activity on the local reefs. We were also highly involved with the village
elders and school, helping to educate them with regards to the sustainability
of the fishing in their area. Whilst previously, they had simply fished for food, all
had been well, however, with Western influences, they had the option
to export and actually earn money, which inevitably encouraged an initial
fishing frenzy. Through the help of the Blue Ventures team, they came to realise that their reef is not a bottomeless pit, and that
they needed to implement some restrictions if they were to maintain
their supplies for the future.
Whilst out there, I gained my Rescue Diver qualification, as well as
the confirmation of my suspicions that diving is really not something
that I am going to get bored of in a hurry. Hence my decision to "Go
Pro" as PADI would say, and take the Divemaster course, which I
booked two days after my return to reality. Within two weeks I found myself on another boat, about to embark on the steepest learning curve of my life, making the transition from holiday diver to PADI professional. Gulp. Whilst this was hugely challenging on every level, it was also hugely rewarding. I gained so much knowledge and advice which I still use to this day when teaching or guiding divers.
I then worked as a Divemaster both in the UK (pool tune ups mainly),
and back in Sharm .
Finally in May of 2005, with a little help from the Dancers' Career Development fund, I was able to return to Sharm and finish off
what I had started. Well… in reality, get myself onto the bottom rung
of a completely different ladder! The IDC (Instructor Development Course) was great, a really fun but
healthily stressful experience. I was fortunate enough to be invited to work for the Ocean College with whom I had completed not only my Open Water, but Divemaster and Instructor courses, and since then, I
have remained in Sharm working for them as both a guide and instructor. I have
yet to decide which of the two I prefer, but for the time-being, am
just happy being in the water pretty much every day.
I now live on a cliff overlooking the sea with my husband George, a fellow instructor with the College, having had our wedding late summer of 2007, that turned out to be a bit of a Sharm social event of the year. Even the local magazine "Mix" featured us on their front page that month!
Here's hoping you enjoy browsing the site, do add your thoughts to the
message board, along with your tales and experiences.
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