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12 Months of Hope Rising All Over the World

As 2021 draws to an end, we reflect on how the inspiration and passion of PADI® Members have helped accelerate recovery and create balance between humanity and the ocean. 

From creating inclusive dive communities to taking action with conservation activities, this year was full of hope rising, and it looks to continue well into 2022.

January: An Underwater Love Story 

To ring off the new year, PADI Instructor and co-founder of Temple Adventures in India, S.B. Aravind, organized the first underwater Hindu wedding. The ceremony took place at a depth of about 18 meters (60 feet) in the Bay of Bengal – under the guidance of Aravind. The groom was already a certified diver and the bride started her diving journey in the months leading up to the wedding. The couple donned traditional clothes and exchanged customary garlands during the ceremony and was chosen as a way to spread awareness about the damaging effects of ocean pollution. This scuba love story brought so much hope, it was picked up by news outlets around the world, including BBC.

February: Honoring Heroes through Diving

PADI Master Instructor Jun Betinol, who is also known as Lieutenant Colonel in the Philippines Army, went above and beyond the call of duty to help maintain the physical and mental wellbeing of other front-liners who were fighting the war against the spread of COVID-19. He offered the gift of free PADI Open Water Diver courses to the officers, men and women of the 7th Regional Community Defense Group of the Army Reserve Command. As a result, nine men were certified as PADI Open Water Divers, two received Advanced Open Water Diver certifications and one was certified as a PADI Divemaster.

March: Keeping Doors Open By Prioritizing Training 

PADI Course Directors in Utila got creative in the ways they prioritized their Instructor Development Programs, which allowed them to keep their businesses open and welcome new intakes of students as soon as restrictions eased. Josiah Mackin of Utila Dive Center, Nick DeRutter of Bay Islands College of Diving, and Grace Williams of Underwater Vision all continued to communicate with current and prospective intakes throughout the pandemic, which has resulted in successful programs that ran all year long. 

April: Creating Inclusive Diving Communities  

(credit Aura Divers)

Ehdaa Al-Barwani has created a more inclusive dive community in Oman and is getting creative with encouraging more women to seek adventure and save the ocean. After she became the first female PADI instructor in Oman, she decided to launch women-only dive courses at Aura Divers so that women in her community are encouraged to get certified and also consider a career in the dive industry.   

May: Lighting the Torch for Future Generations 

(credit Dive Zone Tauranga

While New Zealand’s borders continued to remain closed to international visitors, Dive Zone Whitianga and Dive Zone Tauranga shifted their focus to working with local schools and teach future Torchbearers how to dive. Dive Zone Whitianga runs extensive school programs that result in around 50 Junior Open Water Diver certifications per year. Adding to this impressive statistic is Dive Zone Tauranga, who go the extra mile to ensure remote school children in the area can still participate in their Seal Team program.

June: Taking (Literal) Steps for a Better World 

(credit Andy Stone)

While many PADI Members have found themselves spending more time on dry land, PADI Course Director Renee Street and PADI Dive Instructor Andy Stone are both putting in the extra time on land towards helping save the ocean.

On June 6 Renee Street walked around the entire island of Gili Air for 24 hours to raise awareness for the issues facing the ocean. Each hour featured a different conservation topic and inspired others in her community and around the globe to also take action for the ocean. 

Andy Stone set out with a similar mission in the United Kingdom, aiming to complete 70×70 mile triathlons to raise money for the BLUE Marine Foundation and The Shark Trust. So far, he has raised £1077 in donations and has completed 35 consecutive Olympic distance triathlons in preparation for his Guinness World Record attempt starting 4 April 2022.

July: Diving for a Cause 

(Credit Divetech Grand Cayman)

From beach clean-ups to sunset yoga sessions and local guided dives, the diving community came together for the global celebration that brought everyone together to create balance between humanity and the ocean for the 8th annual PADI Women’s Dive Day.  PADI Five Star Dive Resort Divetech Grand Cayman even got creative in getting people in their community and abroad involved in their event, with a goal of all event participants diving for a combined 639 hours, with each second representing a person diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. 

August: Helping Make Vaccines Accessible to Locals 

Wanting to help their state of Pennsylvania out with the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, this PADI Five Star Career Development (CDC) Center turned their dive shop into a vaccination center! Indian Valley Scuba organized an entire vaccination program roll-out with a qualified pharmacist on-site to administer shots to over 100 members of their local community. 

September: Diving Into the Importance of Our Industry with Governments

Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy put diving in the national spotlight, having the PADI Open Water Diving course he took with PADI Regional Manager Asutay Akbayir broadcast on national television. Minister Ersoy recognized that with Turkey being surrounded by water and with an extensive range of underwater wrecks and artifacts to explore, he is passionate about making  Turkey one of the top dive destinations in the world and wants to continue to support the dive industry there.    

October: Discovering the Healing Powers of the Water

We were continually reminded about the healing powers the water provides to us all. 

Al Hornsby, PADI’s Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs, a longtime freediver, implemented the PADI Freediving Course’s modern training techniques into his rehabilitation after recently suffering a back injury. From not being able to walk, and barely able to swim, after only four months he now snorkels 45 minutes every day, much of that alternating 50-meter breath-hold and surface swims. He has already regained nearly all his in-water strength and can walk again (albeit carefully) – plus, breath-hold diving’s mental/emotional benefits are in full force. The results have been so significant that his doctor is discussing using the regimen with other, lower-back injury patients – a testimony to the healing powers the water provides to us all.

And then there is the amazing work that PADI Dive Centers are doing with the PADI Adaptive Diving Course, where Scuba Quest is working with Help for Heroes to introduce military veterans to the underwater world. The program has certified numerous veterans who face both mental and physical disabilities as PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water Divers, helping them heal and find peace from their traumas. 

November: Proving Age Has No Limits Underwater

(Credit North Cyprus British Scuba Centre) 

North Cyprus British Scuba Centre helped 73-year-old Tony Reid become a PADI Divemaster. After Tony spent over 30 years serving in the British Royal Army, he shifted focus and spent the last three years training to earn his PADI Divemaster certification with this PADI Five Star Dive Center. As a result of his supportive and encouraging environment at The British School of Diving North Cyprus, he now has goals of inspiring others his age to seek adventure and save the ocean, with aspirations to next work towards becoming a PADI Dive Instructor—proving a career in diving can start at any age. 

December: Say ‘Bula’ to Unlimited Diving in Fiji

(Credit Vomo Island Resort)

After nearly two years of having their borders closed to international visitors, Fiji re-opened their borders with a big ‘Bula’ on December 1 and giving the diving industry on this island nation hope going into the new year. PADI Five Star Dive Resort Vomo Island Resort is celebrating by offering unlimited PADI diving to all their guests who visit the private island, offering them a chance to get certified as a family and experience the soft coral capital of the world. 

Share Your Hope Rising Stories with #PADIPeople

There is hope rising everywhere. PADI will continue to amplify stories like these with fellow PADI Members and divers to inspire, excite and accelerate recovery by demonstrating the spirit of #PADIPeople around the world.

Share your own stories about how you are making a difference, and the better days that are possible right now through diving. Simply post descriptions, photos or videos to your social media channels, tagging PADI and #PADIPeople.

The post 12 Months of Hope Rising All Over the World appeared first on PADI Pros.

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