It took her more than two years to finally arrive, but
Australian world traveler Carly Hawkins finally made it to Pattaya where she has
become the latest Aquanauts Dive Centre intern to become a PADI Open Water Scuba
Hawkins, 28, first signed up with Aquanauts after visiting
the PADI 5-Star Career Development Center’s booth at the Dive 2007 expo in
Birmingham, England. The original plan called for her to arrive the following
April. Then November. Then her trip got delayed indefinitely.
From left, Master Instructor Gary Tytler, Master Instructor
Sally Rathbone, new OWSI Carly Hawkins and Course Director Roger M. Smith.
She finally joined Aquanauts on Soi 6 in North Pattaya in
December and became an instructor April 22 at the PADI Instructor Exam at the
Discovery Beach Hotel.
“It did for a while feel like I’d never make it,” Hawkins
said. “But becoming a dive instructor was something I always wanted to do. I
just had to find the right time to do it.”
In the years between signing up and arriving, Hawkins worked
as a teacher in the United Kingdom, using her frequent school breaks to
crisscross Europe to see the sights, discover new adventures and make new
friends. She details many of her journeys on Facebook where, thanks to her wide
travels, she’s accumulated more than 1,100 friends.
She finally made the move to Pattaya when, she says, she
“just couldn’t bear another winter in the U.K.” She arrived just after Christmas
and, unlike many foreign women who end up living in Pattaya, found she loved it.
“I love the convenience, the people, the lifestyle… It’s so
relaxed,” she said. “The dress code is great. The girls are so friendly and I
love the beach and the nightlife.”
The two highlights of Hawkins’ time in Pattaya came at the
same time: mid-April, when she did both her Instructor Development Course and
soaked up everything Songkran had to offer.
“I hated that the IDC was during Songkran. The instructors
could see I was just dying to get out of the classroom and back out there,” she
joked. After class Hawkins was off to Soi 7 where she got into the water
fighting full force.
Fun aside, Hawkins acknowledges the best part of coming to
Pattaya was gaining a new career thanks to her training at Aquanauts.
“They really prepared you for the Instructor Exam,” Hawkins
said of the Aquanauts instructors. “The IDC was pretty stressful, but the I.E.
was very easy because of it.”
What she didn’t anticipate, she added, was the number of new
friends she has made through the internship program, which offers all its
students accommodations, all their courses and materials, a full set of
equipment, visas and more. “I thought when I came here I was going to be on my
own. But all the interns are awesome.”
Now both a teacher and a professional dive instructor,
Hawkins has a lot of possibilities in front of her. Her first stop will be her
native Australia, where she hasn’t lived for years. Then, she says, who knows?
The world and new adventures are waiting.