Dive Intern Testimonials for Mermaids Divemaster and OWSI Training

Intern Dive Training at Mermaids ThailandEach Mermaids intern that we have here in Pattaya, Thailand all have a great time combined with 1st class dive training. As mentioned over the web site the camaraderie here is superb and many have made friends for life. It is fine for me to tell you this time and time again but please check out some of the testimonials from the actual interns.

Please note: All testimonials are written by interns. The dive interns here have complete freedom to write what-ever they wish.

After much internet research we contacted Mermaids to inquire about a divemaster intern program, we received prompt and informative replies to all our questions, we also stopped by the centre on a quick visit and after seeing the operation and diving with the mermaids staff we were sold! We came to Mermaids initially for 3 months (that was 6 months ago) and after completing our DM course, we decided to stay for open water instructor training. The training at mermaids really is fantastic and having now successfully completed our OWSI training we decided to stay just a little bit longer to become specialty instructors. Not bad considering we only ever intended to be DMs!

We’ll have to leave mermaids eventually but will certainly come back again, its been a great experience!!

– Jo and Guy (June 2009)

It’s been 2 years since I finally completed my OWSI/MSDT intern training with Mermaids (I was one of those repeat offenders that just kept coming back!!). Having now worked in the “real world” diving industry I cannot thank the amazing crew at Mermaids enough. I believe that you offer the best diver internship going around. Several instructors I have worked with since have completed what is billed as “zero to hero” internships yet none of them have come out of their program with the kind of hands on experience and skills that I gained working under the likes of Russell, Desi, Ian B and Slinky and the awesome support staff at Mermaids.

I came out of the program confident in my abilities as an instructor and actually able to not only comfortably teach the courses I have been trained for but deal with damn near every problem a diver can come up with. I have now worked in what I believe to be one of the toughest sectors in the industry – Cruise Ship Passengers – and despite everything they have thrown at me, (ohh the stories I could tell you!!), my confidence in the skills taught to me at Mermaids and my ability to deal with problems has never wavered. My passion for teaching and continuing my own diver education is still as strong as it was the day I left Thailand and I believe that this is due to the strong foundation that came from my time at Mermaids.

So again I cannot thank you guys enough!!!!

Best Fishes & Happy Bubbles!!

Jeni Chapman PADI MSDT#487208

If you don’t try this you will never know how good life can really be! Sailing back aboard one of the four boats Mermaids runs daily, pleasantly knackered from a day’s lifting tanks, diving and socializing with customers and interns alike is the best part of my day. Since taking up the challenge of “Going Pro” I’ve been challenged physically and emotionally but it all boils down to the fact that in the last 4 months I have laughed more and enjoyed life more than ever before. Now I’m coming to the end of my term and looking for more courses to continue my professional development here at Mermaids. On arriving I was a little confused by all the PADI diving terminology and acronyms and I thought that talking diving all day could get boring – Oh how wrong I was! I still use the term Flipper (it should be Fin) occasionally, but now it’s more to get a rise out of those present than confusion. Stop rationalizing, it’s a great deal and the adventures, people you will encounter along the way make the time and effort invested totally worth it – Go on Go Pro! –

Andy H2O

JON CAPANDA. This is the second time I have been to Mermaids first was to do the Divemaster course which was very good and now the second which I have just done was OWSI!! all courses a taught to a very hi in the sky standard, the Course Directors, well they are the best around that’s for sure so Hats off to you Russell and Desi!! It’s been a pleasure to be part of Mermaids and I am sure I will be back!!

Jon Canada

To all the Mermaids staff (Sheena, Terry, Russel, Desi, Henry, JW, Kris, Keith, Jan, Gaew, Mailai, Phil B., and and and…), Thank you for an unforgettable time. You offer something special there. Not only do you pump out the best DMs, OWSIs, EFRIs, MSDTs, Staffies and MIs anywhere, but you allow all of us to grow as people. Anyone who has been to mermaids is also part of a massive extended family reaching across the globe. I went diving for 2 days in the Similans, and on one boat met 2 staff who were previous Mermaid Interns. I cannot fathom how many more must be out there in the wild world making you all proud. I know I am proud to go home and wear one of my many Mermaids intern shirts, to be part of the Mermaids family, and to spread tall tales of our many adventures.
All the best wishes for you in the holiday season. I hope 2009 is a great year for you all. Keep turning out the best PADI professionals anywhere,

Brock Kelsch (2008) OWSI #496457

“Fantastic value for money. As an intern who is looking to work in the industry, Mermaids have given me every opportunity to gain invaluable experience”

Gareth Leek

Jeff Santos – OWSI Intern
Hey everyone, I just want to thank you all for a great 8 months in Pattaya. When I saw the website offering a scuba diving internship in Thailand I was a bit skeptical, but I have to admit it was one of the smartest moves I have made up to this point in my life. When you consider that I had NEVER been diving before coming to Thailand, and now I am a PADI professional, it is unbelievable. The hands on training provided by mermaids staff is second to none. They went out of their way to take the time to make sure I mastered the skills necessary to become not just a competent diver, but to excel and that’s what made it so special. So thanks to all you instructors, Russell, Claus, Manx, Dave, Tom, B1, B2, Ian, and of course Desi for all the knowledge You gave me. The many friends I have made in Thailand will be friends I keep in touch with for many years to come. To my Long-stay brothers, Jay, Lee, James, Alex 1, Alex 2, Pete, and Steve, You guys are the best! I was really lucky to meet a great bunch like yourselves. To heath, Keep hugging those trees my man, I am sure I will be following in your footsteps soon. About Pattaya, hard to find the proper words to the describe this town. It is the one place I have ever been where the excitement of a big city is wrapped up in a small town (by American standards anyway). There is something for everyone here. One of my favorite moments was on Paul Manx’s (one of the Instructors) B-day. Like 12 of us went bungee jumping into that lake, then partied the rest of the night away on Walking Street. What a great night. Well thanks again all and for all you new interns, enjoy it while it lasts, because it will go quicker than you can possibly imagine. Peace, Jeff Santos

Terry and Sheena. IDC December 2005 (Terry) – IDC January 2006 (Sheena) – Baby Ty in the future:-)…
When we decided to travel to Thailand to do an Internship, everyone said to us you must be crazy!!! Sure with an 8 month old baby, we almost thought the same thing. Choosing the right Dive School was crucial for us to make our new life work and after many ups and downs searching for the right place and at the point of almost giving up our dream we contacted PJ and within hours joined up with Mermaids. Wow, they helped us with everything including finding us a fabulous nanny and a great apartment (all this before we even arrived) We have been here 7 months and are working on our MSDT and IDC Staff.
During this time, we’ve had great advice and instruction on all of our courses and if we came across any problems they were quickly solved and improved upon for the next divers coming through. We’ve always found you are never alone, if you have a problem or need anything, just ask, there are a lot of good Instructors here willing to help and of course PJ who is a great listener.
Our training has taken us to levels over and beyond what we thought we would get from the Internship and have found out that no matter what age you are it is never to late to change your life and still be able to say, I learn something new every day.
As we are having such a great time, we have just extended our stay for another couple of months and are really thinking of burning that return ticket back to London! The best thing we ever did, comes to mind…..

Rob Hampson – OWSI Intern
What I can say about Mermaids for any prospective interns is that after recently passing my Instructor Exam in Pattaya having learned everything at Mermaids from Open Water through to Instructor, I have to say that it is extremely great value for money and it is an experience I can never regret.
The school enabled me to pass my exams on my first attempt with brilliant results which has been a real confidence booster for myself, not only regarding diving but also as part of life in general.
I had the best time in my life whilst I was in Pattaya!
The school has great variation regarding dive sites as there are plenty of boats to choose from running daily.
The food on the boats is always tasty and the Chicken is more than good.
The equipment you get as part of your course is great, considering you get all your books you need to complete your courses, and all your course fees paid as part of the package, not forgetting your really nice apartment for 6 months, when doing the math you can only come to the conclusion that you are 100% getting great value for money.
If you are thinking about becoming a diving instructor, Mermaids won”t fail your expectations.
It’s well worth doing it there!

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Hi Peter, Steve, Carl and the whole gang!!!!!
Finally, I’ll be returning to Mermaids to continue my training!! I have now dived in Fujairah, UAE and Ocho Rios, Jamaica and I can say without hesitation, that the training I received and the dive professionalism demonstrated by all at Mermaids has yet to be surpassed! I truly want to thank you for setting and maintaining such a high standard. My dive “habits” were complimented on by staff at both locations and I was proud to tell them where I received my training.

Frank T. P

Lee Caller – OWSI

They say life say life is what you make it ! In that case for the last 8 months I’ve been making a great fool out of what the accepted definition of work is !!!! Diving out here is only a very small part of the experience .. The people you’ll meet are friends for life and the experiences are something you will talk about forever.. A Small incident on my first night in Bangkok and it’s become legend.. No doubt you’ll all hear about it on your arrival.. That said, enjoy the diving, and you’ll see something new every day… Enjoy every day and you’ll fall in love with Thailand… After 8 months here ( my IDC is less than 3 weeks away ) I am still finding things on my doorstep I have missed for the last 7 months… I mean thing like the best kebab van in south east Asia and a Mexican restaurant to shame all other.. Oh and yesterday I saw my first shark in Pattaya ( no monster but it had a mean look in his eye – honest ) .. Come out here and enjoy it, live it but most of all take a bunch of photo’s as when your memory is old and fuzzy (beer more than age ) they’ll always provide irrefutable proof of the fish you saw, the elephants in the street and of course the guy that drank to much and danced on stage …… I May well see some of you out here , if not all I ask is :- 1) Take care of Peter ( he’s fragile ) 2) Savor every day out here … The smells are fantastic ( mostly ) and the roadside food is safe ( mostly ) 3) Remember to bubble !!! ( that will make more sense when your out here ) Lee C PADI Professional – 480262

Hi Peter, Hope you are well, just wanted to drop you an email to say thank you for all the help you gave me this time last year. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Mermaids, and I am now working on Saba Island in the Caribbean as an Instructor. I reckon mostly all of what happened in the last months can be traced back to your incredibly helpful and detailed emails – so thank you! All the best Olly PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor #305328

Olly 2011

Good overall package and value for money. Training was excellent especially with DM course and IDC. All instructors are very helpful. Accommodation was fantastic. Suzy Kitching

Aaran L. (Mermaids Dive Intern)
Aaron Layghton – DM

Right then, not too good at this kind of thing but for Pj i will give it a go. it all started in august 04 when i sent him a email, that was the best 5 minutes i have spent in front of a laptop. I got to mermaids with no scuba training at all, none, zero, zip, but i’m a DM now working in Cyprus with my girlfriend Lucy who is a OWSI, (we met at mermaids) and i now see just how good my training was because not every one has been trained to the high standards of mermaids.
If your thinking of joining the mermaids family because that’s what it is, book it now because if you don’t you will miss out on a few things, like;
Toto, Lulu and the girls who will be happy to get you an ice cold beer before you have put your gear away.
The bhat bus rides that you take with 25 others (that’s if you can beat our record) on the way to walking street.
Captain Gai and the chicken boat who always has a smile and a helping hand.
Frosty” who sounds like Santa when he’s laughing at you down at 30 meters!
Chicken on a stick this one i will leave for you to find out!
The Llife long friends, and so many more things i can’t put in, so for all you who know what im talking about and what we are all missing, hope your all doing well and hope to see you all soon. For all you that don’t know……well what are you waiting for book and get down to Pattaya
Arran – mermaids intern – the rest of my life

Harvey Rogers – PADI Staff Instructor (OWSI+ Intern)

Arriving in a new place, trying to advance a new career is always going to be scary, but the welcome I received from everyone at Mermaids instantly put me at ease. Having been here for over three months now, I can say that this is by far the most professional outfit in this area, with fantastic instruction and instructors who are always willing to help no matter how busy they are.
The diving here may not be the best in the world, but there are some superb wrecks, and ripping currents which provide valuable experience. Unlike sites in the Andaman Sea, diving here is all year round, so you can take your time. When you do finish, most people leave with jobs to go to.
The nightlife here is like nowhere I have ever been, and is really something you have to experience first hand to understand.
I have made many good friends here, some of who have already left and are dotted around the globe, but we all stay in touch via email. With all these outstanding invitations to visit, I’m not sure where to go first, Dominican Rep., Egypt, Spain…. Happy Days!!

Alex G. AKA Sharky
Alex Gerard – OWSI Intern

What can I say, I’ve just come back from the most memorable 9 months of my life! I was a little unsure about sending my hard earned cash to people I’d never met before but it couldn’t have been more worthwhile! The instructors and people of Mermaids have not only taught me so much but also become good friends. The atmosphere they create makes you feel part of the family. Thank you B1, B2, HMS, Manx, Claus, Russ, Tom, Frosty, Lance, CS, Nori, Ian, Wayne. You guys have been great! i have also made some great friends who I WILL see again! The list is too long but you know who you are, you lovely people and you really made the ride great! I cannot think of a better training ground that combines great courses, facilities, instructors and friends. Thank you all and when I’m diving with my beloved sharks, I’ll be thinking of you all (especially you Tom! Don’t worry they’re harmless, though the big ones do like the odd SEAL!!!). I will be back very soon!

Sharky #482744

The Three Wise Men! (Crowley, the time before) taught me everything I know!
My time on the IDC program has been interesting. Can’t thin of anything I’d change. Without “Mr Burns” I wouldn’t be half as paranoid about my students safety as I am but this is only a good thing.
Big Gansta Love to the men that made me a dive instructor!

Nicky Burley.

Bruce R.PADI Instructor
Bruce Ritchie – OWSI Intern

I was initially scheduled to do my dive intern training elsewhere in Pattaya but was put off at the last moment due to some doubts about them. I met with Steve and Pj and did not hesitate to book with Mermaid’s CDC. Everything here has been as expected and no false promises are given and you pay your money and you receive everything that you expect. I have had no problems at all or complaints about any offered by Mermaids.
The quality of the instruction and the professionalism is excellent. There are so many instructors to choose from, you can in some ways decide whom you wish to learn from.
The level of some of the instructors is amazing especially their backgrounds. It really shines through on how much they teach you. In some levels of diving it helps to have instructors team teach you.
I have enjoyed every minute here. Being located in Jomtien is the best option as you can relax and if you want to go into Pattaya you can easily do so.
Mermaids have fantastic staff.

C Settar
DM Intern – Christine Settar

Hi Steve.

Since i did not get a chance to before flying off on Monday, i just wanted to say thank you for the experience that you and the rest of your staff provided for me. I had a remarkable time, one that i will never forget. if i ever decide to continue with my instructor’s certification i will definitely be headed your way, and i hope i can return to Thailand soon even if it is not for that reason! please keep in touch and thank you again!
happy holidays, C Settar

P Tuck – West Virginia
Tucker – OWSI

I am currently finishing up my dive master course at Mermaids Dive School and I plan to continue on to the Instructor level. So far I have found the instruction to be extremely professional and intimate. There are many other students at the school; however, every class I have taken has been either just I or one other student. The instructors are there everyday for you to ask questions and get instant feedback on your performance. The atmosphere is very laid back and they are willing to work around your schedule to suit your needs.
Once you finish your rescue course you begin as a dive master trainee and this is where you learn the most and have the most fun. You get to see what it is like to work in the field as you are on the boat diving everyday with customers. You are responsible for leading dive teams, assisting instructors by demonstrating skills to other students and conducting dive briefings based on your personal knowledge of the dive sites. No two days are the same and there is something new to learn everyday.
I have been here for about two months and I have found that out of everything I have done the one thing I enjoy the most is hanging out with the friends that I have made from all over the world. After we finish up a “tough day at the office” we all gather at the local pub next door to have a few beers and tell stories about diving or about our past lives in the “real world”.
This has truly been a unique experience in my life and I can honestly say that I made the right decision for myself. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I can say that it won’t be in an office or cubicle sitting behind a computer for eight hours a day. I hope that this has helped provide some insight and given you something to think about for your future.

Marc Nuitjen – OWSI Intern
I am now working in the Dominican Republic for Dressel Divers and having a good time. My first certifications have gone through, I´m learning a lot but am at a good level for a newbie instructor. Thanks to you, Klaus, Tom and Russel. I´m a happy man.

Russell Snorkin – OWSI Intern
A big thank you to Mermaids and all the staff which have made my dream possible. Another 100% result for the IE which I was so happy to be included in. Many great memories and friends have been made at Mermaids and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

I really liked the way that “ALL” you IDC Staff kept this course so very much fun, fun and learning together. I thought that one more day on the boat might have been a good idea but ths is only a small whining as you have all made the rest of the course so enjoyable.
I am not sure which of the courses that I enjoyed most but it would have to be either the Rescue or the IDC, I loved them both on different levels. I am now breathing easier thanks to Russell, Desi and Iain – Totally dedicated people do exist at Mermaids. Barry. (2008)

Lee S (Check IDC May 2005)
Lee Smitten – OWSI Intern

Well they say that your school days are the best days of your life……true but I think that was the diving school days in my life. Throughout my 8 months in Thailand with Mermaids I have met so many new and great people and I will always remember my days there. All the instructors who brought me up from Open water to Instructor have been excellent and I owe it all to them (and PJ of course) 🙂 Special thanks to Claus, Manx, Tom, HMS, SB1 for the help and training during the IDC, also to Lance who guided me through my Divemaster Training and to Russell who made me and Open Water diver even after calling him an Aussie. Special thanks to Pj for for a great time on the Similans trip – memories that will never fade. Never forgetting of course the longstay crew, Alex, Jason, Stuart (the savoy bar & Grill), Aine, Lucy, Jeff, Linda, Sue, Rosie, Russ, Alexia, Cliff, Will, Slinky, Lee, Beou, Martin, You have all been a great laugh. Keep in touch…Lee S

Lucy D – PADI Instructor through Mermaids (Check IDC of January here)

OWSI Intern – Lucy Dunn

Thought I’d better send something to you even though I must have told you a million times what a great time I had, I know it will sound biased but what the hell, it’s all true.
OK, so if you’re reading this you’re either and old intern in which case hello and hope you’re doing great, or you’re thinking about joining PJ and Mermaids. I’m really not sure where to start because I just had the best time ever doing my training in Pattaya. The school and the instructors there are 1st class, and I’ve found out just how good they are since I’ve started working as an instructor myself (so to all the instructors, I owe you a huge thank you,). I was in Pattaya for about 8 months and didn’t want to leave, I joined as an open water diver and ended up an instructor (many thanks again to the instructors on my IDC, especially Claus who made me do the presentations even though I hated them). I am now working in Cyprus and have realized how lucky I was to get the training I did from all at Mermaids. If you’re reading the LIA website and thinking that it all sounds too good to be true then you’re right, it does sound that way, but everything on this website is 100% true, it is the most unbelievable deal and I have to thank PJ and SB1 again for making it such a great course.
I’m trying to write this without sounding biased but I can’t so if you do decide to hand over your cash and move half way around the world I can guarantee you a few things from Mermaids and PJ:
1, you will have the time of your life, and you will not regret one single minute.
2, you will meet some of the best people you could ever wish to meet, lifelong friends.
3, you will work hard and have fun, but the training you get will be first class.
4, you’ll find out what PJ means when he says “do you fancy meeting up for a couple of quiet drinks” J
5, you either end up staying longer than you planned or going back there, or like in my case, both.

Hope that will do, I tried to keep it sort of short J

Trent O
Trent Odner – OWSI Intern

There are plenty of dive schools out there…but that’s all they are…just dive schools. Mermaid’s Diving Life Internship is an all encompassing experience. I spent 4 months from Open Water to Instructor and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You show up when you want, vacation when you want, take courses when you want in virtually whatever area of diving you want, and there are always plenty of extremely capable instructors to help you out whenever you need it. Everyone is always smiling and having a great time whether it be in the classroom, out diving, or in the bar. There were 18 people in my IDC/IE and everyone passed – these instructors make sure you have the skills you need to succeed. They care, their hearts are in it, and we had a great time every step of the way. Mermaid’s offers truly first class dive instruction, but what’s more is that you automatically join a network of fun-loving, supportive and dynamic people from all walks of life to spend your duration with. You’d be a fool to become an instructor somewhere else. Get ready for the time of your life!

Linda Flemming – OWSI Intern

It’s funny I remember Jason always saying he wanted to go live in a small beach hut on an island and teach diving. I could never really see myself doing that I thought I would get so bored. But now here I am if I’m not on the boat looking at clear blue water from the beach to a dive site then I am sat outside the shop looking at the clear water from the shore. It reminds me so much of the Similans….. only I haven’t seen any Manta ray yet!!!!!! On my first dive here however I saw 4 white tips and an eagle ray so that was cool.
Anyway back to what I was saying I didn’t really know how to put in to words my experience in Thailand but now I have come here I realize how much my time there meant to me. It’s very strange to leave that whole environment and I do miss it. My boss here is fascinated by my whole experience there and the more I talk about I realize that it was an experience and I will never forget it or the people that i met. It has also helped me to get here. I would never of dreamed a year ago I would be sitting on the beach front every morning and diving every day and only a 30 min boat ride from Bali. I just can’t get over it.
Linda Flemming

Tom Davies – OWSI Intern

Sigh of relief number 1: The taxi drivers at the airport HAVE heard of Mermaids Sigh of relief number 2: Someone in the shop WAS expecting you when you get there, so it wasn’t all a big scam after all!
Mermaids really is everything that the website claims, I had an amazing four months there, racking up around 130 dives whilst going from O/W to DM. The level of training they give is superb, going out on the boats everyday, seeing how they are run, gradually progressing to running them yourself all gives you real experience of how dive operators work, which is invaluable experience if you are going to make a career of diving.
But its also an awesome social scene, there is always, ALWAYS someone (normally 30 people) to have a drink with after diving or to go out with in the evening. The food is fantastic, in my experience the cheaper the better, you will be eating off street carts in no time, the beer is cheap and cold and the Thaïs are all genuinely friendly.
If you are thinking of going, just go for it, i promise you will not regret it.”
Tom Davies – Divemaster Internship

Steve Harding – OWSI Intern

PJ’s website summed it all up for me, I’d gone from working on a bungee tower in the US to five years working in an uneventful office in the UK and felt that living for the weekends was losing its appeal. I’d always wanted to try scuba diving and so gave PJ a call, two weeks later I was in Pattaya.
The Mermaids Internship program grew exponentially during my 8 months from “zero to hero” and provided me not only with a level of training and instruction second to none in S.E Asia but many good friends to boot. The community feel encompassing Mermaids is probably the reason all my good buddies keep going back to Pattaya, either that or the gogo bars! During the four or so months of teaching at Mermaids after my IDC I knew I had found my calling. Now I have a passport to the world, job satisfaction and all for less than £4000 inc. Life’s too short and fortune favours the brave etc etc……………. Cheers to all the staff at Mermaids, I’ll see you again in April 2006. The drinks are on PJ! Steve.

Intern scuba diver instructor

working on koh tao after great training at Mermaids Dive Center

Hey Sheena – I just wanted to write and say thank you. So I’m in Koh Tao and found a great dive center to work at and have been working pretty much every day since I left you. So having been doing this a while now and I have started to appreciate what you do for trainee instructors a lot more. Especially for the intern divers going from zero to hero. For example I was asked to do a search and recovery work shop for the dmt’s, I thought that meant teaching them everything I know about s and r.

When I was told I could only teach them what was in the standards because if they want to learn more they have to pay to do the whole course I was a little annoyed, I thought they had already paid to become professionals and have all the knowledge a professional should have. Apparently I’m wrong, and this is where giving us all the specs for msd and more I think is a great thing you do. Another thing was it was evident was from the moment you got us your teaching was gearing us for our IE. And it is now clear you do want to send out instructors that you can be proud of. So now with a better understand of the trade and what I went through I would like to say thank you, and can you thank the instructors that put their time, effort, patience and understand in helping me. Russell, Desi, Andy, Andy, Phil, John and many more.

Thanks again


Dive Intern Training is conducted using the PADI certification system.

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