“When I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” said Shona, a past student of Dive Zone. “So I told my parents I was moving to the beach for a year, and off I went to Whitianga.”

It was there that Shona discovered Dive Zone Whitianga and decided their Wilderness Adventure Tourism Diploma (now the Diploma in Professional Scuba Instruction) was the perfect fit.

Reflecting back, Shona describes it as the best year of her life.

“I really loved it and would recommend it to anyone wondering ‘where to from here?’”

After her course, Shona stayed on at Dive Zone Whitianga where she gained her PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and taught dive courses before eventually leaving to travel around Indonesia and Australia.

In Australia she came across an advertisement looking for divers to go out with tour groups – and so began her adventure with Mike Ball Diving Expeditions.  She spent two years going out on live-aboard dive expeditions aboard the Spoillsport – a 30m catamaran custom-built to provide superb dive and guest facilities.

“We lived on the boat for three weeks out of the month doing expeditions to the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef and the Torres Strait. I couldn’t believe I was doing what I love, and getting paid for it!”

Things got a little more intense when she had to star in a promotional video that saw her opening the feeder boxes to attract tiger sharks, so divers could get up close with them.

Shona went on to upskill and train as a skipper before heading to Vava’u, Tonga, where she has worked for Tongan Dive Expeditions for two seasons, with trips back and forth to Australia and New Zealand.

Since leaving Dive Zone Whitianga, Shona has 2000 dives under her belt – and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“At the moment, a group of us are planning our ‘Ultimate Dive Adventure’ – we would love to drive from London to Cape Town and dive all along the East African coastline and document it as we go. But right now, I’m just taking each glorious day as it comes as we head back to Tonga for a third Humpback season.”

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