Over the last ten years, some of you may have met, dived with, or even been a student of Gusde – our amazing PADI Master Instructor! What you may not know is that Gusde started as a room boy at Crystal Divers and couldn’t swim when he joined our team. Read on to find out more about how Gusde went from hotel staff to being top of our dive team…
Gusde’s full name is Ida Bagus Gede Kesuma Wedana, but Gusde is a bit easier to handle!! Gusde grew up in the small village of Payangan near Ubud, and after high school, he moved to Sanur to take a gap year. After six months of enjoying life by the sea, Gusde wanted to start work, and his father’s boss happened to know Minni Vangsgaard, (the owner of Crystal Divers). Before long Gusde became a room boy at Hotel Santai – the accommodation at our old base on Jalan Tamblingan in Sanur.
“I was fortunate to get the job because I had no work experience and I didn’t have my school certificate yet, and I didn’t have any English at all – and I knew nothing about diving, and I couldn’t even swim!”
Gusde was intrigued by the divers in the swimming pool, “It was the first time I had seen anything like that – we don’t have scuba diving in Ubud”.
Gusde’s interest paid off, and after a year of working in housekeeping, he changed roles and became an equipment boy. His new role included washing equipment, learning to fill tanks and making some minor repairs to gear. He began to understand more about the equipment, and how it was put together and eventually when there was a regulator on a tank, (and when no one was looking), he took his first breaths with scuba!
Gusde started to practice speaking English with guests, and he became more curious about diving. Eventually, he managed to sneak into the pool with a regulator and tank and tried breathing in the water, “I didn’t like it so much – I didn’t have a mask, and the water went in my nose!”
Gusde soon realized there was a reason for dive training and he asked one of the Instructors how he could learn properly. He was told he needed to do three things; swim, float and speak English. Gusde was more determined than ever, and in the evenings when no one was around, he would get in the pool and try to practice swimming and floating. When he was sure he was alone, he still couldn’t resist trying breathing again with scuba.
Alone one-night Gusde remembers, “ I was breathing from a tank and regulator with no mask, I could walk in the shallow end, and I started walking deeper to see if I could swim, so that was the first skill I taught myself, ‘no mask walking’! When I walked to the deep though I had pain in my ears, I didn’t know about equalizing, and I just knew I wanted to dive… So I just kept trying to swim, trying to float and trying to learn more English. I was around diving and divers all day, every day – diving felt so close to me and yet it was so far away and out of reach. One of the last times I tried in the pool, I was sitting on the bottom with a BCD, tank and regulator when I felt someone knocking on the top of my head. I stood up, and it was one of the instructors. I knew I was going to be in a lot of trouble!”
After a lecture and some telling off from the instructor, Gusde was told that Minni wanted to see him at her desk. Gusde recalls that he was sure he would be a lot of trouble and probably fired.
“Minni did tell me off, but she didn’t fire me; instead, she told me that if I wanted to learn how to dive, Crystal would teach me properly. I was amazed! Soon after that, I started joining PADI Open Water Courses when I wasn’t busy. I could speak some English by then, but the theory was tough, I watched the video a lot because it was easier to understand than the book. Back then, the student materials weren’t available in Indonesian like they are now.
I loved diving, even more, when I made my first dive in Sanur. At first, I was afraid, the ocean seemed so big, and it felt like I was flying in the middle of nowhere. Everything was crazy and different; the sounds, the feeling, everything. I was still giving thumbs up instead of an okay sign, and I was scared when we saw a sea snake, but I loved it anyway.
I finally got my Open Water certification at the beginning of 2013, and I dived in Tulamben and Padang Bai on my course, and it was incredible. I didn’t want to stop, and by the end of 2013, I finished working in equipment and began training to be a PADI Divemaster, I was so proud! I started learning the dive sites around Bali, and there were some exciting moments. The first time I went to Nusa Penida I was so seasick and the first time I saw a manta ray I was afraid – I had no idea how big they were!
After becoming a Divemaster, I was guiding for around a year, and then I started to work on my Instructor Development Course, and I became a PADI Instructor in 2015. My Dad thinks it’s crazy that I am a scuba diver – my family are not water people at all!
I’m now a PADI Master Instructor who is unbelievable when I think about where I have come from. I love diving. There is always something new to see and experience. Just a few months ago, I was staffing an IDC, and I saw a whale shark for the first time. Scuba diving and Crystal Divers have given me so many opportunities, and I have also been to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore three times for the ADEX dive show. I’d never been overseas before, and it was the first time I saw a skyscraper, and it was even my first time on a train – it was so fast! Many people travel every day, but it’s not common for Balinese people, so I’m grateful for the way that scuba diving, Crystal Divers and Minni have changed my life. The impossible has become possible!
Now at Crystal Divers, I teach all levels of course and meet people from around the world. Every session is different depending on the course, the students and the conditions. I love teaching speciality courses, especially Deep, Wreck and Sidemount, but there is always something memorable about every course.
Diving never gets boring, and I still want to see things and do things. I’d love to see an orca, and I want to try cold water diving, ice diving and cave diving. I also want to become a PADI Course Director here in Bali – that will be my next step”.
Gusde is inspirational to all of us at Crystal Divers and a reminder that through hard work, perseverance and determination, anything is possible. Gusde is always smiling, always helpful, and fantastic diver and an incredible instructor!
If you’d like to meet Gusde and take your next level of PADI Course in Bali, come and join us! For more information or to make a reservation, fill in our online contact form or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to meeting you and diving in Bali with you soon!