Dive Instructor in: Lifuka Island, Tonga

This is a Life&Dive ProDiver interview. These interviews are given to dive instructors from all around the world to provide you with an idea of their lives, job situations and opinions about the diving industry.
The interviews do not intend to insult employers or damage the reputation of their dive centres. They merely try to provide an honest picture about the working conditions in diving destinations all around the world in order to provide young and aspiring professionals with a helpful overview.

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Name:
Iker Txarterina
Age:
31
Nationality:
Basque
Languages:
Basque, Spanish, English
Number of Dives:
+600
Where:
Kingdom of Tonga/Ha’apai Group/Lifuka island
Contract:
Whale season/6months/June-November
Position:
Instructor/Whalewatching guide
Salary Range / US$: 500-1000 (1200T$)
Board / Accommodation?:
Meals & accommodation included
Duty and free:
6 days/10h. No paid holidays

Type of operation:
Dive centre
Size of operation:
Small
Location of operation:
in a resort
Job characteristics and/or special duties:
help in any need the resort has. Gardening, repairs (after the cyclone in January we had to rebuild the roof of the main building), cleaning and painting the boat at the beginning of the season, bike maintenance…
Main courses trained:
courses & guiding
Mode of Operation:
boat dives
Average # dives per day:
2

Medical care situation:
poor
Visa Runs:
employment visa
Administrative duties:
employment visa+medical check (better if you do it in advance in your country)
Lifestyle:
one of the fales (houses) in the resort is for staff. It is a small island (7km long). From the resort, 10min walk to town where you can find few shops, a bar and two tongan restaurants.

life&dive3
life&dive2

Your opinion:

Diving in Tonga is nothing special, but you have the big plus of listening the humpback whales singing in almost every dive during august and september. Swimming with the whales is something anyone should do at least once.

Not too many people comes that far or stays long enough to do a course, so guiding is the main job.

The job is not very well paid for very long hours. Not much local staff. Only one working with me. So you have to do everything (filling tanks, loading the car, move the boat from the mooring to the warf, rinse the gear, drive the boat…).

Locals are very friendly, always with a smile in their faces.

There is not much to do in the island and everything is closed on Sundays. It is not a good place if you want partys all the time. But it is the perfect for relaxing and enjoying simple life. And usualy there are constant east winds appropiate for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

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