This is no typical 9 to 5 – you spend hours underwater; cleaning tanks and siphoning fish waste.
And scrubbing is just the easy part.
For the divers in Marine Life Park (MLP) also have to carry hefty oxygen tanks and helmets in preparation for the various immersive tours. To them, however, this is not a job. They are just happy to be here.
Indeed, passion is a vital prerequisite for any MLP divers and Lirene Bay has it in spades.
The 26-year-old is a rarity in the business: she is one of five female divers in the Park and she also is a dive master, who guides greenhorns in MLP.
We talk to this affable diver and find out what makes her job awesome.
When and why did you pick up diving?
It all started after my snorkeling experience at the Great Barrier Reef. That experience made me want to go deeper and I thought I’d go for a diving course. I started diving since I was 18 and I got my dive master license in 2011.
Can you tell us the role of a dive master?
We guide new divers through the daily maintenance routine like siphoning dirt and teach them the dos and don’ts while in the water. I am also part of the team who will take guests out on the various immersive programmes like the Open Ocean dive and Sea Trek.
And what makes a good dive master?
A dive master needs to be able to communicate with anybody and everybody. I think no one wants a dive master who doesn’t talk much to you.
What’s the most challenging aspect of the job?
You must be physically very fit. We must carry Sea Trek helmets weighing 32kg daily. Some of my colleagues join gyms but not me. I get my free workout here. (laughs)
Wow, you must be very fit. As one of the few female divers, how do you cope?
I always tell myself this: I cannot do any lesser than the guys. We are drawing the same pay, so it is unfair that I carry less because I’m a girl. I try to carry as much as I can. I’ve got a little bit of biceps now (flexes her arm).
What are some of the advantages you have over the guys?
It helps when I work with conservative female guests who would like to be guided by women. I’ll take the softer approach too. I always try to start a conversation and talk about girly stuff like whether they can keep their make up on for the Sea Trek programme.
It’s a tough but rewarding job. What keeps you going?
It helps that I am passionate about the marine environment. I like diving with all the marine animals like the manta rays and leopard sharks, creatures that I won’t get to see in this region. Even regular divers don’t always see bowmouth sharks. Plus, I enjoy the company of my colleagues. We go for jogs around the Resort every week and a barbeque session every month.
What’s the best part of the job?
The best part of the job is seeing the guests behind the panel. They always make us feel like superstars, waving at us and asking us to take photos with them (laughs).
Watch the following video to find out more about Lirene’s job. Want to be like her? Join the team here.