Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Diving: Diving into the deep end

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: A woman stands at the edge of one of the enormous limestone cliffs of Etretat, the salty Dutch air whipping her blond hair across her face. She’s been in the banking industry for 10 years – and it’s come to this: make a down payment on a house back in the UK and pay the mortgage for years to come, or roll up her financial nest-egg and take the plunge.

Stephanie Holland jumped – splashing into Phuket as a new dive instructor, a new solo business owner and a single woman in the dodgy red-taped, under-the-table business world of Thailand.

“I saw a little dive shop up for sale for about the same deposit as my supposed deposit for a house and I went hmmm… I could go be sensible, or go be rather stupid,” Stephanie of Ocean Geo Diving and Tours admits, after having successfully weathered her second low season in Phuket.

“I had rose tinted spectacles on when I went out to do this… I just saw potential, my feet were not as firm on the ground as they should have been. I love the coffee shop though,” she says.

Right, Stephanie landed in Phuket, got the keys to a struggling dive shop, and decided to open a cafe on the side.

“The premise: you have a dive center and a class room, and you have somewhere to come chill out with a great deck at the front. I could just see it being a nice comfy area, and the two businesses would just bounce off of each other.”

Despite the optimism, giving up an established career in the banking industry, giving up a well grounded, happy life in Amsterdam and trading it all in for a dream flung far to the east was not a snap decision.

“Did I want to turn my hobby and my passion, something I do maybe twice a year, but on fantastic levels – the best diving you can get – into an every day job, and potentially hate it?

Did I want to move to an Asian country as a single woman trying to run a business solo?” she asked herself. “I certainly wanted the challenge.”

It was a debate – a six-month debate.

“I got access to the PADI Pro site when I became an instructor and I never really thought until then that the dream could become a reality,” she said.

However, the dream swept in like a flash flood. There was no handover phase, Stephanie, relying on good advice from those who cared, such as Rene Balot of Sea Fun Divers, scrambled to learn the ropes.

“I literally got the keys. I didn’t know who my phone provider was; I didn’t know how to pay the electricity; I didn’t know if I was going to get the internet cut off; I didn’t know which bills had been paid, I didn’t know where the insurance policy was – so every aspect you can think of was kind of a learning curve, which made the first three months a bit of a blur,” Stephanie recalls.

Such overwhelming odds seem to be even more heavily weighted for tragedy then the Greek would allow. But tenacity is now bearing fruit, she admits.

“The first year financially was pretty much break even, which for me, was ‘okay, I can do better, but that’s actually not too bad.”

This year, Stephanie’s bench mark is getting return customers. Both customers loyal to Ocean Geo Diving and Tours before she took over, new customers and previous colleagues from a lifetime ago.

With Phuket an international hub en route to Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney – the major business centers in Asia – those of the corporate world that Stephanie managed to escape are becoming regular customers.

“I’ve gone from earning a decent salary in the banking industry to spending about 200 baht on myself a day to eat and sleep and that’s about it. So that’s been a big shift mentally,” she said.

“However, I properly dropped myself in the deep end and swam.”

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism3 hours ago

Alcohol ban predicted to damage Thailand’s reopening, reputation

Crime5 hours ago

Woman who cut safety rope of workers offers feeble excuse

Video5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Dirty gloves probe, Bocelli & Lisa, ASEAN fallout | October 27

Sponsored13 hours ago

Top 5 dental clinics by Dental Corporations PLC in Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Police seize Covid-19 antiviral drugs allegedly stolen by hospital manager

Thailand5 hours ago

Student dies after receiving second Covid-19 vaccine shot

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Foreign Ministry denies blocking Poland’s donation of vaccines

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand6 hours ago

Travellers now exempt from quarantine advised to directly contact AQ hotels for refund

Crime6 hours ago

Legal proceedings expected this week for “Joe Ferrari” death in custody case

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 8,452 new cases; provincial totals

Bangkok7 hours ago

Police bust Bangkok pub serving alcohol, 61 arrested

Bangkok8 hours ago

Russell Crowe bids Bangkok goodbye after much-praised tweets

Thailand8 hours ago

Thai government forms panel to probe the export of used medical gloves

ASEAN8 hours ago

Myanmar no-show a focus as ASEAN summit gets underway

Drugs9 hours ago

Police arrest 3 vans in Korat with 1.82 tonnes of marijuana

Thailand9 hours ago

Sedatives and painkillers, Thai new year – 3 million USD on 2 people | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 47

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending