GOVANNI VIDALIS, 22, originally from Trinidad, found a love for deep diving in Tobago waters. This love encouraged him to move from St Madeleine, Princes Town, to French Fort Scarborough and within a month he found a job as a scuba diver employed at Frontier Divers in Store Bay.
Vidalis said he was never excited to learn how to swim but because of his severe asthma condition he was placed in a swimming club to assist his breathing.
“I hated it, I thought it was a bad choice my parents made but then I started to like it. This is when I was sent into competition at the Goodwood Games in Guyana. Even though I started to like swimming I hated competition.”
He said after leaving secondary school he began to research careers that involve swimming. He began teaching swimming at a number of swimming clubs and programmes and would sometimes be hired to act as a lifeguard at private pool parties for children.
As he continued his search for a stable career, Vidalis said he realised there are many opportunities in commercial diving in Trinidad such as Coast Guard, Marine Biology and Underwater Welding. He said, “I did a basic course in diving but it’s like we do the theory in Trinidad and we were asked to go to Tobago to do the practical because you cannot dive in Trinidad’; the water is too contaminated. At 30 feet dive you cannot even see your hand. But in Tobago from 120 feet down you can look up and see the sky. I fell in love with the island because it is the best place to help me develop as a young diver.”
He said a visit to Store Bay to relax last November was when an opportunity came his way. He said within one month he moved to Tobago to work. “I passed by the Frontier Divers dive shop. I walked in and had an in-depth discussion with the store owner Alvin Douglas. I made a joke asking if he was looking for workers and even though he wasn’t looking for workers he employed me because of my knowledge and personality. He said even though I was not an expert diver he was happy to train me.”
Vidalis said he dives at least 14 times a week and has gained a lot of experience in the short time. “The more you experience the less you won’t panic and be able to handle situations underwater better,” he said.
He described diving as moving into another universe and encourages young people to try scuba diving as a recreation. “We pretty much can access everything that is on land, astronauts even travelled to the moon and found nothing but it will take a lifetime to completely explore just part of the sea and discover its rare inhabitants.”