A PADI Instructor in Indonesia: Satoka Kubo

Satoka in the swimming pool giving ok signal

In this series of blog posts, we introduce you to our PADI instructors. Satoka Kubo (29) has been working with us at Thalassa since 2017 as PADI instructor, dive guide and marketing manager.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a PADI Instructor and move to Indonesia to pursue a dream career? Satoka Kubo did just that. We asked her a few questions.

How did you start scuba diving?
During a fancy company trip in 2014 I tried Discover Scuba Diving in Hawaii. This entailed a shore dive from the beach without any preparation, instruction or anything. On top of that, the fish were being fed by our guide.

This wasn’t what diving was supposed to be, but being able to actually breathe underwater was an unforgettable experience. This is why I decided to get my PADI Open Water certification upon my return to Japan, specifically Okinawa.

Now this was much better: beautiful coral, a lot of fish and excellent visibility. Ever since this experience I caught the diving virus, and it would be only a matter of time before I earned my Rescue Diver certification not much later.

Catching the travel bug

So how did you end up in Indonesia?
Late in 2015 I wanted to travel abroad and initially I chose Bali. This turned out not to be my kind of holiday, so in my hotel I did some quick online research to diving in Indonesia. North Sulawesi stood out because of all the awesome underwater photos, so I booked a ticket, packed my stuff and left Bali for Manado.

Japanese PADI Instructor Satoka with one of her Open Water Students
Satoka (l) with one of her Open Water Students

You chose Thalassa Dive Resort Manado for this trip, can you tell us what attracted you to the place?
It looked like a very friendly place to me, and this “suspicion” was immediately confirmed upon my arrival: the staff are very sweet but also a little crazy, so I felt at home right away. The informal and relaxed attitude was just infectious, and the diving! Boy, the diving is really second to none.
When I finally had to return home, I couldn’t stop a few tears during our goodbyes!

Back in Japan I had barely unpacked my bags and I had already booked my next trip, so five months later returned to Thalassa, and this time, Simone (our Course Director) offered me a job. Which job exactly, I didn’t know yet, but things just kind of fell into place after that.

In February 2017 I started my “final” journey to North Sulawesi. I soon became Divemaster, and in April 2018 I became Thalassa’s newest Japanese PADI Instructor, which wasn’t easy being alone in Indonesia. But with Simone’s support I did it and I learned a lot about myself during that time.

A life before diving…

Looking back at your life before diving, any comments on that?
I used to be a very quiet office worker, and now I’m an instructor at some of the greatest diving areas in the world. To say the least my life has gone upside-down. My very Japanese parents quietly and tacitly approved of my not-very-Japanese lifestyle! (laughs)

What do you enjoy most about working here?
Teaching! I love seeing beginners making their first Open Water dive, and if they are a little bit concerned about their first dive I’m always there to help out. It’s fun to see how students change from uncomfortable beginners to divers who really enjoy everything.

Do you have any advice for those who visit Thalassa for the first time?
Just this: we don’t have malaria here, but the friendliness is extremely contagious!

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Picture of Arjen Bokhoven

Arjen Bokhoven

I'm a PADI Advanced Open Water diver, I do guest relations and resort management at Thalassa Dive Resorts Indonesia. Whether I'm diving the walls of Bunaken to spot schools of fish & turtles, or explore the sandy flats of Lembeh with its fascinating underwater creatures- I love all of it.

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