- At just 15-years-old, Emily Orchard has become the first PADI Junior Divemaster to be certified in Bermuda, following in the footsteps of Holly Wakely who pioneered the programme abroad in 2020. The course, which was first piloted in Belize, is now offered locally by Dive Bermuda to any 15-17 year olds looking to advance their diving certification.
- BM: Tell us how you got started in diving? How old were you?
EO: I first started diving back in October of 2020. I participated in Waterstart for a week, I did not know what I was getting into and had never dived before. I was around 13 years old at the time. I didn’t dive again until that summer when I went back to Waterstart. Since then, I started diving with Dive Bermuda and they have helped me to accomplish my goal of becoming a junior divemaster.
BM: And since then, how many dives have you completed?
EO: I am currently approaching around 100 dives, but plan to keep diving and adding to that total.
BM: How does it feel to claim the title of Bermuda’s first PADI Junior Divemaster?
EO: When I started diving, I never imagined I would get this far. After getting my first certification I knew I wanted to keep diving, and that grew into wanting to go as far as I could in diving. It feels good to have this title because it shows me that I went as far as I could. I want to continue to dive and hopefully when I turn 18, I can continue to go further into the ranks of diving.
BM: Bermuda has an awesome community of female divers, is there anyone that you look up to in this industry?
EO: I personally don’t have a specific role model in diving. Instead, my role models are all of the instructors at Dive Bermuda. I really look up to them all and they have definitely encouraged me to go further into diving. I would never have come this far if it wasn’t for all of them and they really inspire me to continue my journey into diving.
- BM: Which local dive site is your favourite?
EO: My favourite wreck is the Corinthian, I think it is a really cool experience to be able to dive inside of a ship that has been scuttled. This specific wreck is still fully intact and being able to swim through the different floors of the ship is such a different experience than you normally get diving on other wrecks.
- BM: Has recreational diving allowed you to explore marine environments in different countries? Or is there a country that is on your bucket list to dive?
EO: Currently I have not traveled for diving, but I hope I get the opportunity to travel around the world diving in as many places as possible at some point.
- BM: What do you love most about being a diver?
EO: I love the dive community; everyone you meet is wonderful and they are all so full of energy and willing to dive. I also love being able to witness and be in the underwater environment, it’s always an incredible experience and I personally find diving very calming.
- BM: What are your dreams and aspirations for the future?
EO: I would love to continue diving, and hopefully when I turn 18, I will be able to continue to get certified and enter the professional ranks of diving. I would also love to travel around the world to dive.
- BM: What advice would you give to other young divers hoping to achieve a certification of this level?
EO: I would tell young divers that they should just keep going and enjoy the opportunities they get in diving. Even if it’s a challenge to do the courses, it’s fun and a really rewarding accomplishment.