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All you need to know to live the Divemaster life in Gili Air

Posted on 15/01/2019

Which agency should I go with? PADI or SSI?

To start off with, neither is better or safer than the other. SSI and PADI both follow guidelines set forth by the WRSTC (or World Recreational Scuba Training Council), which means that both are equally capable of training and certifying new divers. As they both share the same scientific foundations, the quality offered by the two are basically the same. Having said this, there are small differences in the techniques both use to train new divers. The choice becomes a bit more complex when going pro.

Here on Gili Air, the cost of the course is going to be the same, irrespective of it being PADI or SSI. However SSI are more tech savvyas they have made online materials much more accessible and cheaper for their students than PADI. Also, the actual certification card or diving card, is cheaper with SSI than with PADI.

Still confused?

Worry not, we have discussed the PADI vs SSI dilemma in detail over here.

What are the minimum requirements to start the Divemaster course at Manta Dive Gili Air?

To start off, you need to hold an Advanced Adventurer certification and have successfully completed the SSI React Right and the EFR First Aid course.

In addition, you need to have a minimum of 40 dives to start your training as a Divemaster with us at Manta Dive Gili Air. 

Divemaster life

What is included in the Divemaster package?

Once enrolled as a divemaster trainee at Manta Dive Gili Air, you will be eligible for practically unlimited dives until the end of the course.

Apart from this you will also be doing five different specialty courses which will make you a better diver in general. These are SSI Deep specialty course, SSI Enriched Air Nitrox course, SSI Navigation specialty course, SSI Night and Limited Visibility specialty course, and the Science of Diving specialty. The Science of Diving specialty gives you an in-depth understanding behind the physical and physiological aspects of scuba diving.

What will be expected from me?

The Divemaster course is your first stop in becoming a dive professional and a stepping stone to becoming a dive instructor. You will learn diving skills and also assist on 3-4 Open Water Courses and 1-2 SSI Advanced Adventurer courses, with different dive instructors. This will give you exposure to the different teaching styles of instructors.

You, being a student yourself (but a more experienced one), will essentially be the go-to person, who is more approachable to the students. You’ll have the sole purpose of making sure that the students have a good learning experience.

With every course you assist, your skill set will keep getting better. This also includes the ability to conduct pre-and post-dive briefings, and then leading the dives, under the watchful eyes of the dive instructor.

Towards the end of your course, you will be required to conduct pre-dive and post-dive briefings, lead one night dive, one deep dive, and one map guide lead.

Divemaster life 1

Where can I stay in Gili Air?

As you’ll be responsible for your own food and accommodation for the duration of your Divemaster course with Manta Dive, Gili Air has a wide range of accommodation options suitable for all sorts of budgets. Most instructors and divemasters live in homestays which offer rooms with a range of amenities. The price depends entirely upon what you need - AC or fan, hot water, and Wi-Fi are the most common factors in determining the price. You can also rent an entire bungalow if you prefer to have your own space. Prices start from 2.000.000 IDR, with most options being around 4.000.000 IDR.

What we recommend is that you book a homestay viabooking.com for a few nights. Then once you are in Gili Air, you can have a walk along the interior of the island, and inquire about staying long term. You might also find the Facebook group  The Gili Air Pinboard to be quite useful.

What to expect in Gili Air?


Let’s be honest, you won’t find the fastest Wi-Fi around here on Gili Air, however, you may find fairly decent Wi-Fi at most cafes. 

The easiest way to ensure you (almost) always have an internet connection is to buy a local SIM card (we recommend Telkomsel), which can be bought on the island and works with a prepaid system. If you have the mobile app, all you need to do is get a top-up done and then purchase your desired data plan via the app. You can get 27 GB of data valid for 30 days for just IDR 100.000, 37 GB for IDR 126.000, or 50GB for around IDR 150.000.

Owing to the frequent power cuts, the internet can get pretty patchy at times, which might impact your Netflix viewing as well. So, make sure to have your hard disk full of your favourite movies and shows.


While local street food is always a favourite with our divemaster trainees, there is a decent variety of restaurants here - for an island in Indonesia. Meal prices range from 20.000 IDR - 200.000 IDR and eating out is often less expensive than actually cooking for yourself. Vegetarian and vegan options are available in most restaurants.

Divemaster life 3

Getting Around

None of the Gili islands have any motorised vehicles and the only thing resembling cars are horse carts (known as “cidomos”). Instead of motorbikes, most people living here have bicycles to get from one place to another. While you can rent bikes, we would highly suggest buying one if you’re here any longer than a couple of weeks. You can usually sell the bike at the end of your stay for almost the same price you got it for. There is always someone selling their bike and the best way to find one (aside from asking people on the island) is a Facebook group called The Gili Air Pinboard. Join the group to find out about accommodation offers, bikes for sale, and other things happening around the island.

What is the local language?

The local language that is spoken on Gili Air is Bahasa. Here are some of the common phrases:

Hello / How are you?            Apa kabar?

Good morning                      Selamat pagi

Good afternoon                    Selamat siang

Good evening                       Selamat malam

Thank you                            Terima kasih

Goodbye                              Sampai jumpa

What sort of visa do I need?

The best type of visa for anyone who is looking to stay in Indonesia for more than 2 months (and doesn’t want to do frequent visa runs) is the B211 Social Cultural Visa.

The B 211 Social Cultural Visa is a single-entry visa giving you a maximum of 60 days stay in Indonesia, like a normal tourist visa that you get from the embassy. However, with the B211 Social Cultural Visa, you can apply for up to four extensions, every 30 days, from the Immigration Authorities, giving you a total stay in Indonesia for six months, making it the best suited visa enabling you to live the Divemaster life on the paradisiacal island of Gili Air.

To know more about the process and requirements, check this out -  we have answered most of the frequently asked questions related to the B 211 Social Cultural Visa.

What gear should I have?

Ideally you should have your own wetsuit, mask, a dive computer and a SMB (safety marker buoy). Don’t worry if you don’t have these, as you can always get yours from the Manta Dive office.

What can I do on Gili Air?

From relaxing on the beach to eating your heart out, there's something for everyone to do on Gili Air. You can island hop to the other Gilis and Lombok, scuba dive in the pristine waters around the Gilis, or just work on your tan. There’s something for everyone to do on Gili Air. 

For a more comprehensive list of things to do in Gili Air, check this out.

Divemaster life 2


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