Take your PADI IDC in the Dutch Caribbean with Buddy Dive Academy and PADI Course Director Pepe Mastropaolo.
Course Director Pepe Mastropaolo started diving in 1985, has more than 10.000 logged dives all over the world, and is still diving almost every day. Pepe Mastropaolo is also Instructor Trainer for 7 specialties. He is also an Emergency First Response Instructor trainer, and reached over 1000 PADI certifications of all levels. Because of his experience Pepe can be considered one of the most knowledgeable and skilled Course Directors! Pepe has diving and teaching experience from Malaysia, Borneo, South China, Coco islands, Malpelo, to all over the Caribbean. With a lot of experience and the quality of instructors already trained, students can be confident of a high quality education and introduction to the dive industry. From the moment Pepe graduated as a PADI Course Director, 95% IDC students taught by Pepe have accomplished a first IE passing rate!
Pepe Mastropaolo his dedication to PADI’s structure of scuba diving education made him receiving the prestigious PADI award Hallmark of Excellence, Worldwide “Outstanding Commitment to the PADI System of Education 2010”.
- Staff of 25 including 3 assistant instructors
- 53 years old
- 4-6 IDCs per year
- over 10.000 logged dives
- 25 years diving experience
- 1000 + PADI certifications
- 7 + PADI Instructor Specialties
- 95% First time IE success rate
What is the philosophy of your company?
Our slogan tells it all. Eat, Sleep, (Buddy) Dive! For 30 years Buddy Dive resort has been catering to the dive market and has offered dive packages in Diver’s Paradise. Buddy Dive’s reputation in the diving industry is a proven fact. Buddy Dive resort and Buddy Dive Academy are known for its diving experience and excellence in customer service, professionalism, integrity and commitment to the environment. Aside from accommodating people for a dive vacation and recreational diving we felt it was time to expand our horizon and to offer professional dive courses as well. This resulted in the creation of the Buddy Dive Academy.
As Buddy Dive’s dive operation has been elected as one of the best dive operations in the world by Scuba Diving Magazine’s readers it’s needless to say we also would like to give our IDC students an outstanding diving and learning experience. Being a PADI instructor is indeed the first step in becoming a diving pro but will definitely not be the final step. Hands-on and teaching experience after you acquired your IDC/IE will decide if you will become a good instructor. During our IDC/IE we try to make our students aware of this; “Obtaining your driver license will not make you a good chauffeur right away” That’s why our goal & mission is to prepare and support our students to succeed in the dive industry.
Buddy Dive Academy is proud to be the only PADI Career Development Center (CDC) in the southern Caribbean. We worked hard for this, by consistently teaching PADI Instructor Development courses (IDC), graduating a large number of PADI Instructors with a 100% of passing rate and maintaining very high standards in all levels of scuba education. PADI is extremely selective in granting the status of CDC. We provide career-oriented training to prepare dive professional for employment in the dive industry, as CDC we offer job placement in Bonaire and surrounding islands in the Caribbean.
CD Jose “Pepe” Mastropaolo became a PADI instructor in 1992. From 1992 to 1994 he was dive operation manager for Octopus Diving Center (Margarita Island Venezuela). In 1994 Pepe moved to Bonaire to work with Sand Dollar Dive and photo as a manager assistant. In 2000 Pepe started working for Divi Dive Bonaire as a manager assistant and In 2006 he was hired by Buddy Dive Resort as a diving instructor, in 2008 he got the position of head instructor and in 2010 he became a PADI CD by attending the CDC in Malaysia. Currently Pepe is chasing his dream which is teaching at the Buddy Dive Academy.
In addition of being a Course director Pepe is also a TDI tech dive instructor and is in the process of obtaining his PADI Tech Dive Instructor trainer certification. Aside from the Tech Diving Pepe is also a DAN oxygen provider instructor and EFR instructor trainer.
Has anything funny happened during your IDC courses?
We once had two candidates falling in love with each other during the IDC. They started off as complete strangers to each other but are until today enjoying their diving careers as happy couple. Love is beautiful isn’t it.
What is the reason Divemasters and Assistant Instructors should take their IDC with you?
As we have all the facilities on premises and already have more than 30 years experience within the dive industry, it’s without doubt that our multilingual staff makes the difference. Our staff will make every PADI IDC a successful and enjoyable experience that candidates will never forget. Languages that are fluently spoken within our staff are: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, French, Italian and Papiamentu. As mentioned earlier we feel our students should gain enough experience to succeed in the Dive Industry after they obtained their IDC. At our facility we do have the number of divers each day to make sure people can gain experience quickly. For that simple reason we also offer internships within our normal Dive operations department. Because of our extensive network most of the times we are able to place our candidates in their new job in the diving industry so they can go to work right away. So in short Bonaire indeed is Diver Paradise!
Dive Center & Facilities
The sea is remarkably calm and the conditions are superb for scuba diving. The visibility on Bonaire is usually more than 100 feet (30 meters) and the water temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit (29c) mostly whole year round. The beautiful reef begins close to the shore, at most dive sites a short 30 foot (10 meter) swim or even less. This makes Bonaire world famous: its ease of shore diving! Our gorgeous house reef is only 15 feet away from our classroom which will put you right in the middle of all the action. For this reason Bonaire is called “Divers Paradise”!
All students have the opportunity to enjoy the freedom that our unlimited air and nitrox package offers. This makes it possible to do as many dives as possible each day, of course taking the important safety profiles in consideration.
There are more than enough 80 and 63 cubic foot air and nitrox tanks on hand at both our Drive Thru or on our dock which is outfitted with comfortable benches for gear set-up and two sturdy ladders that makes entering the water an easy job.
Rinse tanks are available at the Drive Thru as well as on the dock where also a large gear storage room is located. All these features makes diving at Buddy Dive effortless and pleasurable.
- 6 Custom build Dive boats
- 2 docks
- 2 swimming pools
- 2 classrooms
- Retail shop
- Digital Photo center
- Numerous rinse tanks
- Superb House reef
- 78 spacious apartments on premise
- The only drive thru in the world!
- 6 L&W compressors (2 NRC membrane system’s for Nitrox) + filling station for customized gasses
- Car rental facility on premise
- All infrastructure for Technical diving
- Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, French, Italian and Papiamentu
What are your personal diving obsessions?
Aside from preparing my students to become independent and experienced enough I have been working with Augusto Montbrun our dive operations on a project that is launched in Florida. Although we don’t have the permit yet to cut corals we are trying to restore coral formations. Aside from diving as a profession I feel we must also help nature. The coral reef restoration in Florida Keys that was created by Ken Nedimyer shows vision. We already have a pilot here at our house reef and the corals are growing very fast. Very exciting project and if you would like to know about the techniques please visit the following website: www.coralrestoration.org.
What type of diving do you like the best?
As the Buddy Dive Academy is so closely located to the house reef we do have the benefit of conducting most underwater sessions in the ocean. This makes it a unique experience and therefore I would say my best diving is on our reef while teaching my students.
What else do you like (non diving)?
Although I have little time these days, I love to motocross. Currently I’m racing a Honda CRF 450R on the track as much as I can.
Why do you love being a PADI Course Director?
I love to help people chase their dreams and to turn the impossible to reality…
What does the future hold for you?
Aside from being a course director I’m also very busy together with my IDC staff instructor Irene DaCunda to learn our youngest kids on Bonaire how to dive. Unfortunately we are still forced to hire staff from overseas as we see too many youngsters not finishing their schools.
We like to make a difference and are trying to give them a future in diving. Currently our dive operation has two guys that are working for our company for over 10 years and walked the same path. Is very fulfilling to see them functioning well and taking care of their own families now.
What do his IDC students think of Pepe?
“The PADI IDC I attended at Buddy Dive Academy was one of the most testing and rewarding experiences of anything I have done in my lifetime. I was able to leave the course knowing I was prepared with methods to teach within a week of graduation. It is very satisfying to see students grasp the concepts and learn to dive safely while having fun. I was very lucky that Buddy Dive had a vacancy in one of their satellites and I started to work right away. My new career as an instructor is both fun and has given me a sense of pride knowing I can use these same concepts in other parts of my life. Of course Pepe is still keeping his eyes on me!” Maarten Bot IDC December 2010
Click on the photo to the right to view a photo gallery from a recent IDC class