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Welcome to the first of a series of interviews we will be posting with friends who became divers, divers who became friends… in the end, amazing characters who became part of this big family which is Bezz Diving.

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Today we are going to introduce you to Juan Fran Barrero who some of you had the pleasure of meeting when you were diving in Malta with us in 2018. He is an amazing character we are very proud to have as part of our family!!

This story started in 2018 when Diego, our Diving Manager, told us that he had a friend who wished to do his Divemaster with us at Bezz Diving in Malta. Little did we know then that we were going to meet a person with lots of motivation, charm, vision and drive to succeed; a true professional. His Divemaster internship with us at Bezz Diving was a complete success and Juan Fran didn’t stop there. He then became a PADI Instructor and went on to fulfil his dream of running his own dive centre in Koh Lanta, Thailand: Hidden Depths Dive Centre.

 

Welcome Juan Fran. Let us ask you a few questions for our divers to get to know you a bit more:

 

We all have very fond memories of you but do you have a particular special day/dive/adventure that we shared together?

 

Well, it’s difficult to pick only one of the thousands of good experiences that we had together. Let me pick two:

 

The day that we made a staff trip to diving Gozo and we all shared an amazing dive at the Blue Hole, the connection between all of us that day was incredible.

Another one was my last dive in Malta, just before I left, I had a “goodbye-dive” in Cirkewwa, with Tessi and Lalo, almost at sunset. No cars, no divers, nothing else but us and the sea. I will remember that dive for my entire life mates!

 

When we met for the first time, it was clear to me that you would succeed with your dreams. Can you tell us how this dream of having your own dive center in Thailand originated?

 

It all started in Madrid, after a summer trip to Thailand and Indonesia. Like many of us, when I went back to the ugly reality of my boring job in an office, I realized that I didn’t want to spend my life sitting facing a computer just to pay my bills. Then I started to make marketing studies of what I could do in Asia to have a quality and meaningful life, and after much research (I was a diver already, I found out that diving fit my plans very well.

 

Now that you know all the logistics involved in running a dive center, what is your favorite role in all this? If you say diving, please specify if it is teaching, guiding, etc.

 

Of course I’m gonna say “diving”, nobody establishes a dive center to be sitting at the front desk, right? Jokes apart, I like the role of instructor, love to teach people, connect with them, and share this incredible life-experience of breathing underwater, surrounded by stunning creatures.

 

If diving wasn’t your career, what would you be doing?

 

Probably something related to my “old life”, I enjoyed the role of  Design Teacher so much. Something like that.

 

What advice would you give to someone else who was thinking about opening a dive center in Thailand?

 

You are crazy, but do it!! Just spend a lot of time finding the perfect place, when you think you’ve found it, spend time there, making friends and connections, collecting info about the situation of the area, numbers of hotels, customers per year, high and low season times… and be patient, all will come at the right time.

 

What has been the most surprising thing you have learned on this journey?

 

I have learned that with hard work and constancy, any of your dreams can be possible if you surround yourself with the right people. Learn from the bests, keep away from all the bads, and focus on the real-life goals.

 

We are really impressed with the strong environmental ethics of your dive center. What are some of your innovations that other dive centers or divers could copy?

 

In general, the dive industry cares a lot about the environment, without a healthy ecosystem, we have no job. But, indeed, you can always do more and that’s what we try to do in Hidden Depths. As an example, we have no aircon in the shop, a system of fans is more than enough to keep the air flowing and the shop fresh. Also, to avoid plastic, we use reusable bottles and cups in the dive center and the speedboat. By this system, we save between 8.000 and 10.000 single-use plastic bottles per year. It’s a bit more work for all of us, but looking at the numbers, it’s worth it.

 

What is your favorite dive you offer and what life can we expect when diving in Thailand with you?

 

My favorite dive spot of this season is Koh Ha Yai, if you are lucky enough, in just one dive you can visit some caves, find amazing soft corals in pastel, spot turtles, sea snakes, tons of nudibranchs, moray eels, triggerfish and the kings of this area, the whale sharks.

 

We wish Juan Fran best of luck with his adventure in Koh Lanta. We are very proud that he received part of his training from Bezz Diving and we highly recommend you all to dive with him if you plan to visit Thailand after this pandemic. Keep smiling buddy, it is very evident that diving is a passion for you too and you are all warned: this passion is contagious.

 

Hidden Depths Diving website

Hidden Depths Diving Facebook page

Hidden Depths Diving Instagram