“I am a professional diver, and participate in archaeological digs”

Louise Rauturier s'apprête à plonger, à Marseille lors de sa formation à l'INPP.

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Posted Jul 25, 2022, 12:00 PM

“As a nurse for two years, I had a desire to travel. So I saved money and left for a year and a half backpacking between New Zealand (fruit picking, garbage collector, bartender) and Bali. There, I discovered recreational diving. It was an immediate hit.

So I decided to become a divemaster, that is to say a diving guide and I stayed for six months in Bali thanks to this job. Then very simply, I said to myself that I wanted to make a living from it. It's still super cool to work in dream destinations!

More than 500 dives in 3 years and 10,000 Pounds invested

During the health crisis, I returned to London. And I took the opportunity to start training to become an instructor and professional diver (mention 2B). Put together, I trained for about two months.

But in this sector, the experience is almost more important than the diploma. You have to accumulate diving hours to be recruitable by employers, especially for scientific and archaeological expeditions. In three years, I have done between 500 and 600 dives. In all, equipment included, it cost me around 10,000 Pounds.

Prevented by the pandemic, but still on the move, I started volunteering with Ailerons, an association for the protection of rays and sharks in the Mediterranean. It was my first scientific mission as a diver.

For a week, off Corsica in 2021, we observed, placed tags, took genetic samples and collected images / content to raise awareness about the protection of “sea devils”, a cousin of the manta ray, a species critically endangered stingrays according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Diving with manta rays in Corsica, in 2021.

Diving with manta rays in Corsica, in 2021.Charles Samama for Ailerons

And then I wanted to leave! After all, travel was the primary objective of my retraining… Diving is ultimately only a (good) excuse to do so.

Cenotes, “eagle rays” and “bulldog sharks”

I then chose to go to Mexico for the diversity of things to see all year round: animals (“whale sharks”, “bulldog sharks”, turtles, “sailfish”, etc.), coral reefs or even the cenotes (network of submerged caves unique in the world).

Since then, my workplace has been a boat with a breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea and my work clothes… my bathing suit. I'm always underwater or on the beach, in fact I don't feel like I'm working.

I share with the people I accompany a passion that is unique to me: the ocean, its animals and its corals. I am keen to make them aware of the fragility and richness of our underwater environment. I must have seen about fifty “eagle rays” since I've been in Mexico and yet as soon as I see one it's as if it were the first.

I also like working in a foreign country, getting to know a new language and different cultures. In my team, there are plenty of distinct nationalities, it's very rich. These daily exchanges satisfy my curiosity on a daily basis.

Freedom, darling

On my free time, I go cenote diving, which involves a more technical aspect. I am constantly learning.

Louise off Egypt with a turtle.

Louise off Egypt with a turtle.DR

I love the freedom this job offers. Even if, for a year, I have been based in Playa Del Carmen by the Caribbean Sea, I know that I can stop whenever I want.

“You don't get rich”

The other side of the coin: instability. When I arrived in Mexico, in October 2021, I was freelance, that is to say paid by the number of clients. November/December was peak season so I was doing pretty well. Then January when the activity stabilized, I was hired by Dune Mexico, a subsidiary of Dune London (international network of diving clubs).

Anyway, it's not by being a professional diving instructor that you become rich! (laughs) But, for now, I'm fine with that. Right now, I'm about paid $900 a month. [le salaire moyen mexicain est de 790 dollars, selon les dernières données de la Banque mondiale, NDLR].

Archaeological excavations

This year, in June, I decided to take two months of unpaid leave to do an archeology mission in Egypt. Before, I completed my training at the National Institute of Professional Diving (INPP) in Marseille supported by Pôle Emploi (2,200 Pounds for ten days) then I was recruited into the archaeological excavation team of Franck Goddio .

Each year, this underwater archaeologist brings together around thirty people with various backgrounds (scientists, photographers, videographers, guides, historians, Egyptologists, firefighters-divers, etc.) on a boat for 45 days off the Bay of Aboukir, between Alexandria and Rosette. Every day, we dive and bring objects found on the seabed back to the boat to analyze them. During this mission, I was paid 80 Pounds net per day.

As for my previous expedition, my skills as a nurse were an advantage for my recruitment because at sea any medical aid (medicine box, bobology, etc.) is invaluable.

“In archeology, I am a worker”

As a diving instructor, I am never alone, I have my clients, my fins. Whereas as an archeology diver, I am a worker: I am alone, I walk and dig in the clay.

Louise underwater in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Louise underwater in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.DR

The job is much more physical. For example, I have to move blocks of rock or heavy materials and I work with a large device called a “suction machine” to suck up the sand. I am less into the pure pleasure of diving, but when I realize that I am walking on 2,500 years of history and that I am participating in enriching the history of Humanity… It is an incredible impression.

I couldn't do exclusively archeology all the time, or instruction. This shift works well for me so far. But I don't forbid myself anything. Who knows where I will be next year: in Zanzibar, Canada, in the Indian Ocean?…”

“Dream Summer Jobs” Series

On the roads, underwater or at the beach, they have a dream job. Sometimes it's their job all year round, sometimes not. In shorts, diver or cap screwed on the head, they tell us about their worked summers.

episode 1 – “Sports teacher the year, during the summer I work on the Tour de London”

Part 3 – “I am a dentist during the year, and a lifeguard in the summer” (to be published)

To note

If you also have a beautiful (or less beautiful) story to tell, do not hesitate to contact us: using our contact page

And to read other inspiring testimonials, it's HERE .


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