- Ibrahim Nazeer, 43, is a scuba divemaster at the Four Seasons Resort in the Maldives.
- He leads scuba dives for resort guests, some of whom charter a private catamaran for $19,000 a day.
- Here’s what his job is like, as told to writer Kaila Yu.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ibrahim Nazeer, a scuba divemaster from the Maldives, about his job. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Ever since my first scuba dive, I’ve loved being underwater. Luckily for me it’s one of my job requirements.
I didn’t grow up loving the ocean. I was born and raised on Bodu Huraa in the Maldives where kids are taught to fear the sea — it’s how parents keep us safe. My first scuba dive at 22 felt like entering a new, profoundly meditative world. I fell in love with the experience, and I wanted to share its magic with everyone.
That first dive was in 2001 when the Four Seasons offered the entire staff an opportunity to get their PADI Open Water certification. I’d been working for the resort in Kuda Huraa since construction began in 1993 when I was 16. The resort opened in 1996, and over the years I’ve worn many hats working in the landscaping department, construction, laundry and housekeeping, hospitality, and now scuba diving.
When the Four Seasons started a divemaster apprenticeship program, I was the first one to join. The resort had just purchased the Four Seasons Explorer, a luxury live-aboard diving catamaran, so my first job was identifying bucket-list dive sites for guests. It was a great adventure getting to explore my country underwater. Since then, I’ve been on over 10,000 dives.
I’ve dived with all kinds of guests, from celebrities to business execs to regular families
Hollywood stars and footballers from the English Premier League have followed me underwater. It’s not rare for one of our guests to charter the entire 11-cabin Four Seasons Explorer for their family and friends for complete privacy. A minimum three-night booking is required for a private charter and the price starts at $19,000 per day.
Some guests have extremely particular requests, like one guest who would only dive in crystal clear water with at least 30-meter visibility. To accommodate, I had to dive each site in advance to ensure that they met his specific requirements, which was very time-consuming because visibility can change quickly underwater, especially in the wet season.
Guests often tell us they want to swim with sharks
Here in Kuda Huraa, we have reef sharks that are safe to swim with, such as blacktip reef sharks, silvertip reef sharks, and whitetip reef sharks. Once, a tiger shark came right up to me — it’s considered one of the most dangerous shark species to humans and we rarely see them in the waters here. As an experienced diver, I remained calm and maintained eye contact with the shark, and we took a good long stare at each other. The tiger shark was merely curious and meant no harm.
I always tell guests that when encountering a shark underwater, it’s important to swim slowly and make sure not to flail around. My favorite dives are with sharks, there’s nothing like it, and although I have a healthy respect for them, I no longer fear them.
The best part of my job is sharing these bucket list experiences with my guests
Scuba diving is one of our resort’s most popular activities, and my favorite part of the job is working with first-time divers. They’re always nervous at first but seeing the happiness spread across their face afterward always reminds me of my first dive.
Over the years, I’ve also found secret diving spots that no one else knows about. Despite having been diving for 22 years, I love that it never gets old — there’s always more to discover underwater.