Abdallah is a qualified divemaster and has a deep love for the ocean. It all started back in 2006 when he started out as a boat captain at the Sea Breeze Marine Centre. During this time, he found himself mesmerized with diving as he watched the divers setting up and disappearing under the water. When they returned with fascinating stories of what they had seen in the ocean he decided this is what he wanted to do. Abdallah set his dream in motion and trained to become a qualified diver. With determination he gradually mastered the different levels of diving to become an exceptionally skilled and qualified divemaster.
In 2019 he joined the Selous Safari Company team on Fanjove Island as a divemaster and progressed to activities supervisor where he takes our guests out on snorkeling or diving adventures and dhow sailing safaris. With a keen interest in learning new skills he is involved in general camp administration on the island making him an invaluable part of our team. He is passionate about the ocean and has a great understanding of the biodiversity of the different ecosystems underwater.
When accompanying Abdallah on a dive or when snorkeling with him during your stay at Fanjove Island you will be guaranteed to learn all about the multitude of different coral species you will encounter here and leave with an invigorated sense of awe for the ocean.
To get to know Adballah better and to share his stories with you, we sat down with him to ask him a few questions.
- Tell us a bit more about how your love for diving started?
After I started diving, I realized the ocean was such a unique and interesting environment. It was almost like being in another world. It is very calm under water and there are amazing sea creatures. The more I experienced it the more I fell in love with diving.
- How long did it take you to become a qualified divemaster and what did this entail?
It took me about a year and a half to get my divemaster qualification as I was working whilst studying. My agreement with the company was they would sponsor my qualifications and I would work for them during this period to pay off my studies. As part of the agreement whenever I was needed to work I would stop studying and assist in diving excursions. I had to study hard to follow and understand my instructor’s directions but as my self confidence grew I enjoyed it even more.
Talking Swahili and coming from a small town, diving was very daunting for me at first. I had to learn all about the foreign equipment, gauges and computers. I was extremely scared that I would not be able to do it. To start off I worked on getting my DSD (Discover Scuba Dive) qualification. After that I did Open Water Training, moved on to an Advanced Diving course, completed an EFR (Emergency First Responder) and Rescue Diver course. Finally I moved on to achieving my Dive Master qualification.
- Tell us about the first time you went underwater on a dive. Was it at all what you imagined?
The first time I went diving I was terrified by rumours and stories told in my community that I was going to encounter fish people and monsters. Luckily once I was under the water, I was enjoying myself so much I completely forgot about the monsters and mermaids. I instantly fell in love with the ocean.
- What do you love most about diving and being in the ocean? Also tell us more about your favourite sea creature.
I love the sensation of the freedom of movement in the water. I feel like I am part of the ocean and the entire environment around me. My favourite sea creature is a Seahorse. They have such an interesting breeding behaviour where the male carries the babies and not the female. They are incredibly beautiful and there are such a huge variety of interesting species and colours.
- What do you think is special about Fanjove Island?
Fanjove has one of the most pristine reef systems in Tanzania that is actually still thriving and growing. I also enjoy seeing the interesting bird species on the island. There are migratory species which pass through this area every season. You never know what new species you might see. The beaches are amazing with the softest powdery sand and Fanjove is just an amazing piece of Africa that feels forgotten or like you have gone back in time travelled to an earlier time in history.
- Tell us a bit about your hometown and your family. When you are not working, what do you do for fun?
My home town is Singida. It's in the central region of Tanzania, population is about 1,3 million people and roughly 722 kilometres from Dar es Salaam and very far away from the ocean. It has a lovely lake called Lake Singida with flamingos and pelicans. I come from a family of seven and I have a wife and three children. When I am not working I normally spend time with them. I also enjoy repairing boats and playing football.
- Do you have any other passions besides diving?
I enjoy teaching children and my peers about conservation. sustainability and how important it is to look after our oceans for the future generations to come. Children are the link to the future and educating them about environmental sustainability ensures a better future for us all.
Watch Abdallah's video below where he tells us more about the Coconut Crab: