PADI divemaster course in Bunaken
Coming back from Bangka trip / picture Heini Härsilä


To do or not to do? This question was circulating on my mind when i started to considering about doing a PADI Divemaster course. I used to had a huge problem about taking my mask off underwater and I think my first words after arriving Bunaken were "when is the day of horrors I'm gonna have to do it...?" Well, I did it. Now taking mask off is one of my favourite skills to do. If you see me underwater without mask on, I'm propably just enjoying feeling fresh seawater wiping my face or I might be teaching. I fell in love with Bunaken island and diving in here and became first PADI divemaster and then PADI dive instructor. This is a brief story about how i started my professional diving career by doing Rescue & Divemaster courses with Living Colours Diving Resort.

I arrived in Bunaken on May 2014. Next day Ali, me and Amore, guy doing a rescue course with me, started working with rescue skills. Together with studying theory we had some fun rescue scenarios. One day after lunch I came back to the resort and found one unconcious person lying on floor, other one slightly panicking and bleeding and one acting angry with machete. "Ok. Stop, think and act." So I did and first I took this angry bird and locked him inside office. Then I checked unconsious nonbreathing person and gave him first aid, called help and dealt with the panicking dude. It was hilarious to watch Amore going through the same situation when he arrived from lunch. During few days we did rescue scenarios underwater, on surface, on land, on boat, on my dreams. It seemed like where ever I happened to be, there was a rescue situation going on. It was real fun course and after finishing Ali made rescue-pizzas for us. Yamiiii.

 PADI Divemaster course in Bunaken

Checking scuba gear with divers / Picture Heini Härsilä

Divemaster course started with a fundive. I was amazed about underwater walls we have in here and the variety of species, corals, colours, everything! "What a diving, I did choose my location spot on!" After fun we continued with different fun, assisting on PADI Advanced Open Water Course. Theme of the day was navigation. I think universe through a curl ball to me with this. I used to got lost a lot. On land I mean. It never bothered me, since by getting lost you always find something new. Now with the navigation part of advanced, I was reminded of how to use compass and landscape for navigating. Funny enough, on my instructor exam almost a year later, one of the skills I had to present and teach, was navigating. Girl who use to be lost a lot teaches now how not to get lost. Thank you universe!

"Ooooh my, I can take my mask off and I wanna do it all day long!" One morning Al gave me task: "Slave, go sit on mangroves and do not come back before you can take the mask off". Al is always joking and so was the case in this too, but I actually went into the mangroves, sat underwater, followed Al's instructions and practiced until my mask problem was solved! Repeat, repeat, repeat. That's how problems are easily turned into mastering skills. Man I was happy that day! One day we got to go to Bangka island to take part of Coral day 2014 which is all about protecting underwater environment ( and to protest against illegal mining. We actually went diving to area where they dump mining trash so they had to stop working since we were there underwater. After we landed to Bangka, ate local food, enjoyed shows kids had prepared and had a lookaround the island. Great day!

Diving in Bunaken Marine Park / Manado

During four weeks we polished our diving skills, did many scenarios, got to fun dive and guide, saw sharks, seahorses, cuttlefishes, octopuses, nudibranches, crabs, frogfishes, experienced currents going up and down, laughed lots and had many nice evenings sipping ice cold Bintang at our bar called Safety stop. Then it was the last day of course. Everybody knows that last day includes two stress tests, one underwater and one on land later on. The famous underwater stress test was about to start and I was nervous. "Shitshitshiiit, either I make it or I fake it..." I pushed myself. I had decided beforehand that if I find it hard, I'll just do it anyway and look cool while doing it. It was actually fun and easy. Me and Al changed our equipment underwater while sharing air from one regulator. Everything went smoothly and both of us looked silly after. Al had my small mask, I had Ali's wide-angle-tv-alike way too big mask. Al stuffed his poor legs into my small fins, I had his huge fins and even bigger BCD.

Thank god stress test does not include switching wetsuits. In the evening we had divemaster party and stress test number two for me and Elina, lovely girl who was doing DM same time with me. Stresstest number two included snorkel test and tasks to do while in chains, local palmwine, staff and customers partying with us. That's the proper way to celebrate after accomplishing DM certification!

PADI divemaster course at Bunaken Marine Park

 Finally done! Snorkel test / Picture Dee Dan.


I was planning to become a dive guide so Al let me guide a lot. And I loved it. Still do. One of the best things is to go muck diving and try to find as many critters you can to show to your group. Even better is muck diving at night. Frogfish, octopus, shrimps, stargazers... And the feeling when you surface from night dive and look at the black sky, see stars shining, milky way glowing and gentle wave is swinging you back and forth... As you may have noticed, I could go on ages describing how wonderful it is to dive, but lets get back to DM course. I was assisting a lot in courses. I learned how to fill tanks. I got to dive as much as I wanted and so I did. My logbook says I dove 69 dives during one month and got to assist on Discover Scuba Dives, Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses as well as Scuba Review dives. I reached confidence level underwater that I was not expecting and started to feel like fish.

GOPRO become PADI divemaster in Bunaken

Among best things about DM course was lifelong friendships with Ali, Heini, our diveguides and Elina my DM buddy. Thank you Living Colours' people for taking me with open arms, teaching me, being my friend and letting me pursue my dream.

See you underwater!


Want to be part of divers' happy family? Book your PADI Divemaster course with Living Colours NOW This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!



yoga classes at Living colour Diving Resort

Living Colours hosted our first Scuba-Yoga Retreat. For me it seemed an obviouse combination - yoga and diving. Breathing and living. Or so I thought.

Having not touched my toes for some time I had heard that yoga could help. Signing up for the yoga classes taught by Cynthia I thought they would be a lot of sitting around in different poses whilst hyperventilating. I was right. Only in the fact that Cynthia was gonna be the guru, everything else I thought I knew about yoga was wrong and I got my first taste at 05:30 for some sunrise meditation. That's right 05:30.

The morning meditation lasted around 15 minutes and the first one was guided. Its amazing to me how many thoughts I had to silence to clear my head and meditate, only to find that another thought had sneaked into my brain while pushing others out. But after a few minutes of guided meditation I was getting closer, my breathing slowed and I enjoyed the sunrise, remember it's 05:30.


Yoga and diving are great together

After the meditation we moved onto the “yoga that the photos look like”.  This again was priority on breathing and moving your body into different poses.  Hungry dog, crazy baby, cat pulling its legs, and many more that I forget the names.  After a while beads of sweat were forming and I realized my second misconception about yoga, it's bloody hard work. Also as soon as I moved my ample body into one pose I was ordered into another, and another, and another. Glansing around everyone else seemed to be grasping the poses with less persperation than myself, almost looking like a mirror image of the person next to them. Army flashbacks continued as our Sgt aka Guru ordered us into more poses  until thankfully moving slowly into the sitting position, you know the one with your legs crossed looking like a dreadlocked sweaty buddah. And with a slow and dramatically loud exhale it was over.

After the morning physical episode I approached the afternoon session with caution. The afternoon session was a yin yoga, or was it zen? Well names are not important what is important was the positions we got ourselves into were more of very long stretches, pulling joints and muscles  I haven't felt for years if not at all. Moving into positions and holding them for minutes (until Cynthia's iphone went “ping”), stiffeling a groan as my boddy moved out of them. This yoga style enabled my breathing to be easier to control and more time to get my position correct, with some assistance sometimes. Until after an hour of twisting grunting, pulling and breathing the final “ping” sounded and we moved into the sweaty buddah position.

The day before the yoga started I was thinking of ways to get out of it, after the first days yoga I was hooked! You couldn't drag me away from attending a session, even to the point when we took one 05:30 session away and replaced it with a longer afternoon session, I missed my morning meditation and sunrise. Being able to touch my toes was one thing, increased mobility and absence of back pain was amazing. Now booking my own holiday I have one thing in mind. YOGA.  


Pictures: Kari Minkkinen, Heini Härsilä

Yin yoga and diving and Living Colours Diving Resort



Ernie Brooks with Living Colours staff /Matti Ponkala

Year 2015 has been amazing. First of all, we've been very lucky with the weather, it's like rainy season never came! (Well lets not say anything yet.) Secondly, we've had some amazing guests here in the island and we also held our first ever scuba-yoga retreat with Cynthia Joanna from Ocean Sound Yoga.

In January Ernie Brooks came to Living Colours with his parner to celebrate his 80-year-old birthday. This legendary photographer has worked with Jacques Cousteau for 17 years and traveled all over the world with Calypso's legendary crew. Ernie has taught thousands of underwater photographers through his father's Brooks Institute and lived full life taking pictures of the things he loves. Very facinating and interesting person, still going strong and taking pictures of mangroves, clouds and corals. Read his interview!

In February Living Colours was filled with zen mode when inspirational yoga teacher Cynthia Joanne came to the island to lead our first scuba-yoga retreat. Eight full days of awesomeness, even beginner Al thought the week was very eye opening and helpful in many ways. Waking up in early morning to meditate at 5.30 watching sunrise was perfect start for the day. Thank you Cynthia for all your amazing classes and beautiful moments.

Comments about the scuba-yoga retreat:

“When two of my favourite hobbies – diving and yoga – are put together in this way, I absolutely had to come! Yoga and diving – perfect combination.” Eira

“Good balance between body and soul, both hard work and total relaxation, loved it!” Heidi

“I loved the sunrises and sound of the waves.” Marika

“I can finally touch my toes!” Ali

We really want to do this again! If you're interested of joining next time, send e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will send you info when we set the date and all! :) Namaste <3







Diving instructors at Living Colours
Pictures Maria Haipus 2015.

Hello all divers, snorkelers and nature lovers around the world! Living Colours Diving Resort and Bunaken National Marine Park has always many interesting things happening and interesting people visiting, and that's why I thought about creating a dive resort blog called Living Blog. Tadaa, here it is, not much content yet but there will be. Not just about the fish and marine life (like yesterday our dmt Andreas saw an mola-mola in divesite Siladen jetty) but also about things to see and do in North Sulawesi, interviews, staff introductions, PADI courses and what ever comes to our little minds.

Blog's writers:

Heini Härsilä
Diving instructor / Videographer / SOME specialist

Island's very own crazy cat woman loves good vegetarian food, great movies & tv series and filming/editing undewater videos. Heini's been working for Living Colours few years, mainly taking care of Finnish dive students and some office stuff when needed. You'll find her and her sun burned nose around at all times, morning 'till evening.

Heini's top 5 at the moment:

1. Scuba-yoga retreat, terrific combination
2. Baby reef sharks at Lekuan 2
3. New yoghurt maker
4. Kittens
5. Shortpouch pygmy pipehorse / töppöpuikkohevonen

Alistair “Al” Thursby
Diving instructor / Equipment maintenance / Oxygen redistribution specialist

Also known as the dreadlock baker of the island bakes amazing bread and pizza and occasionally sips one ice cold beer down at the safety stop beach bar. Al has been in the island for almost six years – probably longer than any other instructor ever. His laugh is catching but his bar videos are very bad. You'll find him either from the boat, compressor room, sauna or in his house with a playstation controller in his hand.

Ali's top 5 at the moment:

1. Living Colours' new barman Jandi
2. Annika's and Steven's baby girl
3. Bose noise reduction headphones
4. New bread knife from Singapore
5. Is there five already?

See you soon! 



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Contact Details

Living Colours Diving Resort 
PADI 5 Star Dive Resort S-36220
Pangalisang Beach, Bunaken
North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Tel: +62 812 430 6401 Mia | +62 81 2430 6063 Jaakko

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.