DiveZone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air

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Scuba Lessons in the Gilis. Diving Gili Air. Do you or your kids want to try? If so, then read on. We had a great experience with DiveZone on Gili Air. Our DiveZone review below.

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air Divezone underwater 5 ©Gerald-Nowak (07)

Divezone Review: Scuba Diving in Gili Air

Seventy-one percent. That’s how much of the earth is covered in water. If you’ve ever wanted to explore it, then taking scuba diving lessons in the Gili Islands is a great way. While visiting the Gilis, our kids got their first PADI Junior certification and had an amazing time diving in Gili Air.

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Both kids had their first dive in Lanzarote, one of Spain’s Canary Islands. Lanzarote is an amazing place for family adventure, and their first dive was a great experience, but strong winter currents cut their lessons short.

Now in Lombok, Indonesia, the kids wanted to go for it again and get certified. We researched many diving operators in Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan. In the end, we chose to go with Divezone on Gili Air.

DiveZone Review: Scuba Diving Gili Air with DiveZone

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 6

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 5

The basic PADI certification course at DiveZone (PADI Scuba Diver) stretched across two days. You have a lot to learn if you want to get open water diving certification, and these classes were the first step. So class was in session. There were hours of instructional videos to watch. There were exercises to learn and quizzes to take.

When we told the kids this, they hesitated: did they really want to dive in the gilis enough for a day of tests? Yet by the end of the lessons, they were asking us when they could go diving again.

And we only went diving in the northwestern gilis! DiveZone and their partner Two Fish Divers also do diving trips in the wilder, less-developed southern gilis. And from what I hear, you’ll find even more underwater wildlife there.

Great Diving Instructors at DiveZone

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Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 4

Their instructor at DiveZone was Frauke “Kay” Hitschler. A German native, Kay had just arrived in the Gilis after three years as a diving coach in Thailand. Kay and the other DiveZone staff we met were friendly and personable and made my kids feel very comfortable.

Scuba diving is a complicated procedure to learn at first. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can also be dangerous. DiveZone staff did a great job with the kids. They taught them about the dangers and how to deal with them — all without scaring them or overwhelming them with information.

Well, to be honest, our 11-year-old was overwhelmed by lunchtime on day one. No surprise, really — there’s a lot to learn. But she felt comfortable (and excited enough) to head back into the next diving lesson after we finished eating.

The first day of diving lessons at DiveZone usually starts off with three (!) hours of video lessons. However, Frauke said because her students were an 11- and 14-year-old, she decided to break up the video and quiz time with in-pool drills and exercises.

Day One of PADI Junior: DiveZone Review

Divezone Review Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone class

Both kids agreed that the Day One was the most challenging. They first sat on beanbags consuming hours of new information about depth, pressure, diving theory calculations, and more. After each section of new information, they had to pass the quizzes.

Their instructor, Kay, had taught kids before, so she knew to be flexible and adjust the schedule accordingly. Fortunately, our son and daughter were the only ones taking the lessons those two days, which made it easier. Kay repeatedly told us that kids need breaks from time to time in order for them to focus and for the info to sink in.

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone float

After several hours of lessons, videos, breaks and quizzes, it was lunchtime. The kids looked frazzled but were ready to go back after some pizza at Eazy Gili Waroeng. They said that Kay’s balance of fun and serious made the boring and complicated parts easier.

When they returned for the afternoon lesson, it was into the diving pool to practice floating for ten minutes straight (without touching). Later in the day, they worked on assembling and disassembling the tanks and gear.

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Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 2

The final hours of day one were in the on-site diving pool, where they were mostly underwater. I was working a few meters away, and it seemed like hours passed before they surfaced.

The on-site dive pool is chest deep on one side and much, much deeper on the other. I could barely even see them down there. Bubbles were the only sign of life.

When we picked them up at the end of the first day, they looked like zombies. The combination of long video lectures, written tests and physical exercise under the Indonesian sun seemed to have fried their growing brains. Being so young, however, they recovered fairly quickly after big glasses of fresh juice, and were excited about tomorrow’s dives.

Then came day two.

Day Two of PADI Junior: DiveZone Review

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 5 divezone diving day

Divezone Review Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 5 divezone diving day underwater collage 2

Divezone Review Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone equipment 5 divezone diving day underwater collage 1

They both woke up early for their second day. They were quite nervous but very excited. We showed up early, but Kay was already prepped and ready for their arrival.

She gave them a final set of quizzes and ran through all the steps and procedures with each of them before they suited up and headed for the boat.

Then they were gone.

Hours passed, and although I wasn’t worried, I looked at my watch constantly for their return time of around 1 pm.

When their boat showed up, they hopped onto the shore with silly grins. They looked exhausted — again — but proceeded to tell us about what they did and what they saw for the next three hours.

Leaving the beach at Gili Air, their boat rode towards Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan looking for action under the sea. There were three dives at two locations, they told us. The first location was near Gili Trawangan and the visibility was great. They told us that they had never seen such clear water or so many fish around them. The second was also action-packed but a shift in weather and ocean currents clouded the water.

Both kids agreed that the first dive location was the best. They saw three sea turtles, as well as several peacock mantis shrimp. Other creatures included colorful coral, pufferfish and most of the cast from Finding Nemo.

They’ve been talking about diving again ever since they go out of the water. Thanks, DiveZone: you’ve added two new scuba addicts to the world.

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air Divezone underwater 5 clownfish nemo ©Gerald-Nowak (24)

Divezone Review: Scuba Lessons in the Gilis and Diving Gili Air 740 divezone with diving instructor

DiveZone Review Summary

Want the abbreviated version of my DiveZone review? See below for the main points, along with a few extra tips.

What We Liked

  • Easy to reach location
  • On-site diving pool

What We Loved

  • Great instructor who understood how to teach kids
  • Welcoming environment for kids

Other Things Worth Mentioning

  • The sun is brutal in Lombok. Make sure to pack sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids.
  • For safety measures, DiveZone instructors don’t usually photograph their student on their first dives. They’d rather focus on the students, and that’s totally fine with me. They also judge for themselves whether or not they allow a student to operate their GoPros or other underwater cameras. We were happy that Frauke limited their time shooting underwater. This allowed them to focus on the experience itself.

DiveZone Courses and Dive Spots

DiveZone offers more than 15 different scuba diving courses for beginners, advanced PADI divers, and professionals. Whether you are a total beginner like our kids or an experienced scuba diver looking for specialized courses, DiveZone has it.

Also, their diving spots are not only around Gili Air, but also in southwest Lombok. Many locals we met suggest going go diving in Sekotong, Lombok where DiveZone has another operation. We couldn’t fit it into our schedule this time, unfortunately, but will most certainly try to go there the next time we’re in Lombok.

Check out the DiveZone official website for more information.

Or read what other’s have to say about DiveZone.

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Disclosure: Our children’s diving lessons were sponsored by DiveZone, but this has no effect on my opinions or endorsement. All opinions are my own.

Image credits: #1, #2, #12, #13, #14, #16 & #16 courtesy of Divezone and Gerald Nowak

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