Lorena Espin – Winner of the Best Dive Job in the World 2014/2015


After the closing ceremony for the Best Dive Job in the World, I spent a week of downtime with Jason and Lisa at the Prama Sanur Beach. As you already know, I am very appreciative of downtime. But I was especially happy to spend time with my friends before they left.

divemaster diving in bali with mola mola

My IDC starts in a few weeks; I am very excited about it but more on that shortly. In the meantime, I am diving every day. It feels great to be back in the water, but moreover it feels great to be confident in the water. Every dive, I find something cool. Unfortunately I have yet to see a Mola Mola, but I am optimistic that I will meet and befriend one before my year is up.


Soon I will collect my own dive gear, courtesy of Aqualung and Suunto. I do not think it needs to be said but I will say it anyway: OMG I AM SO EXCITED TO GET MY OWN GEAR! It is starting to sink in just how much I have won. I knew that I would have liked to win – because, come on, how fun is winning?! – but I did not realize how much I needed it.

I cannot wait for IDC to start and to meet the other candidates. This time the playing field is a little more level because we are all going in with the same certifications, knowledge, and mastery of skills. No more feeling like the underdog.

But never mind the playing field because the IDC is not a competition and I am incredibly excited about that. These soon-to-arrive candidates will not be competitors, they will be friends.

IDC friends in bali

Admittedly, I am already nervous about the looming Instructor Examination, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.


Once that bridge is crossed, I am very excited to think that soon I will be teaching my first PADI Open Water students. I remember my first open water dive. This is partly because it was not that long ago, but mostly because it was a memorable and enriching experience. To be a part of that experience for other people – this is what I look forward to the most!



Lorena Espin – Winner of the Best Dive Job in the World 2014/2015


Ironically, elimination week was the least stressful week of the competition for me.

best dive job elimination week in bali

Elimination week was made up of half days. The beautiful thing about a half day is that one can do whatever one likes with the other half of one’s day. I had not been granted this kind of down time in a long time, and I fully embraced it. One evening Lisa, Jason, and I laid in the grass staring up at the kites in the sky, just because we could.


The other great thing about elimination week was that I was somehow avoiding elimination. As a matter of fact, I was getting top marks. Every challenge we were tasked with had already been assigned to us at some point during our training. And where I had previously struggled during the training, I was now thriving. Elimination week was my redemption.


To see how I and everyone else fared, have a look at this episode:



best dive job elimination week in bali

I was proving to everyone what I had always suspected; that I was capable. I had something to show for the long study sessions and the extra hours in the pool with my coach, Jason. Aside from watching kites, our favorite activity was to discuss how well we were doing and how awesome we are, over delicious Western food – because after weeks of rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you would start to miss Western food too!


Yes, I was patting myself on the ol’ back. But it felt like my month of self-doubt and personal failures was finally over, and it was nice to start believing in myself again. I could hardly believe that I had actually progressed during my time here; the results of elimination week were the proof I needed.


Lorena Espin – Winner of the Best Dive Job in the World 2014/2015

When I arrived in Bali, first I felt excited to have arrived in a tropical country where I would soon be diving every day. Second I felt annoyed and despaired that my luggage had not arrived with me.USAT Tulamben Wreck

Eventually my stuff was returned to me, but the incident was an appropriate way to start things off, as the next few weeks were struggle after struggle for me.

One struggle was that I was undeniably coming into this whole thing as the underdog. I was merely Open Water certified and had only nine dives under my belt. My impression was that my fellow competitors each had a thousand logged dives; they all knew exactly what they were doing on our first dive together. Meanwhile, I was concentrating on remembering how to breathe that I did not even notice the ship wreck. Embarrassing.

I improved, as I set small, attainable goals for myself each dive. I also spent extra time in the pool, working diligently on my skills.

AnotherThe Best Dive Job In The World - Lorena struggle was that we were separated into two teams of four and competed against each other in what I was convinced were impossible challenges. Taking pictures of fish during a violent drift dive? Sell T-shirts in a country none of know? I stress: Impossible challenges.

Want to see more of my struggles? Check out this episode and see what the very cool prizes were: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZLkJmfauRU
Spoiler alert: I was on the team that lost nearly every prize. At least I had fun commiserating with and getting to know my teammates. Why not watch this cheeky little video my un-triumphant but awesome team put together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQShjh9qJf4

Also, as a reality TV connoisseur I knew that the overall winner of a competition usually comes from the team that loses the most challenges throughout. So it stood to reason that that overall winner could very well be me. Now that’s good television!

Best Dive Job – Before coming to Bali 

Lorena Espin – Winner of the Best Dive Job in the World 2014/2015

After I was announced as having made the Top 8, I did what any self-respecting adult would do: I celebrated for a week straight. Next, I did what any self-hating adult would do: I got two part-time jobs. I had to save up for the uproot of my life to Bali.

One tends to work a lot when one has to save up for an uproot, and soon it felt like all I was doing was working. I forgot what I was working towards. Even though my flight was booked, Bali and the Divemaster training began to feel like an illusion. Every day I expected to check my email and find out that the Best Dive Job was cancelled, or that it never existed, or that it was some elaborate and cruel Internet joke.

Best Dive job, diving

What if the Best dive job page had been a fake?

Closer to departure, it became real to me that I was going to Bali. What also became real to me were the million and one things I all of a sudden realized I had to do to prepare.

I also realized that going to Bali meant having to leave Montreal. This made me sad. Montreal was coming into the summer months, I had been enjoying spending time with my friends and family, I did not want that time to end, and I had no idea when I would be coming back.

Best Div Job, diving

Friends and family

To get an idea of why Montreal is special to me, check out a couple of videos I made as part of the Best Dive Job pre-arrival challenges:



Sad or not, there were no employment opportunities in Montreal that excited me, so I knew this was a move I needed to make and I couldn’t wait!

Next time – arriving in Bali!

Making it into the top 8

Lorena Espin – Winner of the Best Dive Job in the World 2014/2015

When I entered the Best Dive Job competition, some of my competitors had thousands of votes and I had a mere ten days to somehow make the judges pay attention to me.

Just for fun, here’s a throwback to my entry video:


At the time I was unemployed and papering Montreal with my CV was about as appealing as swimming laps in a parka. My options, as I saw them, were to sit on my couch and binge watch TV or sit on my couch and work on my campaign. My Rottie was such a good sport; she kept me company and even made a cameo in some of my promotional videos and photos. You might remember her:

Best dive job, dog, companion

My Rottie

During those ten days, I was obnoxiously present on social media. I was posting constantly, hashtag-ing everything and anything scuba related, and tagging everyone and their uncle.

I can only assume that in person, I was just as obnoxious. I became that person who constantly asked you to repeat what you had just said because I was too busy checking my phone to pay attention.

But my friends showed me how patient and loyal they are. They understood that I was pursuing my dream, and were happy to support me. They helped me shoot my challenge videos, they stood by me as I plastered the city with flyers, they shared, commented, liked my posts. A huge shout to them!

Media, best dive job, Lorena

Preparing for my latest media shoot

Here’s one specific shout: a good friend of mine donated to Project Aware for me. In exchange, I had to do a dare. Check out the video:


And then after I really knew what was happening I was announced as one of the top 8, I WAS GOING TO BALI!

Here’s my acceptance video after hearing the amazing news!


In my next blog I’ll talk a little about the waiting before actually setting off to Bali, an really amazing time of my life

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