Hear about the story of Tino Nong, the cruise manager on Adelaar since 2018. Becoming a cruise leader was the next level for an instructor’s career.
What’s your story?
I was born in France in 1989, where I grew up in the countryside. I studied a little in Canada where I started getting eager to travel. When I made my way back to France, my first job was as a banker. I was working in the risk management department for loans. I continued my banking career with another job as financial analyst until 2013. When my boss came back from her maternity leave, I had to let her know I was going to leave the company to pursue my traveling desires. My original plan was to go to Asia for one year. I have family in Vietnam that I hadn’t visited for a long time, this was my first landmark!
A few month later, I find myself in Ho Chi Minh City, where I am oppressed by the crowds, the noise and agitations, and head to an island called Phu Quoc (South Vietnam) to get some “me-time” in a quiet area. There was no electricity in Phu Quoc, which is why I ended up finding more quietness than expected… Going over the brochures at reception of the hotel, I see diving seems like a nice activity not requiring electricity! The next day, I had my first underwater experience with Yasser, my dive instructor from Egypt. First dive, first shark! I knew this was the beginning of something new for me.
Three months after my trip to Phu Quoc, I’m planning my flight back to France. Before that I wanted to do my Padi Open Water certification which I booked a few days earlier. I liked it so much that I had to cancel my flight and continue with an Advance Open Water course. In the same dive center, several guys were studying for their instructor exam. I helped them going through the theory, asking as many questions as I could. Louis was one of them, he was also the person introducing me to the Dive-Master Program.
Here, I am a few weeks later searching online a place in Asia where I could do my Dive-master, this is when I read about Komodo, where I spent a few months learning everything there is about dive sites, currents and marine life. In 2015, I went back to Vietnam to become an instructor in the same dive center I did my Open Water (I had to close the loop). I worked for a dive center called Manta Rhei in Labuan Bajo – Flores for about 2 years as an instructor, until I crossed Adelaar’s path.
When did you start working for the Adelaar? And why?
I started in October 2018. I had seen the ship in the Komodo National Park while working for a dive center and have been dreaming about it since. Becoming a cruise manager was the next level for an instructor’s career, and it adds many more interesting tasks to this (already) beautiful job. I started building my network, working on my CV and send application to all boats cruising in the Komodo National Park. Adelaar picked up on my CV, and the adventure started!
What do you like best about being cruise manager?
Working close to our entrusted guests, share stories, my diving knowledge and also learning from them, it is a two-ways experience: I guide them underwater and they kind of guide me through life. Love it!
What is the most challenging about being cruise manager?
Working in remote places, and therefore on a boat, brings out the best and the worse in everyone. As a cruise manager, I have to handle all kind of situations to keep our guests, as well as the crew happy. Sometimes, I wish there was more than 24h in a day! Handling issues with a smile, adapt, and keep a positive attitude is definitely challenging. My motto: there’s no problems, there’s only solutions.
Three words to describe yourself?
Helpful, passionate, moody (at least sometimes :P).
Your favorite dive site in Komodo and why?
Definitely “Cauldron”. Topography, current, big fish, small fish, corals of all sorts, technicality, there’s everything on that site!
What’s your favorite dive site in the world?
Komba volcano. It’s an active volcano, the black sand brings a lot of contrast underwater, there’s also many nudibranchs. I often make a play on words with this site: “Kom-buble, Kom-rubble”. There are bubbles everywhere coming out of the ground, the reflection of the sun on the bubbles offers a very specific scenery. This is also the first dive site, where I saw tornado formations. It’s a good macro site, but we can get surprised with big stuff as well, at least from time to time, thanks to the topography and thermoclines. Last year, we saw hammerhead shark and whale shark in the same dive! Find out more about Adelaar’s itineraries to Alor here!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Not in France, that’s for sure! I have no idea, if I will still be a cruise manager, or dive instructor. I will see, where the current takes me and go with the flow…
See Tino on his daily life aboard Adelaar on the Instagram feed!