The youngest of four children from a remote village on the island of Rinca, Indonesia, Sari always thought she would be a police officer. During middle school, she saw how tourism was growing in the nearest town and around her island and decided on a tour and travel course at the vocational high school. During her 3-month work experience at Wicked Dive, she went out on the dive boats to practise her English. When she saw how excited guests were when they saw manta ray and turtles she wanted to try diving herself. A British female dive guide encouraged her to give it a go, and Sari immediately loved it.
There was a lot to learn and many challenges to overcome: “My father did not agree at all, he was scared about aggressive sharks, he thought it was a heavy job, not suited to women”. When she told him there were plenty of foreign female dive guides, he said they were different: different culture, stronger, braver. Yet Sari remained determined, and says that she feels her father has started to accept her chosen profession and might even be proud – though he doesn’t say so. In 2015 she qualified as a dive master and today feels respected by her peers on the boats, despite being the only female dive guide. Still, for a long time Sari remained a little worried about whether she’d ever find a husband who accepts her and would let her carry on working. Well, it seems happy endings are not exclusive to Hollywood. This year Sari married another dive guide who shares and understands her passion. She now hopes to be able to combine her career with having children, and wants to encourage other local women to try diving and break into male dominated professions.