When you think about superyacht charter holidays, there is immediately one activity which pops into your mind: diving. While cruising some of the most turquoise, crystal clear waters on Earth, or spending time near impressive reefs full of underwater life, there is undoubtedly a call to explore wild life wonders between corals, fishes, turtles and more. To exceed your passion, wherever your destination in Mediterranean or Indian Ocean, or simply make your first-time ever dive, our pristine superyacht for charter LILI (Amels, 55m) boasts a Dive Instructor with a great experience and an incredible enthusiasm for all marine things. The Imperial team sat down with Mykolas Babravicius, diving specialist on board LILI, to talk about his background,experiences and why diving the best remote destinations in the world should be on your bucket list during each of your holidays. Refreshing and relaxing, read the interview below!
Imperial: What’s your background and how did you get involved in yachting?
Mykolas Babravicius: I was raised on fairly different ends of the world and I couldn’t appreciate it more. Being an avid explorer of anything a little different to the norm, I have experienced a wide range of cultures and people which has taught me to be open-minded to anything outside of my ‘general surroundings’. Combining this with my enormous curiosity for understanding the human brain and its behaviour allows me to develop connections with the people I surround myself with.Yachting is not new to me, however I took my time making the jump as I wanted to progress further in my diving career.
IY: Your main skills and why are they suited to the industry?
MB: I have been an avid diver for seven years, and have worked as a dive professional for four and a half of those years. I am a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with roughly 2000 dives under my belt and recently completed my introduction to technical diving by completing my side-mount and ‘tech 45’ certifications. I have had the luxury of diving in a wide array of locations ranging from the barren coastline of Mozambique to the crystal clear tropics of the Seychelles. My focus however has been South Africa as it has been my home for the last decade. My experience and skills in diving go hand in hand with a yacht like LILI due to her diving facilities on board as well as the worldwide itinerary.
IY: Your experience whilst on boats to date?
MB: LILI is my first job on a yacht and I feel I could not have been luckier. In the short five months I have been on board we have been to some truly outstandingly beautiful places including Norway, Turkey and Sardinia. This is my first time performing this role. What I enjoy about it is the new skills I get to learn as a deckhand, but I still get to put in practise my diving skills.
IY: Have you always been in the same role?
MB: I am what is known as an MSDT – Master Scuba Diver Trainer. This certification allows me to teach a variety of diving courses. I am able to teach the entry level courses to non-certified divers such as the Open Water Diver to those who desire to be certified and continue diving, or a Discover Scuba Diver to those who simply wish to have a once off experience to view the underwater world. I can also teach certified divers who wish to continue their education, whether it be to dive at deeper depths or explore shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean or those keen enough to become a pro.
IY: How long did it take you to become certified, what qualifications do you need/have?
MB: It took me one year become an MSDT as I had to go through the ‘diving ranks’ and meet the pre requisites. It starts with becoming a Divemaster, accumulating one hundred dives and assisting instructors on a variety of courses as well as the physical requirements one must meet within the water. Aside from my professional qualifications, I am also currently in the process of furthering my own knowledge by stepping into technical diving.
IY: What’s your favorite charter destination? And where would you like to visit next and why?
MB: My favorite so far must be Turkey as we found privacy among beauty. The radiant sunsets combined vivid water gave birth to picturesque moments causing life to stand still for a moment. A moment to soak in the beauty of this world, the near perfection hiding in plain sight. Being the water-baby on board I have high hopes for Lili and her travels in the foreseeable future.
IY: What is the most amazing thing(s) you have seen whilst diving?
MB: During my time in South Africa I have experienced the cold, harsh shark infested waters of Cape Town, the lush, isolated coral filled dive sites in Sodwanna Bay and have had the privilege of working on the Sardine Run twice on the East Coast of South Africa, known as the Wild Coast. Really impressive!
IY: Where is the most amazing place you have dived or you would love to?
MB: It is difficult to choose because every area has something special, specific and unique to its water. This makes it equally difficult to decide where I would like to go next. That being said, I like to go places I’ve never been before, to explore the unknown. I have never dived in Asia, and have only ever been as a young boy so my memory of it is nothing short of vague. Bali, springs to mind, as well as the Philippines.
IY: What are your top locations for the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean or other remote places?
MB: Seychelles, Maldives and Thailand… What more could a diver ask for ? Although I am anxious to get back to the Seychelles and excited to explore the Maldives and possibly Thailand, there is still a lingering desire to fulfil my passion within the water. This passion revolves around sharks. Sharks are my quintessence of life. This bee in my bonnet wants to fly to the Caribbean, or rather cruise to the Caribbean where shark life is abundant. Places such as Bimini, Costa Rica and the Galapagos are booming with sharks as well as other majestic life such as whale sharks, mantas, orcas, penguins, turtles, nudibranchs and so much more. The life is limitless.
IY: Best part of the job?
MB: The best part of my job is not one thing but rather a combination of things. The places we go with the people we meet. The crew are a very diverse bunch and there is always something or someone making us laugh. They have become my family away home. Then there is the places we go. I have always been a nomad, so the travelling is nothing new to me, only the places are. In the five months I’ve been on board we have been to 10 different countries and well over 30 different locations within those countries. It’s the life I’ve been wanting to live for years.
Ready to dive? LILI is available for charter during summer and winter seasons. For further charter information and bookings regarding LILI and explore all the wonders proposed by her talented Chef, please contact Julia Buklina, Charter CA:
T +377 97 98 38 80
Pictures by Jeff Brown for Imperial.