Join the Club…
We met up with James Holt, owner of Meno Dive Club, to see how his new business venture is getting on. Very well, as it turns out…
Having lived on Gili Meno for six years, James has plenty of experience in the world of diving. His passion for diving sparked in New Zealand where he was born and raised. He travelled to the Philippines, where he settled for a while and earned his Divemasters, working with tourists and locals as an instructor.
From one paradise to another, James relocated to Gili Meno six years ago and began working in a local dive shop. After lending his expertise to other businesses, he decided to open his own establishment in December last year, and so, Meno Dive Club was born.
Offering the full complement of diving courses, PADI-certified Meno Dive Club is popular with the tourists who flock to the quietest of the three islands. With courses tailored for Beginners all the way through to Divemasters, anyone is welcome. Discover Dives are available to those who want to experience an introduction to marine life, or who just want a fun adventure.
For training, the dive centre has its own huge pool, along with classrooms and a bar for divers to socialise and chill out after long days in the sun and warm tropical waters. The dive centre has a welcoming atmosphere, existing for communities of ocean-lovers and environmentalists alike. The use of the word ‘club’ is very intentional, if the friendliness of staff is anything to go by.
Ideally located in the harbour area, the team behind Meno Dive Club is as international as the customers they welcome. The team is from Malaysia, Belgium and France, as well New Zealand! James enthuses, “We created a pretty relaxed, chilled environment, obviously with safety at the forefront’, he offers. The equipment is brand-new and there is an informal and very genuine feel to the shop itself”. We have kept the environment natural, using local building materials, like bamboo and alang-alang, sourced from the island’.
So, what is the next step in James’ journey? He and his team are looking forward to a busy high season and he is keen to show off everything the business has to offer. “We will be showing weekly conservation movies at night”, James says, very aware of the environmental responsibilities that come with running a dive shop.
Speaking of which, Trash Heroes, a global rubbish-collecting initiative, is up and running on Gili Meno, with Meno Dive Club staff dedicated to donating time to the project.
“We are also going to organise clean-up dives once a month”, James reminds us, happily making his mark on the beautiful island in the best way possible.
We will see you on Meno at the cool kids’ club…