This week we chat to Ivanna from Bali Diving Academy. Her advice is to not sit around waiting for things to happen – leave home and get out of your comfort zone and make those opportunities happen for you!

Name: Ivanna Tobar

Job Title: Marine Biologist and Dive Instructor

Organisation: Bali Diving Academy

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?

I was introduced to the underwater world at a young age (12) by my father and have been in love with it ever since my first dive. It is my deep love for the ocean and desire to maintain it that inspired me to pursue a career in Marin Biology.

  • What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?

I pursued my bachelors in science in Canada, double majoring in Marine Bio & Microbiology and upon graduating left to work in places around the world, where my field of study would be of use. I always focused my choices on improving my diving skills and in applied Marine Biology.

  • How did you land your current job/position? 

I was travelling from Australia to Bali as more than 400 species underwater lives here and I knew this is the place to be. I also wanted to dive and have a look at the Marine Protected Area of Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan. Then I was hired by Bali Diving Academy to set up a program where we could collect crucial data during survey dives and with Divemaster trainee.

  • Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I actually truly love teaching and sharing my knowledge in Marine Biology and conservation. To see my students becoming committed naturalist and acquire crucial knowledge in conservation is very rewarding.

  • Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’? 

I firmly believe educating citizens is a key factor in enacting change. If people don’t know what is going on, how will they know to change?

  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?  

I wish I had started travelling gaining real-life experience earlier. Internships and early work experience are crucial to prepare you for what it is like in the “real” world.


  • Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?

Yes, marketing / social media. I can give awareness, collect data and teach, but it needs to go hand in hand with advertising and letting people know what is going on and what we offer.

  • What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

Go out and pursue what you love. Don’t sit at home waiting. In fact, leave home, step out of your comfort zone, meet people, network, this is how opportunities happen.

  • What is your favourite marine creature and why?  

There are simply too many to choose, and each as unique and in-explainable as the next. From the constantly colour-changing octopus to the playful sea lions, to the majestic whale. Impossible to chose just one, could you?

  • What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?  

Diving amongst 70 grey nurse sharks, oceanic mantas & Queensland groupers


Thank you Ivanna, some great advice! Find out more about Bali Diving Academy – a wonderful place to do your Divemaster internship. You never know, it might be the thing that leads to your own dream job!

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