John Shah: A Biography and How He created Go Diving
All of us has a story that describes our early beginnings. We idolized fictional characters in movies or real-life heroes, later realizing how important are they to us in influencing the fate of our future.
The Little Dreamer
Inspired by the works of a French Naval Officer and an accomplished oceanographer in the name of Jacques Yves Cousteau, John’s interest as a little boy was drawn to explore the wonders of nature. This was prompted further after watching safari movies and documentary films made by famous Australian explorer Alby Mangels. In no time, John started the adventure of his life and began scuba diving at the age of 11.
As a young teenager, John is considered to be a lucky kid as his toys are real boats and not the small plastic inflatables that we buy in stores. Although his boats were not on the tip-top condition, John’s brilliant mind and skillful hands enabled him to work his way towards his dreams of navigating the high seas by personally mending the damage portion of the vessel. Their house back then was immediately converted into a small shipyard where John needs to take down their fence for boats to enter the workshop leaving only a one-foot gap in their backyard. And his Mom was not happy with it.
A few of John’s early craft were a 14-foot wooden hull ship and a 27-foot cruiser with a 3-cylinder diesel engine. His brother-in-law was a blessing in disguise for his workshop as he had been working as a tradesman, and in no time, all boats were made seaworthy. John’s boat repair projects were not limited in his workshop where he assisted his brother-in-law in the refitting of oil rig tender ships in Darwin. But these are not small vessels. Some of them measure over 120 feet (36 meters) and getting to work with this large ship is just comparable to getting on a liveaboard.
Off to the World and back to Aussie land
John traveled the world. For 15 years, he worked for luxury boat owners in the Mediterranean coast. His experience in boat repair and maintenance easily facilitated his job in looking after the overall state of the ship. While he was in Spain, John was lucky to be involved in a local dive center where he worked and earned his Divemaster certification in 2004. Wasting no time in fulfilling his dream to become a dive professional, John became a PADI Instructor in 2006 and operated his own diving school in Spain for 2 years.
Realizing that it is best to do business back home, John returned to his hometown Perth in 2008. Starting from scratch, he initially worked as a scuba instructor for Diving Frontiers Perth. The pay was good, but with the dream of having his own dive shop and a charter vessel in Australia, doing big projects was the only way to finance his dream. Luckily, one of his dive students introduced him to mining where John ventured in to exploration.
The Mining Emergency Response Team: A Partial Diversion of Dreams
While working at the mine in hopes of finding the motherload, John was amazed by the Emergency Response Team that worked around the mining sites in Pilbara. Getting John’s attention to the mining’s rescue team was like natural instinct as he has been exposed being a rescue diver back in Spain who looks after multi-national tourist who acts as if they are an accomplished diver, yet a newbie in reality where some of his works include cave and cabin rescue, which John hopes, never to repeat.
John, in his inherent capacity to save lives, joined the mining rescue team and worked as a Patient Transport Officer for an ambulatory service in Perth. But the job is highly demanding that they often work in remote areas and must deal any emergency without immediate support from government institutions such as Medical, Fire Protection and the Police. In short, John and the rest of the mining rescue team must undergo rigid training such as paramedics, firefighting, HAZMAT or handling of hazardous materials, vertical rope rescue, road crash, search and rescue to name a few. When there is no accident to be responded, John and his rescue team may perform other task such as drug and alcohol testing of mine workers.
I could say that John was not just a lucky kid, but luck continues to be on his side as he was promoted and became a fulltime Mines Emergency Response Officer just after 1 year of working in the mine.
Go Diving: A Dream come True
In 2011, with the financial stability earned from working in the mine, John started to put up his own dive operation – Go Diving.
Over the years, John has developed an interest in high pressure breathing air while filling scuba tanks for his dive operations and firefighting cylinders for his duties as a fire fighter. This interest sparked John to buy used Bauer compressor, refurbish it and then sell it in good running condition. Eager to learn more about air compressors, John attended a highly respected “Scuba Engineer” school and even went to Bauer’s Training school where he eventually became a full-service technician. In short, John’s newly acquired capacity enabled him to rebuild old Bauer compressors and sell them according to factory specifications, which now comprises a bigger share of the pie when it comes to Go Diving’s business operation.
John’s continued Passion for Boats
While Go Diving’s operation was on the rise, John purchased an abandoned yacht – the MY Diomedea, which will become his brainchild project in terms of boat mending. From 2011 to 2017, while working on the mine and at his home workshop, John finally finished his toy and baptized it MY Globe Trekkin. From an abandoned vessel, the Globe Trekkin was rebuilt into a long-range expedition dive yacht where one of its early expeditions where the islands and reefs surrounding Mid and Northwest Australia. While having a smooth record, the Globe Trekkin was not efficient enough in terms of business as it was unable to take paying passengers.
But business must go on. In hopes of accommodating a small group of divers, John purchased a smaller boat in the form of a 6-meter Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). Unfortunately, the RIB did not give John a fortune as diving tourism went down in Western Australia due to incidence of shark attack. Considered unlucky in earning money, the RIB instead taught John the technical inn’s and out’s of working with the Department of Transport as far as survey is concerned.
Gaining all the knowledge from years of boat handling, mending and Government accreditation, John is now aiming for a larger boat that would become a commercial passenger survey and as an expedition dive charter. He started his search for a bigger boat in 2014 but was unable to find one.
While losing hope to find the right boat for him, John gave up his search and focused on his dive operation. One day, during the first half of 2017 while dropping by a local engineering shop to have a water maker bracket made for Globe Trekkin, John saw this large but unfinished sailor yacht back in a yard.
Could this be his long-awaited vessel that will take him sailing to the high seas? Who knows. But we’re quite sure luck is always on John’s side.