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Dive Crew
Buddies has a highly qualified, experienced, friendly team that are able to teach in numerous languages. All the staff are dedicated and passionate about diving and teaching, and we aim to offer an unmatched level of quality, service, safety and entertainment.....

Meet the Team

Buddies Owner
Martin Stanhope
Course Director

I have been diving since 1993 when I learned to dive with BSAC underneath Swanage Pier. After a holiday in Comino I switched to PADI. I trained through to Master Instructor with Dive In, Gildenburgh Water in the UK. I started working there in 2003 and loved every minute of it. Eventually I decided to make scuba diving my career and moved to Malta in March 2007.Since becoming a Course Director in July 2008, most of my teaching is now Instructor Level Courses but I can still be found teaching Open Water and even the odd Try Dive if Karen makes me!

I learnt to dive to see the wonderful underwater life, so my favourite dives are ones with lots of fish. Having said that, my favourite dive in Malta is the wreck of the Um El Faroud, it is just breathtaking. Faroud aside, my top 5 dives would be Comino Caves, Imperial Eagle, Anchor Bay, Blue Hole & Inland Sea.

Outside of diving I love football and passionately support Luton Town Football Club. I'm a computer games freak and spend a ridiculous amount of time playing Destiny on my PS4. I relax by spending time with my beautiful Daughter – Emily, my 2 Rottweilers & my 3 Pugs.

PADI Course Director 629889

PADI Specialty Instructor Trainer

Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer

PADI TecRec - Tec Deep Instructor Trainer

PADI TecRec - Tec Trimix Instructor Trainer

PADI TecRec - Trimix Gas Blender Instructor Trainer

Buddies Owner
Karen Barnes
IDC Staff Instructor

I always knew that I would become a diver! I qualified in Egypt in 2000.  If I hadn’t have been in the middle of buying my first flat, I would have never gone back to the UK. I loved the freedom that Diving gave.  Viewing the marine life in its natural habitat is a sight I believe everyone should have the chance to see. Under the sea is a different world completely, it’s so relaxing and no one dive is the same. Every dive is a different experience, from the marine life to the wrecks, it’s just amazing and from the moment I got in the water for my first dive I fell in love with it.

At first I was only planning to be a warm water diver, taking my holidays in Egypt, Turkey and hopefully places like Mexico, Thailand and ultimately wherever my budget would allow.  Then as my love for diving grew, I realized that I no longer wanted to remain in the UK.  I wanted to make my hobby my profession.    I became an Instructor at Gildenburgh Water in 2005 and loved it. Gildenburgh was also where I met Martin, and found that he had the same views.  We left England in 2007 and headed to Malta.  And I guess the rest is history!
One of the main reasons we chose Malta to settle in is the fact that it offers diving all year round.  It also has some fantastic dive sites, giving a wonderful variety between shallow scenic dives, such as at  Anchor Bay and the Santa Maria caves, and deeper wrecks such as the Rozi and the Um el Faroud. Aside from diving I found the people to be friendly and the scenery to be breathtaking. It really is a beautiful island.

PADI IDC Staff Instructor

Emergency First Response Instructor

Specialty Instructor: DPV, Underwater Navigator, Wreck, Deep, Emergency Oxygen Provider, PPB, Enriched Air & Dry Suit

Elka Borucka
Master Instructor

After I did my first Discover Scuba Diving I knew that this was something I wanted to do! I started diving in 2008 in Malta. As a work placement from university I came back to Malta the following year, and I did all of the courses up to Divemaster. After graduating I worked as a Divemaster with Buddies and prepared for the IDC, which I did with Martin (the big boss!). After becoming an instructor I started teaching in the cold, green waters of Poland, and the Netherlands. I came back to Buddies in 2014 as an instructor and in November I completed the Staff Instructor course and left Malta for beautiful Thailand. And then I came back again for more awesome dives!


PADI Master Instructor

Emergency First Response Instructor

TecRec Trimix Gas Blender Instructor

Specialty Instructor: Sidemount, Deep, Wreck, Nitrox, Night, PPB, Drysuit, DPV, Naturalist, Ocean Reef integrated Mask and Underwater Navigator

Alex Mcnellan
Course Director

Alex has over twenty seven years scuba diving experience and has been working  within the diving industry for over twenty years.  At the DEMA Show in Las Vegas in Autumn 2005, Alex participated in a round table discussion with some of PADI's most senior and highly respected professionals and was presented with an award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the dive industry.


As a Course Director, he has progressed to the highest level within PADI.  For three years in succession, he was awarded the prestigious rating of 'Platinum Course Director' in recognition of the number of instructor level programmes that he has taught.  Alex finds great satisfaction in training divers to become PADI instructors, guiding them through the PADI Instructor Development Course.


Alex is also an experienced open and closed circuit trimix diver and instructor trainer.  He enjoys the challenge of technical diving and teaching technical diving.


When he's not busy in the water, Alex enjoys motocross riding and takes every opportunity to go out on his bike - clearly a bit of an adrenaline junkie!

PADI Course Director 608230

PADI Specialty Instructor Trainer

Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer


PADI Tec Rec CCR Instructor trainer

PADI Tec Deep Instructor Trainer

PADI Tec Rec Trimix Instructor Trainer

PADI Tec Rec Trimix Gas Blender Instructor Trainer

Ryan Phillips
Master Instructor

I started diving in 2009 in Fiji, as part of a marine conservation project I was doing for my gap year. I Immediately fell in love with diving and was determined that this was what I was going to do with my life. As soon as I was back fro my trip to Fiji I started a Divemaster internship in Tenerife and after that I worked for a while in Australia, however I found myself becoming more interested in teaching diving so I decided to go to Egypt and do my Instructor course.
In 2012 came to Malta for the first time and immediately fell in love with its culture and diving. My favourite type of diving is wrecks of which my favourite are the Rozi and the P29 at Cirkewwa.
Outside of diving I'm a computer games geek and spend a large amount of my time playing Fallout 4.

PADI Master Instructor

Emergency First Response Instructor

TecRec Gas Blender

Specialty Instructor: DPV, Sidemount, Deep, Wreck, Nitrox, Dry Suit, PPB, Boat, Night, SMB, Equipment Specialist, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Underwater Navigator, Search & Recovery, Digital Underwater Photography, Multilevel, Underwater Naturalist, Aware Shark Conservation


Mike Jones
IDC Staff Instructor

I've been with Buddies for the past 2 years, I came here as a Rescue diver in April 2015. I did my Divemaster internship with Buddies and followed it up with an IDC the same summer. Since then I've been teaching courses and learning how to be a better instructor. From the moment I started diving I decided I wanted to be an instructor and thanks to the team at Buddies I'm now an instructor doing a job I love. The first time I dived the Um el Farroud I knew diving in Malta would always have a place in my heart and despite being here for 2 seasons now I still feel there are tonnes more dives to see.

PADI IDC Staff Instructor

Emergency First Response Instructor

Specialty Instructor: Deep, Wreck, Nitrox, PPB, Night and Underwater Navigator


Danielle Manfredi
Open Water Scuba Instructor

I started diving in 2014 in a cold dark quarry in Nashville, USA to prepare for my gap year in Australia. Little did I know at that time how great diving can be! I spent the next year living in Port Douglas, Australia diving the Great Barrier Reef and volunteering on a liveaboard for a few months. During this trip I fell in love with diving and knew it was the career for me. I did my Divemaster in Cozumel, Mexico exploring the beautiful deep walls with a strong current and colorful shallow corals. I love teaching so I did my instructor course in 2019. I love working with beginners to professionals and showing people a whole new world and lifestyle.  

I moved to Malta to experience different kinds of diving. I am looking forward to more deep dives and all of the wrecks there are to explore. So far my favorite wreck is El-Faroud and my favorite finds are Pellegrin nudibranchs. 

Open Water Scuba Instructor

Emergency First Response Instructor

Specialty Instructor: Wreck, Deep & Nitrox

Kayla Harmse
Divemaster in Training

The minute I did my first dive in 2018 in Indonesia, I was hooked. I knew from that day on, this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I completed my PADI open water in 2019 in The Philippines, I loved every second of it but sadly couldn't continue on this amazing path besides for a few dives here or there. Now is my time!! I am so excited to move to Malta to experience the amazing diving sites and to work with an amazing team.

Soska & Fiero
Complaints Managers

So, our ever popular Complaints Managers are Martin's Rottweilers Soska and Fiero. They are happy to deal with any complaints you may have but are easily distracted by cats, bones or anything edible. They enjoy eating, walking and sleeping. They are yet to try diving in Malta but as the saying goes: Don't hold ya breath!

Specialties: Eating, Destroying indestructable toys, Sleeping & Cat Awarness

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