The weeks are whizzing by on my Divemaster course. You get in that rocking rhythm of dive, eat, sleep, repeat pretty quickly and, before you know it, you’ve become a part of the dive centre. I’ve learned so much since I started, but I’d be gutted to leave already. If you’re thinking about ‘going pro’ with PADI, take as much time as you possibly can to make the most of the experience. I’m hoping a few months will make me a decent Divemaster and leave me with the confidence that I can work as a dive professional. And if I don’t end up working in the industry, I’ll at least be handy on liveaboard holidays!
Now that I’ve got a decent grounding, I feel more confident to look after people. After three weeks on the course, I was assigned as a dive guide for a couple from Switzerland on some fun dives. Paying customers, on holiday, trusting me! It felt amazing to show people new places and beautiful marine life.
In my first review of the Divemaster course, I mentioned how I wanted to share my love of the ocean with people; this experience gave me that and it’s exhilarating. If you’ve followed this blog since I started diving, you’ll know that I’ve been in love with exploring the ocean for a few years now. To look after people who have only just started diving and help them to make lasting memories gave me a happy glow: getting to talk about the ocean and the creatures who call it home is a joy. I obviously throw in my Eco missives surreptitiously too… Luckily, I’ve only come across divers with big, blue hearts so far here (and mainly decent buoyancy, phew!).
I’ve guided a couple of fun divers since then too and I found my way back to the boat both times. You’re probably thinking, ‘yeah and?’. But I’m notorious for my lack of navigation, so this marks a monumental leap forward for my underwater nav (my instructor wrote ‘WTFB?’ in my logbook when I got lost at the end of one dive… I’ll let you work that acronym out). So I’m allowing myself an air punch for leading people around a site and bringing them back to the ladder of a boat. Boom-shakalaka.
Away from having fun (how dare I?!), I’ve been assisting on courses, including a Rescue Diver course, which I remember with both dread and fondness from when I did mine a couple of years ago. Playing a panicking diver and victim is much more fun than being the rescuer, I can tell you. There are an inordinate amount of people nearly drowning in those three days… Many divers say that it’s the most rewarding course you do on a recreational level, though, as you feel in a position to help, should there ever be an emergency. *touches wood* Hopefully, I’ll never come across one, but knowing what to do makes you much calmer in the water.
Once you’re a certified Divemaster, you can also conduct Scuba Reviews or Tune-Ups for people who have been out the water for a while and need a skills refresher. I’ve been allowed to do a couple of these, which was a little taster of what being an instructor must be like. I loved the teaching aspect and seeing people feel comfy in the water after a break. Once we’d gone over 20 skills, they seemed much more excited about diving again, even if they’d been a bit reluctant to spend a couple of hours in the pool at first.
Aside from the skills drilling, I’ve attended a conservation workshop and evening presentation about Molas, or ocean sunfish, and the Marine Protected Area (MPA) around Nusa Penida. As I was lucky enough to see a couple of Molas on a dive, it was fascinating to hear about the traits of the largest bony fish in the ocean… Researchers here are currently trying to track their movements and work out why they come to Bali’s waters at this time of year. They are a truly unusual sight – their fins lay vertically on a huge, round body and they circle past you with curiosity. You might think they’re not that pretty to look at, but you know me, I’m a nature pervert and I think they’re magical.
Oh, and there’s beer. Lots of beer…
Love and bubbles (and Bintang),