One of the first things my instructors mentioned to me when I arrived at Two Fish Divers is that in the diving industry plans change all the time. Safe to say that’s been very true for my Divemaster course. It’s not just down to dive centre logistics either, it can be simple things like a sinus infection which mean you spend rather more time with your books. Now that I’ve been back in the water for a few days, let me tell you what’s been going on.
So there I finally was, arriving in Nusa Lembongan, to begin my much anticipated journey on the divemaster course. After planning the trip for months, and packing up everything I had in the States, I was ready to start what has so far been a delightful yet challenging adventure. The first couple of days were absolute paradise. I started with fun dives in the morning witnessing some of the most alluring marine life I have ever seen, then spent the afternoons reading by the pool, and watching the harlequin sunset over the beach. But of course, this couldn’t last forever, some work had to be involved in getting my divemaster certification.
I finished my DMT on the 10th with one of the most memorable and insanely overwhelmingly beautiful display of manta life I’ve witnessed, or even my mentor Rowan has witness. A 65 minute dive where we undertook some unknown swim throughs, slipping in and out of overhangs as the swell ebbed and flowed, using it to our advantage. As it picked up we decided this might not be the best idea anymore as we were moving sometimes 3 meters at a time with it. Unable to hide from it, Unable to fight it, it brought us where IT wanted us to go.
This week in Lembongan… It’s been an eventful week over here on Nusa Lembongan; our divemaster trainee Eanna McAtamney, completed his 6 week course. We have had some up and down water temperatures which normally starts to happen with the seasonal change of the currents. With these changing currents, visibility at the manta dive sites has been a little low, but it has not scared the manta rays away. Some dives, divers have reported seeing 10+ manta rays and staying around for most of the dive.
After a few days of fun diving and completing his PADI EFR and Rescue course in Bunaken, Tristan has now embarked on his Divemaster course here at Two Fish Divers, which will also take him to our Lembeh resort in a few weeks. Until then, he’s getting to grips with dive logistics, among other things.
Week three and four passed with the blink of an eye.
These weeks I have been, assisting on open water courses, advanced open water courses, scuba refreshers and servicing equipment, every morning in the ocean was immediately followed by hours under the glaring sun in the pool or sheltered in our maintenance room tinkering with the devices one needs for the survival of the gill-less underwater. Following on from days like this, its been nose to paper (not difficult for a nose of my calibre) completing knowledge reviews from PADI’s dive master manual, studying the ocean mechanics and the history of diving in PADI’s Diving Encyclopaedia. The amount of information taken on in such a short amount of time has been a bit tricky at times, but its been the most fun I’ve ever had in terms of learning before.
So there I was, my first day after arriving in Nusa Lembongan, sweating, thirsty and in need of an ice cold coconut to rehydrate the never ending perspiration that comes with living in Indonesia, i was ready to start what can only be described as a life altering course.
I had been her for 5 weeks prior to this, travelling, surfing and the inevitable dose of party thrown in the mix. Deciding to do my Rescue course, and further than that, my DMT with Two fish in Lembongan was a decision I had been weighing up for almost two months and now it was to become my reality.
As the New Year begins, you may be starting to prepare yourself for that dream career-change or gap-year with the New Year’s resolution of becoming a PADI Divemaster. If so, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the different options that you have.
Whilst working through all the different options, one big question may come to mind – should you pay or work off your DM internship?
Week 3 of my dive master training was full of tests and assessments, in the water and on land.
One experience that stands out is the equipment exchange underwater which would be a little tricky even without instructors causing a few extra problems. Not to mention underwater mapping which is definitely a fun experience – you think you’ve drawn the dive site on your underwater slate and then you look at it on the surface and can’t make sense of it!
Although most of my Divemaster course in Bunaken is done, this week I had a chance to spend a few days at our sister resort in Lembeh.
My last week in Bunaken has been a real rollercoaster of activities, involving a Project Aware beach clean up, lots of fun dives, a hair cut (!) and my snorkel test to celebrate finishing my course.
It’s been a week since I arrived at Two Fish Divers in Bunaken, where I plan to complete my PADI Divemaster course. Here are first impressions: the course sure keeps me busy, but I still managed to read a business magazine (old habits die hard!) in the evening to fall asleep. I have opted for a condensed three-week programme which has been off to a full-on start.
One of my favourite things to do so far has been practising the 24 basic dive skills and learning more about teaching other divers. Personally, I have been diving for four years already, which turns out to be long enough to pick up a few bad habits. If my first week is anything to go by, this course will definitely help me get back on track.
What a way to start the third week of my divemaster course in Bunaken! After surfacing from a fantastic dive, our captain tells us there’s been a pod of dolphins swimming by. He drives the boat over to where a pod of around 20 dolphins are cruising. They start playfully swimming with the boat for about 10 minutes or so before deciding they’ve had enough and we part ways. Wow!
As a Divemaster you need to be prepared to deal with stressful situations, and this week during my divemaster course in Bunaken I was put through my stess test. During the stress test myself and my buddy, one of Two Fish’s Indonesian dive guides, had to swap all our equipment underwater while buddy-breathing (one regulator between two divers) and being ‘challenged’ by our instructors. I’m not really someone who ever feels stressed but this was quite difficult at times, especially when they’re constantly spraying bubbles in your face or stealing your mask!
Having never dived before I decided to go “zero to hero”, from non-diver to Divemaster, with Two Fish and complete my Divemaster course in Bunaken. Why? Mainly because my dad had always loved diving and from his stories I knew I would too (I also wanted to get away from the miserable British weather), so I swapped England for sunny Sulawesi.
My twelve-day stay in Lembeh, the final station of my Divemaster internship, is unfortunately coming to an end soon. I took here the specialty course on “Underwater Navigation”
My second week in Bunaken has also been very productive and rewarding! I took three specialty courses: Fish-Identification (with instructor Dion), Search and Recovery (with instructor Dom) and Underwater Naturalist (with instructor Tina).
Time has come for me to move to Bunaken (North Sulawesi), which is the next location of my Divemaster internship. I actually chose to do my Divemaster internship with TwoFish Divers because of the fact that it can be done in several fantastic locations in Indonesia. Another clear benefit of this multi location approach is that it also allows the trainee to interact with, and profit from the experience of, a larger pool of instructors, as well as to experience the day-to-day activities of dive centres with different characteristics. Therefore, after my first two weeks in Lombok, I will continue now my training in Bunaken. My third, and last, training location will be Lembeh!
The first two weeks of my Dive Master course went by in the blink of an eye, can’t believe I’m halfway through already! To give you an idea about this 2-week-blink I’ll tell you about my experiences so far.
The first half of my Divemaster was in Sanur, Bali mainland, where I started with 4 days of theory and skills practice in the pool with my instructor Reuben. During these days I learned that performing a skill and demonstrating one is a whole different story and how much control in diving I have yet to gain.
The first fortnight of my DM training as come to a close, along with my time on Nusa Lembongan. It’s with mixed feelings that I head to Two Fish on Bunaken to continue the course: excitement at experiencing new dive sites and working with different instructors yet a sadness in saying goodbye to the fantastic team here, just as I had begun to settle in and get to know everyone and how things work.
This week I continued my tech diving training with the TDI Deco Procedures course with Dom. I planned two 45m dives with decompression stops. I did those dives in Sidemount which I like much more than the backmounted twinsets. I also practiced a lot of tech skills. Now I know the basics of tech diving :). I really enjoyed the course. Dom is a really experienced instructor and I can only recommend doing this courses with him.
The last two weeks of my PADI divemaster training in Lembongan has been truly amazing. I have barely seen such a variety of dive sites that can be explored all from just one dive center!
One day the boat could be heading north to one of the sites with beautiful corals, an abundance of reef fish as well as the occasional turtle and on the next day the boat may head south to find the mantas, the seahorse at crystal bay and if lucky also a mola mola.
Last week I tried some technical diving in the pool and the “tech-fever” caught me. So I decided to take some technical courses with Dom. I started with the TDI Advanced Nitrox course. The theory is really interesting. I also planned my first dive to 40m with a stage cylinder. During this dive I saw some big tunas and a black tip shark. Dom also practized a lot of tech-drills with me. I am looking forward to the next course which will be TDI Deco Procedures.
What a week! Even though I’ve only been here for a week, it feels like I’ve been here for months already because I have experienced so much to fill a whole book. Of course I’m gonna spare you the details 😉