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, first things first: as far as the theory goes – knowledge reviews and exams – I’m already a Divemaster! That’s mostly because I had to spend a week out of the water waiting for a sinus infection to clear. Boring, but nothing much to be done about it other than seeing a doctor for some advice and sitting it out.
Now that I’m back in the water, I have started getting some more guiding experience by leading the ‘tour portions’ of teaching dives. A highlight was managing to bring back a night dive to the boat even after the marker light had long been switched off. However, during a day dive I have found myself rather lacking when one of the very experienced guides pointed at an area asking me to spot what was there. I must have looked blankly and received a rather disappointed look. And, no, he didn’t show me what was there. Must do better!
As I’m combining my divemaster course with a range of speciality courses I embarked on perfecting my use of surface marker buoys or DSMBs. To date, I’d sent mine up once, managing to wrap my foot in it and making it to the surface rather unexpectedly. Turns out my reel is overcomplicating the process and even making it a bit dangerous! After a minor adjustment involving a pair of pliers and brute force as well as practice with three different SMB and reel set-ups, I can now comfortably send up my DSMB without it either flying out of my hand or me joining it for it rather rapid upwards journey.
Overall, I have to say I’m beginning to understand the requirements of a dive professional and how much attention is needed to guide and help divers, especially those not so experienced. Learning the skills needed to help others is highly beneficial. However, the serious question I am asking myself at this stage is whether I really want to pursue a career in the dive industry? Looking out for an experienced buddy whilst getting lost within the reef is one thing, but witnessing how easy it is for a new open water student to fin the wrong way and go towards the surface is quite another. I now realise that when assisting on a course or supervising inexperienced divers, little time can be spared for pottering around looking at a feather star or staring at a coral formation marvelling at the complexity of what is occurring.
The divemaster course so far has been enlightening and great fun, too, and whether I end up diving for a living or not I am learning new skills every day that can only make me a better diver for myself and others.