This week, I moved locations to continue learning in Bunaken, and its beautiful coral walls and incredible diversity of marine species has blown me away. It’s impossible not to enjoy my divemaster training when the ocean world here provides such an impressive backdrop. My classroom is a vibrantly blue ocean meeting against seemingly endless walls of corals. The edges of these two landscapes are stitched together by an array of colorful butterflyfish, damselfish, triggerfish, and even sea turtles swimming along the reef.
Yet this beautiful ocean world isn’t the only thing drawing my focus. This week I’ve been learning about assisting in different PADI courses and programs. I feel like everything I’ve been learning is coming together and being put in context. We started with a workshop for the discover scuba diving program. Discover scuba diving is a great opportunity for people who are interested in diving to try it out without having to commit to an entire scuba course. For our workshop, instead of having real students, my instructor and another dive guide acted out the part of students, giving me a stress-free chance to see how the program is run. I was able to test out what I had learned the week before, by demonstrating different scuba skills to my pretend students, and seeing if I could coach them to perform the skills themselves. It was a great chance for me to practice these demonstrations while learning more about PADI programs. It was also just fun to watch my instructor pretend to not know how to scuba dive.
During the second half of the week, I had the opportunity to help out with a real open water course. It was awesome to see the open water course from a new perspective and to see how the things I’ve learned apply in a real scenario. Although our student, Laura, was so comfortable in the water already that she made it all look easy. The course started with two pool sessions, focused on learning and getting comfortable with different scuba skills. My role was to help demonstrate or perform a skill if it required a buddy and to assist whenever else needed. Laura easily completed all the skills and then it was time for the ocean! The four open water dives, were also a chance for me to get more comfortable with how to help divers, learning when it’s better to let them practice problem-solving themselves versus when it’s time to step in and help. Overall, assisting in the open water course really gave me a better understanding of the role of a divemaster and it was awesome to welcome a new diver to the underwater world.
Between all of the hands-on learning and taking in the beauty of Bunaken’s dive sites, this week has been full of amazing experiences. It’s incredible to do my divemaster training in a place full of so much ocean life. Whether it’s seeing reef sharks in the depths, watching a sea turtle nestle into its coral bed, or taking on a new step towards becoming a divemaster, I’m loving every part of my time here in Bunaken.