26 Feb Becoming a Divemaster…
When I started at Joe’s, I had just 14 logged dives and my Advanced course under my belt, so I started by working towards attaining the Divemaster course prerequisites: getting my logged dive count up to 40 and completing the Rescue & EFR courses.
Before I knew it, the Divemaster course was in full swing! I did a lot of my practical work with Eby, who is an excellent teacher. She would always give me a clear briefing in the morning before the guests arrived of what we were doing that day, what she expected from me and helped me come up with the best plan to deliver a great of diving for the guests.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to get hands on experience of running diving days for the guests. On one of such days, Markus our inhouse Course Director, myself and Chris, another DM candidate, were on a trip with two experienced customers, plus Catur, one of our other instructors at Joe’s. The lady was a Rescue diver and her husband was an Instructor, so we figured it would be a couple of lovely relaxing dives for everyone.
We went down at about 20m at Padang Bai and we had an unusually strong down current coming from the wall between Blue Lagoon and Turtleneck, which seemed to pick up momentum out of nowhere as the group started making our way back to the boat. Fellow divers around is were holding onto rocks or coral to avoid being swept off course. As we ascended, we noticed a strong surface current pulling us away from the boat, making it hard work trying to go against it to get back to the boat.
I kept looking over at our guests to make sure they were ok, but soon noticed that they were starting to struggle. So I offered to my help the lady by giving her a tank tow and Chris did the same with the gentleman. She seemed to be quite relaxed, as she was still assisting me with the tow by kicking her fins so we reached the boat quickly. But her husband seemed to be deteriorating and going into a state of passive panic. When they reached the boat, he clung onto the boom and didn’t want to let go.
I assured the lady that Chris and Catur would take of her husband and quickly helped her out of her equipment and onto the boat to clear room for her husband to come through. The guys had helped remove his weights and inflated his BCD fully but he still refused to let go of the boom, so I held on to the ladder with one hand and stretched out my other hand towards him and asked him if he wanted to grab on to it so I could pull him from the boom to the ladder.
Although he was hesitant, he took my hand and I’ll never forget the look of sheer trust in his eyes that he gave me in that moment. I quickly pulled him to the ladder, stripped his BCD faster than I’ve ever removed anyone’s equipment and he was back safe on the boat.
Although two incredibly experienced instructors were with us at the time, they both read the situation and knew that we, their Divemaster trainees, were dealing with it already, so they took a step back to observe, ready to help at any given moment should we have needed it.
When we were back at the shop, the couple were so thankful for the help we offered and said that they felt really safe with us. The lady pressed a $10 bill into my hand and said we should buy ourselves a few beers on them tonight. It was both Chris and mines first ever diving tip and it was such a sweet moment, Markus suggested that we should split the tip by literally ripping it in two and keeping one half each to remember that moment. We still had a few beers that night though!
So I’m finally a Divemaster, what’s next?
I’m heading back to the UK soon for a couple of months and I intend to take the STCW course, which is the The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, where I will receive training that would allow me to work on a liveaboard diving boat. After this, I’m coming back to Bali to take the Instructor course with Joe’s and pursue a career as a scuba professional for the foreseeable future. The joy of being in the ocean every day and helping people discover the amazing world of scuba is exactly what I want to do!