You’ll have to forgive me for the delay in blogging but I’ve just come up for air after my first two weeks of being a Divemaster trainee (DMT). Overall, it’s been fun and exciting but mostly it’s been like breathing from a free-flowing regulator; it’s certainly possible but there is so much air that you miss as it blows past you. I’m trying to take in as much as possible but there is so much to learn! No longer a fun diver, I’ve been learning how the shop operates, where to find gear, when to empty the wash basins, and generally, finding my rhythm amid the tides of the Devocean shop.
My first major task was to learn the theory and science behind diving. It’s critical that you understand the relationship between depth, pressure, volume and density. Of course you learn much of the basics during your Open Water course, Emergency First Response and Rescue course but the Divemaster manual is a deep dive in this area. I quickly remember why it was that I went into communications; science and math were never my forte. This experience has been like a return to high school science class; thankfully with less acne and awkward dates. With the help of my instructor Steff, who has 10 years of dive experience, I learn the theory and pass the exam easily.
The manual also covers the role of a Divemaster, how to supervise students, dive equipment, and risk management. One of the most unexpected things I’ve learned is that much of the role of a Divemaster is to assist an Instructor, not just to guide fun divers. While assisting an instructor is not an overly common practice in most shops, learning how to assist certainly sets you up well to become an instructor. In just two weeks, I’ve been fortunate to assist various instructors teaching a number of different courses including a Discover Scuba Diving, Re-activate, Adventure Deep Dive, Advanced Open Water and a Rescue course. One of the best ways to learn how to be a good Divemaster is to watch, listen and practice. While everyone operates according to PADI standards, Divemasters and Instructors demonstrate skills, guide dives and teach students with slight differences in their approach. By watching them and asking plenty of questions, I’ve been learning different techniques and blending them together to form my own method.
Without a doubt, the best part of the last few weeks has been the time I’ve spent in the water shadowing other dive guides. Now as a DMT, I’m paying greater attention to their dive briefings and taking careful notes of their site routing. The experience has been like clearing a foggy mask. I now see the task of guiding more clearly. I also love meeting new divers, sharing experiences, and generally, making sure they have a great experience. Whether it’s a diver who needs a fin strap tightened or one who needs a bit of encouragement to descend, I’ve enjoyed being an extra set of eyes and hands above and below the water. Just today, I noticed one diver who was overweighed; his body upright and working hard to be neutrally buoyant. I was able to correct the weight and he was perfectly horizontal for the second dive. He thanked me noting that his dives will be much more enjoyable in the future. A great reward for me!
Two weeks into the Divemaster course, the learning curve has been steep and sometimes, there’s been a strong current. But if this is a dive, there is plenty of beautiful coral and lots of rare aquatic life. Put simply, it’s reinvigorating to learn so much new information about something you love to do. On that note, it’s probably time that I get back to work!