My last and final week of the divemaster trainee was in Lembongan, a small island across from Bali. The switch was a little unnatural at first but turned out to be an invaluable learning experience. Guiding guests diving in current, higher guests turn around, completely different conditions and aquatic life. Indeed, on our dive yesterday we saw TWELVE manta rays! Freaking amazing!!!And now, this is the last day of my divemaster trainee… 4 weeks have gone whizzbang fast. I am trying to sum it:
– 4 weeks, 3 locations in Indonesia
– 47 dives (the equivalent of the past 5 years of diving for me)
– 4 OW, 3 AOW and 2 Rescue courses assist
– 12 manta rays, 1 eagle ray, 37 turtles and 2 mantis shrimp encounters
– 172 scuba tanks carried
– 6 guests on dives guided solo by me, 6 guests came back alive and well and happy
– 20 min of absolutely PERFECT buoyancy yesterday, like being a soul surfer and a NASA astronaut
– 1 successful ritual snorkel test and 1 liter of vodka juice gulped down the said snorkel
– 1 pair of pink fins, 1 pair of lost shoes, 1 pair of happy bare feet
The last 2 previous blogs had flip flops giving me blisters, getting forgotten then retrieved. Finally, last week they got washed away with the tide and I have given up on wearing shoes. It seems quite a good metaphor as my feet are not the only thing that ended up bare after 4 weeks.
You strip down to the bare essentials here: air to breathe. After all, what is SCUBA? Just underwater breathing stuff… My room consisted of just a creaky bed and fan, but it didn’t seem I needed much more anyway. I met a bunch of people and we were all on first name basis (only). It didn’t matter where you were from, which school you went to, who you knew. There is just you. It just matters that we all like the same thing: breathing and exploring underwater.
The whole divemaster trainee experience also makes you vulnerable in so many ways. There is nowhere to hide. Both the instructors and the guests/students are looking at your literally every move. The first, so they can help you grow, and the latter because they are looking up to you as a divemaster, a role model. As awkward as the role first seems, you grow into it eventually. Like a lobster shedding its shell, there is no growth without discomfort…So you just have to embrace the bareness…