Sleep ins are already a thing of the past, if you think you get up early as a diving guest, you can count yourself lucky. It never occurred to me all the jobs that have to be done before divers arrive, from tank filling, loading the boat, crew lists, food, paperwork preparation… and THEN the guests get here. Its madness (in my head), as I run around trying to help, but suspect that at the moment I’m more of a hindrance. However, once the boat-diving guests leave, the centre returns to its idyllic atmosphere and those teaching here today are left to it.
Dave, my Instructor, is starting an Open Water course today, so we do some paperwork with the guests and then sit them in one of the air-conditioned classrooms and start the theory sessions with a DVD. It turns out that Dave is the companies’ resident Course Director, which means he teaches Divemasters the art of becoming fully-fledged Instructors, so I couldn’t be in better hands.
If I was expecting a relaxing start, I’m sadly mistaken. This lull when the guests are otherwise occupied gives Dave enough time to start teaching me what I’m assured is an essential part of the course – Knot tying. Being a ‘keep looping it until it looks like a knot’ type of girl, this will be a challenge.
After a few repetitions of ‘up the hole, round the tree, down the hole’ I figure out that the rabbit should actually go behind the tree not in front and hey presto, I’ve tied my first ever Bowline! Yey me. One down and it’s onto half hitches. This time, relying on some nearby furniture, I attempt to recreate what Dave has done, with a surprising amount of success.
Feeling triumphant, we are ready for the guests. After listening intently as they go through knowledge reviews (I’ve been told that guests may use me as an alternative to Dave if they have a question later on) we move into the pool. As I sit on the edge, watching the thorough briefing, I can feel the butterflies building…
My role at this point is simply to watch and learn, and I find it fascinating to watch the sense of achievement students feel with every completed skill. All too soon, it’s my turn to actually help, and it’s my job to demonstrate the Giant Stride Entry (after a polished performance from Dave) and as I step off the platform I’ve got terrible scenarios playing out in my head. Face plant? Catch my fin? Lose my mask?…any of which will result in ridicule from the people who are finished for the day and casually looking towards the pool with interest.
I swear everyone holds a collective breath as I launch myself in. I hit the water, sure that my performance was as elegant as any ballet dancer, but on surfacing the water displacement suggests this was not the case!
Sorry Dave, I’ll do better next time………