Just as I thought it was safe to breathe a sign of relief and wave goodbye to the last of the kids as they head back to school, it turns out the Icelandic holidays are not quite finished! Hence I have a couple of kiddies with me today for a Bubblemaker. I do get to breathe that sigh of relief when it turns out the parents aren’t divers, so that means the kids want to do this themselves. That’s always a good start!After a thorough briefing of the very basics, we head out into the water. Even though both are pretty much my height, they do need a hand to the beach. Once in the water however, it become easy, although experience has taught me is much easier to put the fins and masks on kids this young, letting them do it themselves quickly turns into a scene something like trying to put an octopus into a jam jar.
Once kitted up and re-briefed (just to make sure) I deflate them and off we go. For them, its just like swimming in a fish tank, and the fact they are only a metre underwater makes no difference. I watch as, predictably, they reach out to try and touch the fish (not realising they look closer than they are!) and as they get more comfortable my job really starts. Imagine taking two great danes for a walk. Both dogs/kids want to go in opposite directions to get closer to the cat/fish they can currently see. I’m a jumble of arms and legs within minutes and every muscle I have is screaming out after 10 minutes. So I come up with a cunning plan, well used and tested I might add! I bring them up to ‘check they are ok’ and then suggest that if they hold hands they can squeeze each other when they see something cool, thus alerting the other so no-one misses anything. They seem delighted at the idea (some siblings would rather poke their eyes out than hold hands) and we descend down once more. The rest of their experience is a far gentler one, for me at least, as they point with wonder at the parrot fish, banner fish and the occasional squid. We are so lucky to have all this on our doorstep and in water shallow enough for them.
As soon as I have the equipment off they disappear up the beach to tell their parents what they saw. Left with 3 sets of kit, I look around and realise that will be my job then. After a few runs, and my shortie tan looking spectacular, I’m just rinsing everything when I feel a presence. Looking round, I see my two Bubblemakers thrusting log books at me and wanting to ‘log their dive’. They must have overheard other students and rushed their poor parents straight to the dive shop!
So my next half hour is spent with a fish book, 2 excited children and a flurry of handsignals. Much as I’m not a children kinda person, these two have grown on me. However, can I hand them back now?