One of the main qualities you need to work for a large dive centre in Egypt is the ability to be very flexible and quick thinking. The first part I’m very good at, but the second I struggle with before my second coffee of the morning, and this morning is a perfect example. On turning up to work it seems everything has changed.

What with a sick instructor and a few no-show guests, we have to change everything around. Because one of my colleagues is booked for a repeat guest tomorrow, she can’t carry on with the course that now has no instructor, so it’s all up to me. Taking on someone else’s course half way through is not ideal, but because the college has such good instructor standards, I’m not worried. It’s more important that the guests understand the situation and feel comfortable with me, especially as they took their first dives with someone else yesterday. It’s an Advanced course, so today we are on the boat. And this is where the second coffee could have come in handy…..

My scheduled work for today was a house reef dive, so after I finished my check dive yesterday, I left all my various diving paraphernalia hanging around in no particular place, thinking I would have time to wander around gathering everything together. However, with short notice, and guests to chat to, I find myself in a blind panic. Wet suit is located hanging up (remembered to do something then!), bikini found on my locker and a quick hunt for my towel reveals I left it in the shower room! So off we head, just going Local, so a nice easy day to be had.

Heading to the Gardens, we cover all the knowledge reviews needed and before we know it are headed over the drop off at Fiddle to do the deep dive. My guests are experienced divers who have already completed some dives at 30m so it’s not a big deal for them, which means we get to enjoy the dive. After completing the required skills it’s a nice gentle return to the line. The second dive is my favourite – Fish ID. Briefed, with slate in hand, we head off, sneaking in before everyone else to ensure we get a quiet dive site! They are all there – Napoleon, Parrot fish, the resident stone fish and some lovely goat fish in the shallows. It’s just at the end I spot something I haven’t seen before (and that doesn’t happen too often).

Fish ID experts will know that Starfish can lose a leg or two and they will grow back. A little know fact is that the detached leg with also become a fully grown starfish eventually. Until now, this is something I’ve never seen. But just as we are about to ascend I spot it… a very disproportionate Starfish. One leg is very long compared to the rest, but is normal size. The other legs are obviously the ‘new’ starfish and are tiny. MY guests think I have lost the plot… yes it’s a lovely starfish, but really, not that great… It’s only on the surface, when I can explain the rarity of what they have seen, combined with interest from instructors and other guests alike, they start to understand.

I’ve always found it funny that it doesn’t matter what someone is looking at, or how exciting they find it, if it’s something rare they will gloat for as long as possible!