It’s a couple of check dives for me and as my guests arrive it is apparent that I have two kids in the group. On chatting to the dad, it appears it’s just the kids diving today. Unusually, Dad isn’t a diver at all and rarely puts a toe in the water! He goes on to tell me that the girls learnt on a school trip a couple of years ago and have been bugging him to bring them to the Red Sea because their instructor told them what a great place it is to dive. Poor dad has been regularly begged by the two (admittedly very cute) until he gave in. Apparently last year, on announcing the family were going to Lanzarote on their summer holiday, the kids threatened to disown their parents.
He seems in good humour today though, and the girls are like little Ribena-Berries, so excited at the prospect of getting in the water. We put two suits on them because they are small and will get cold quicker than an adult, but also girls are normally fantastic on their air consumption, so the dive could be a long one! As I start to explain the few skills we will be practicing, they finish the description of each one, almost word for word as I would have done, given the chance. I suspect the PADI Open Water Manual has been their bedtime reading for some weeks.
Heading into the water, with masks on, they have a quick look in the water and as they scream with joy they don’t realise that half the beach has just turned to look at them. Snorkels will carry sound a surprisingly long way. Once we have descended, the skills are a walk in the park, and as we start swimming I notice they are holding hands. How sweet. I’m not normally keen on divers holding hands as it can lead to one diver compensating for the other in things such as buoyancy, but these two are doing it for fun! We begin the hunt for fish and luckily that’s not a hard job on the house reef. It’s not long before they are surrounded and are trying to get each-others attention constantly as species after species comes past to check them out. They start small, butterfly fish and antheas, but then progress to parrotfish and groupers. In the corner of my eye I spot the Napoleon fish and just as I’m about to go towards him I have second thoughts. Daddy Napoleon is bigger than at least one of the girls, would it scare them? But with this fish being so awesome I decide I’ll show them but stay nice and close just in case! As it turns out I needn’t have worried. Before I know it, the Napoleon has manouvered his way between me and the girls and they are just staring, wide-eyed, as he slowly moves past, his characteristic eye flicking between the two of them.
We head back and the minute they lift their heads from the water they are shouting what they saw to Dad, who is relaxing at the waters’ edge. I can see from the look on his face he thinks the ‘big turquoise fish’ is an exaggeration, but to his surprise I have to back the kids up this time!
Never work with animals or children? Rubbish, they are the most grateful!