When I was thinking of a name for this blog, BayWatch seemed obvious. Being that I teach a lot of the time, I spend most of my time there, in the shallows for skills and on the house reef for open water dives. However, whether by accident or planning, it would seem that increasingly when I write these blogs, I’ve been out on a boat. Not that I am complaining, especially at this time of year! This week I have outdone myself though, and today is day six as a guide on our live aboard VIP One!
My group are a dive centre from the UK who normally join us as daily boat divers, so it’s a change of scenery for all of us.
The week so far has gone from the utter chaos of getting everyone kitted up, checked in and allocated a cabin to the serenity of early morning dives as the only divers on a reef.
From a working point of view, it’s hard. My hat goes off to people who do this every day. It’s like having 16 people living in your house for a week. I feel Iike a walking alarm clock for most of the day, from waking people in the morning to ringing the dinner bell, that’s all me. Second on my list of duties is act like a walking fish guide. Any dive guide dreads the old “what’s that fish, you know, the blue little one” question, but I’m at it all day. However, all those hours browsing fish books has paid off as they have yet to out-fox me …..
Logistics aside, lets get to the important stuff… The diving. It’s great. Really great. Until today, we hadn’t seen another diver in the water all week. The reefs take on a whole new persona when visited in a different way to usual. Be it the timings or the fact we have the luxury of zodiacs, each reef seems to have been given a boost.
Back on the boat is really where I need to concentrate my efforts though. It’s my job to make sure my guests not only enjoy their diving, but are happy in their floating hotel. Dinner is finished, but just as I take my catering manager hat off, a quick rifle through my bag throws out my entertainment managers hat. A few games of pictionary later, and narrowly avoiding having to morph into security manager due to some blatant cheating, housekeeping is called upon to find someone in engineering to fix a broken light. Writing this, occasionally sneaking a look out the window at Jackson reef, is the most time I’ve had to myself all week!
How do I sum up the live aboard life? If you can’t multi-task, this is not the job for you.
(However if you like your food, this is definitely your calling! After every dive there is food. And lots of it. After the second day, I’m hungry at the mention of a dive briefing. By day 4 I swear one guest is only diving to fill the time between meals. Pavlov, and your dogs, eat your heart out!)