This week there’s been sharks, sharks and more sharks. And what have I been up to all week…..Diving the bay! Life is so unfair sometimes. My Advanced course students are diving from the bay today and they are really looking forward to it, having only ever dived in Tenerife, where apparently the sea life is not quite as abundant as it is here.
They have been planning this holiday for a year, and as such have turned up as my most prepared students ever. Having read the manual from cover to cover over the last few months, they have filled out every knowledge review they could and present me with their completed manuals before they’ve even checked in. Every instructor loves a keen student, so I start the day with a smile on my face.
When I explain that we will be in the bay today, they look a little disappointed. “But we had planned to do Deep, Fish ID and Wreck dives today”. Ah, the down side of keen rears its ugly head. I’ve learnt in life never to make too many plans, as you invariably feel let down when they get changed, but this is especially true in diving. Wind, visibility, boat failures and many other things can all conspire to ruin your perfectly planned day, and this is why flexibility and the ability to think on your feet is so important in Sharm!
I explain to them that after not diving for a while, it is wise to dive the bay for many reasons. I also add the fact that doing the Deep dive as a first dive is rarely wise, for the student or instructor, as the student needs to be relaxed and settled into their diving ‘stride’.
Reassured that an easy beach day is the best option all around, we get ready to dive. They have remembered everything with their kit, which is great, and they obviously know the dive requirements better than I do! For the first dive, Peak Performance Buoyancy, we stay in the sandy shallows and apart from the occasional swim past, we aren’t exactly swarmed by wild-life, which is probably best as my two are too busy trying to hover in a remarkable amount of positions to notice anything apart from their bubble direction.
For the Navigation dive we head out to the same area, all ready and practiced, and descend down to start the timed swim. At that point, my normally focused students appear to lose the plot and both stare at the surface. It’s only when I get a bit closer, I see the squid they are mesmerised by. After a few minutes, I have their attention again and we carry on. At the point where they are attempting to navigate a reciprocal heading, the napoleon makes an appearance. During the square, an eagle ray swoops by for a look. And on the natural navigation back to the beach, they are distracted one last time, as the Spanish mackerel come past, on mass with their mouths open.
As we go through the plan for tomorrow, I can’t help but ask what they thought of today. I know I biased when I say I love the bay, but the answer was still a surprise…… “Can we give the boat a miss tomorrow and go from here instead?”
Sadly, I’m going to have to let them down gently! Especially if they still want to do Boat dive!