More guiding for me today and it’s off to Tiran. I haven’t been for a while, so I’m looking forward to it, especially since there have been shark and dolphin sightings (don’t worry; I know it won’t happen to me!). My group on the boat is the experienced divers, so I wrap up warm knowing I’ll be in for at least 2 hour long dives. Grabbing an extra shortie, just in case, we board the boat and make a quick departure. Briefing guests seems like an easy job, but experience teaches you that you have to cater to your audience. Novice divers will need some things explained very clearly, and experienced will simply need some quick review points. When it comes to fish, you can afford to be a lot more in detail with experienced divers, with novices, it’s easy to overload them with information that is not terribly important to them. It’s about getting the right balance for your divers on any given day.
The same is true underwater. When does fish spotting become annoying to your guests? Why point out that blue spotted ray when they’ve already seen 20 this holiday? Sometimes, people get a little angry if they didn’t see one of everything on a dive and the fact that I didn’t think the 10thmoray of the dive was of interest was apparently the wrong decision. Others, and they don’t tell you beforehand, would rather be left to their own devices as they are far more interested in finding their own stuff, and me pointing it out rather ruins their day! Knowing which type you have is a skill in itself, and generalizing based on number of dives is no help either.
With my group, I decide to go with the minimalist approach as they are on their last day and have had a great week in terms of fish life spots. So I point out the first one of everything – moray, nudibranch, stone fish, grouper, fan coral, barracuda and then stop. They seem happy enough, each buddy pair seemingly engrossed in whatever they’ve found. As we sit between dives they are consulting the fish books and noting everything down in their logs. It looks like I might have got it right today! On the second dive, I bravely go one step further and decide to brief that as they all seem great at fish ID so I will offer my services up to requests. Dangerous move, but sometimes fun if the guests are self-sufficient.
Unfortunately, today this backfires somewhat. Ghost pipefish (unlikely). Frog fish (even more unlikely). Dugong (at this point I really do give up!). It seems they really have seen everything the Red Sea has to offer and are stretching my optical limits. Quietly praying I have my lucky bikini on, we get in and I know never to discount anything whilst diving in Sharm, so keep my eyes out, but it proves to be fruitless search. No great surprise, but still a lovely dive. My guests are happy, always the main aim, and congratulate me on my style of guiding.
It seems my radar was in tune, but I guarantee next week my ‘style’ will be too quick, too slow or too boring. But I take solace in that today at least, I managed to please all of the people all of the time!