Another day, another diver! Today I’m going local and switching from Diving Instructor to Snorkel Guide. It’s a job that I quite enjoy, and should make a nice change. The people I’m in charge of are a family of 8 who have all travelled from various countries to enjoy a rare week together. The atmosphere is great as they obviously really miss each other and are making the most of their time together. They range from a baby (who I suspect won’t be coming in the water with us!) to the grandparents (who can’t wait to get in!).
As we get to the dive site, we let the divers get in and then we start getting our snorkelers in. It’s important to remember that they still have to be treated professionally even if they are ‘just’ snorkelling from a dive boat. Some really important safety issues have to be addressed and they are the same as when diving, but with a different take on things. Obviously boat traffic becomes an issue and snorkelers have to be aware that boat captains are not necessarily looking out for people on the surface or they can be easily overlooked if the sun is catching the water at the wrong angle. Also important is the potential effects of currents, bearing in mind people on the surface typically tire quicker that a diver underwater. With all this outlined, we all get in and I start the job of fish spotting. It’s really not that hard at any dive site in Sharm, so the excitement levels reach fever point pretty quickly. The kids are excitedly pointing at anything that moves (or threatens to), mum is having issues with how close the fish are swimming and dad is duck diving in an effort to get closer to the wildlife.
It’s at this point that I notice grandfather is frantically pointing at something, trying to show the kids, who are staring at a piece of reef in desperation. Their little faces tell me that they cannot see whatever is being shown to them. It’s a face you get used to as a Diving Instructor, so many times I’ve shown people something small or unusual that the person, for whatever reason, just cannot see it. Stone fish is a good example. “Oh, I thought you were just pointing at a pretty part of the reef”. As I approach, I can see clearly that he is pointing at a pipefish, which to be fair is pretty well camouflaged. With all the elegance I can muster (not all that much), I free dive a metre or so and manage to stay down long enough to be able to point at the creature, at which point he decides he’s had enough and swims away. Brilliant timing, as the movement means the boys can clearly see him!
As we head back, after many a snorkelling session during the day (I swear those kids will never run out of energy), and my fingers are still resembling prunes, the boys start questioning me about diving. Snorkellers are our next diving generation and I’m happy to tell them all about diving and what they have to do to be able to become a ‘proper’ diver (as they put it!).
Sorry Mum and Dad, I think they are sold on the idea. On the plus side, you’ve got a few years to save up for it!