Coming into the centre after taking my turn with picking the guests up from their hotels, I find my guest waiting for me already. One of my lovely colleagues had ensured they were kept amused by getting them started on the paperwork needed to start a PADI Scuba Diver course, as sadly they did not have enough time to do the full Open Water Course, but hey, they’ll still get a certification in 2 days and be able to dive all around the world, just with a few extra rules.
Her boyfriend looks a little nervous, which is strange, because it’s normally the other way round (please don’t shoot me for being sexist, it’s just the way it is!).
After a bit of theory and a thorough briefing, in the water it becomes obvious that boyfriend is not happy in these surroundings, but wants to ensure his girlfriend will be allowed to carry on if he doesn’t. This is chivalry, diving style.
With my reassurances in place, we now have a happy sunbathing male and one determined student. She’s a little shocked at the underwater breathing concept, and after a few false starts, she’s happy(ish) to kneel down.
Although not massively confident, and after some persuasion, the initial ‘safety’ skills are completed. The fantastic thing about learning to dive with PADI is that if you can clear your mask, remove water from your regulator, and subsequently find it (if you have a sudden laughing fit and it drops from your grasp -it happens!), then you are good to go for your first dive.Caught in action!
A few seconds in and the normal sand-munching parrot fish are making an appearance in the shallows. I get concerned when I hear a ‘gasp’ from my student and nearly give myself whiplash turning around. I’m slightly humbled when I realise the source of this excitement….yep, it’s the parrot fish. The same one I had almost looked through seconds before, focussing in the distance for something ‘more exciting’. Shame on me. Unfortunately this job means that we forget how lucky we are to see these amazing sights day after day. I make a mental note to myself to appreciate my ‘office’ a little more. After seeing a rather active blue spotted ray, which today, I see with child-like appreciation, it’s time for dry land. Now truly inspired, my student has asked if she can get the rest of the bookwork out of the way today so its water work only tomorrow. No problem, an afternoon of air conditioning is fine by me.
So with the sea gently calling us for another visit, it’s an afternoon of videos, knowledge reviews and tests for us. After a while, a chance quick look out the window offers me the sea, beach and a clear blue sky. It’s then that I’m reminded….I’ve been in worse classrooms!