Introducing someone to the world of diving is a very satisfying part of this job, but it can also be very hard work. People who know they definitely want to dive tend to sign up for the full PADI Open Water course and, in my experience at least, the drop-out rate is incredibly low. Introductory dives however tend to be a bit more hit and miss. There are many reasons why people sign up to intros; just not sure if they’ll like it to the more extreme end where they are trying to get over a childhood water incident (happens more than you’d think!). Because of this, I’ve learnt my day will be much easier if I figure out their motivation early, as this will dictate how I run the intro. For example, if someone is trying to get over a fear, then often they simply want to be submerged in the water and be able to swim around for a few minutes. To them, its not about the fish, it’s about achieving something out of the experience, and who am I to say that is wrong?
Today I have a young lady who simply wants to tick and box and say she’s dived. With no water or fish phobia, she wants some pictures to show her friends and then she’s off to go Kitesurfing! It turns out she’s making a little whirlwind tour and fitting in as much as possible. Apparently trip to the Ice Bar a few nights ago was her highlight so far, so I make it my mission to ensure her diving experience climbs to the top!The reef is alive (as always!)
We are quickly in the water and away! While I hold on to her and control her buoyancy, all she has to do is swim, preferably not to quick, because I’ve got to multitask on this dive. She seems very relaxed, quickly pointing out fish that I’ve missed, and gets particularly excited when we just kneel on the bottom by the back reef and watch the fishy world go by. I won’t lie, I’m glad of the break – even the smallest person is very hard to control underwater – although it could be worse, we can take two of them at a time and it becomes hard when each one has different ideas and you have no spare arms to help!
The attractions today are the normal suspects; parrot fish, pipefish and butterfly fish all make an appearance, but on the swim back I realise how much I take for granted. The ‘usual suspects’ are not ‘usual’ to any more than a few of us privileged instructors, who get the honour of doing this every day (well, near enough!).
As we finish up she starts asking how long it would take to do the PADI Open Water course, and ways she can jig around things she’s already booked to fit it in. Yey, another convert to the underwater world.
Have that Ice Bar!