Yesterday after two very good morning dives where I assisted on taking out fundivers I sat down with Course Director Chris (who’s taking care of the DMT program and looking after all of us DMTs). We signed my application for PADI, shook hands and had the mandatory Facebook picture taken and by that I was suddenly a real divemaster!
I had planned for a relaxed afternoon in preparation for the snorkel test last night (which I survived and will tell more about in a few days – apologies for breaking the chronological order the next couple of days) but whilst sat with Chris I was asked if I wanted to take out a fundiver for the afternoon dives meaning that I would actually earn money while diving.
Doing a real divemaster job was the perfect ending to my divemaster course (or the beginning to my divemaster career?)!
Getting that oppurtinity was a dream come true but it also stressed me out quite a lot. Forget about all the other tests I’ve done during the course, this was probably the most important one even though I wouldn’t be evaluated by anybody besides myself (but I might also be the worst person to evaluate me). There isn’t much time between coming back from the morning dives and going out on the afternoon dives and I had to squeeze in both eating a quick lunch, doing the paperwork for PADI and then suddenly also preparing to take out a fundiver so it felt pretty hectic for me. Maybe a tad too hectic as I’ll now tell you what NOT to do when doing your first ever divemaster job!
24 hours later I’m still so embarrassed by it that I’m seriously contemplating cutting this part out of the blog post but I want this blog to be as honest as possible and maybe in a few months it will seem like a funny story to me. Oh don’t worry it’s not that bad I’m just easily embarrassed. Well after meeting the guy I was taking out on the fundive and making sure that all the equipment was sorted out I sat down with Tyler to have some advice on which way to go on the dive sites. I was told the dive sites would be Twins and Japanese Gardens (probably the two dive sites I know the best) so I actually felt quite comfortable and just wanted some last minute advice. Next time I looked up the trucks for my boat had left and thus began the most stressed out minutes for me. How did I manage to miss getting on the truck with my fundiver and what on earth would I do now? (And if I couldn’t even master the simplest thing how would I be able to take out a fundiver and be responsible for us getting back to the boat?) Luckily one of the instructors helped me out and he seemed only a little annoyed with me so my fundiver and I made it to the boat where I tried to shake off the feeling of being completely retarded.
When I then was told that we would go to Laem Thian and Hin Ngam instead it all felt even more stupid as the whole preparation with Tyler was a waste of time. I had only been to Laem Thian twice before and never been responsible for navigating there so it made me a little nervous. I think I did quite good with my briefing (so happy I did one more workshop on briefing and guiding a few days ago where I smashed the briefing!) and after a long boatride it was time to get in the water. He was a perfect first diver to take out as his diving was excellent and he just followed me around without wandering off or anything. I followed the plan I had in my head until we suddenly reached an area with really bad visibility which made me change the route a little bit but we still made it make to the buoy line so I was very happy. Even more happy as I managed to find both a porcupine fish, a trigger fish and a moray eel!
The next dive was at Hin Ngam which was the dive site where Tristan, Andy and I attempted to do some mapping but ended up spending the entire dive looking for the dive site about 7 weeks ago. So when we yesterday started out by swimming for four minutes only seeing sand I was quite nervous if it would be a repeat of my previous dive there. Luckily we did end up at the actual dive site, turned 90 degrees and then followed the coastline for about 15 minutes before turning back. I managed to find a bluespotted stingray on that dive so I felt quite good. Then the only thing left was to find our way back to the boat. When we had reached the coastline in the beginning of the dive I had tried looking for something that I could recognise on the way back so I would know when to turn 90 degrees and head back into the sandy area. I hadn’t managed to find anything that standed out so my only references were the depth and the time. That unfortunately meant that we turned too late and even though I did find a buoy line it wasn’t the right one. But the surface swim we then had to do wasn’t long and the sun was shining so it wasn’t all that bad.
I don’t know exactly how my fundiver felt about the dives. His comments were mostly on that he was disappointed with the visibility which I don’t really control. So I’ve just decided to feel good about my first divemaster job and be proud that I actually could point out things to him!
So that was my first time working as a divemaster and I really hope it wasn’t the last!