I started today.
I am going to be working 6 days a week. On average I will be having Sunday off making an average of 2 dives per day. Pretty hard core I reckon, and brilliant.
The morning was spent, completing paperwork and disclaimers in duplicate (Elf and Safety!!). Then putting kit together in a box and being shown around the centre by Mr D., the Dive Centre Manager.
Mr D. is a really nice guy who is married to a German woman. They both have a little baby. I met another instructor Babs, known as the 'Diving Diva'. She is a typical instructor, jumping around, engaging, and motivating the white and blue collar workers to enjoy the diving and giving them a real experience. She presents as really fun, but works really hard moving tanks around, making everything safe and sorting gear.
Today was an orientation dive. If you don't know this means getting into the water in the way the instructor advises… achieving a neutral buoyancy and then doing some basic exercises. We rolled over, went upside down as a handstand and stayed there floating after pushing off from the sea bed. Swimming backwards and doing a roly-poly
It all sounds pretty easy, but it isn't. Underwater is like being on an alien planet. Concepts we take for granted, even basic functions are profoundly altered, obviously including the idea of breathing and that is just the start.
Whilst under the water I saw:
- Several wrasse (multi coloured)
- Three large grey/brown parrot fish (different from in the pet shop)
- A cuttle fish (hiding in the sand which swam off backwards as I approached it)
- Some goatfish (using their moustaches to dig in the sand and sea bed)
and a whole host of others I do not know the names of.
When we finished the dive and everyone was feeling a bit tired, Babs played a practical joke by placing a dried 'sticky' date, into a colleagues shoe to see if he would notice.
The whole group was aware, the guy walked back toward the minibus and got dressed. As he put his shoe on, the tension and excitement within the group was palpable. The put his foot on the floor and took his foot half out a few times before replacing it, as if there was just something about the shoe he could not get comfortable. In the end the shoe was rammed on.
He did it up and proceeded to get everything and everyone into the minibus. No one said a word. It was one of those school boy pranks which are so simple, yet so funny, and quite mean. How will he get her back I wonder?
My best bit of the dive: I hung suspended upside down and got all confused as a mirrored heaving shimmering film shone with rays of light from below my feet, whilst above my head fish swum past inverted below a sandy ceiling.