Yesterday was my last day in Mexico for a while so I thought I better get this post out sooner rather than later!
When I started this blog I set out to become a PADI Open Water SCUBA Instructor. Well I made it! It’s been a lot of work but hugely rewarding and 4 months has blurred past at incredible speed . When I arrived in Mexico I was qualified to Advanced Open Water with Nitrox. I still had to pass Rescue Diver, Emergency First Response and Dive Master. The Instructor Development Course (IDC) seemed so very very far away. 6 months on and I have the Open Water Scuba Instructor qualification with Master Scuba Diver Trainer prep completed and Side Mount Instructor. I don’t regret the change and time invested for a second!
To anyone considering going for Rescue Diver I can definitely recommend it. It has to be the most fun and useful diving course I’ve done so far. First you learn how to look after yourself if you get into trouble then you learn how to look after others. For the first time in your diving life you will start to look beyond yourself and become aware of how other divers might be feeling, what that could lead to and how to help them before any really serious issues arise. You practice the rescue drills often enough for them to reliably kick in when they’re needed. It will give you more confidence and overall resulting in you becoming a better diver. Included in the Rescue Diver course is Emergency First Response if you don’t already have it. If you are keen my top tips here are:
- Anyone can do it. It’s not just for people looking to go professional. It’ll take you out of your comfort zone but you’ll never regret it.
- Find an instructor that regularly teaches the Rescue Diver course. All instructors are qualified to teach the course but not all instructors have the experience to do it justice and give you value while making it fun.
- A group of 4 students is the perfect number to have in a rescue course. 1 or 2 students runs the risk of being very dull while more than 6 will likely equate to many more hours in the water than are comfortable.
The Dive Master program was a real joy for me and the other guys doing the course at the same time. We had a lot of skills to master and experience to gain but I’m confident we will all remember that time as one of the most fun diving periods of our lives. Since experience can only be earned and not taught and experience was what we seriously lacked the most important task was to dive. Diving, diving and more diving. The program we signed up to allowed us to volunteer for all and every dive going as long as there was room on the boat. Some of us made the most of this while some preferred to have a little more dive/life balance. In either case we were given just enough responsibility to push us and keep things interesting while not enough to cause any real havoc. That said, there was more than one occasion where an instructor debriefed us after the dive in a less than glowing fashion. Some might even go so far as to say we got torn a new one on occasion! Completely undeserved obviously! Some things to consider before you go for Dive Master:
- Choose between working for free to earn your DM qualification or paying for a DM course. Working for free will take a lot longer and in most places you’ll work bloody hard but I’ve met many people that did this and not one of them regretted doing it this way. Paying for the course is quicker and, in my case, was a fantastic 3 months of my life diving as little or as much as I could handle.
- Do your homework before choosing a dive center to do your DM course. There’s Facebook groups such as Dive Jobs Worldwide which are full of people willing to offer opinions and help on which dive outfits are the good ones. Don’t be afraid to ask.
The Instructor Development Course (IDC) that leads onto the Instructor Exams (IE) were expected to be by far the hardest diving challenges I had faced to this point. Later on, it turns out, the biggest challenge is actually doing the job you worked so hard to get qualified to do but hey, that’s for another post! The IDC and IE are, in reality, just not that difficult if you’ve been trained well as a Dive Master. You do need to be willing to put in a bit of study and preparation time. There’s already loads of info on the net about what’s involved in an IDC and IE so I’ll leave it you if you want to look it up.IDC MARCH from TheGoProFamilly on Vimeo.
So where to next? London for a week and then to Thailand. I’ll be on Koh Phi Phi starting the 19th of May. For the next couple of months at least I’ll be updating from there. There’s plenty more I want to write about Playa Del Carmen and the journey so far so stay tuned folks!
Ciao for now Ben