Over the last couple of days I have been able to get stuck in to my Dive Master course here at Dive Wise in St Julian's in Malta. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be working with Anne from Japan. Known here as Anne Japan. In the morning we went to Manwell Island and did a check out refresher dive with a student who hadn't dived in a while. This was after we had spent some time working out how to use the key fob to get in via the automatic gates that allow entry to the site. The spot is perfect for check out and refresher dives as it has both easy entry and exit points and remains very shallow with a small number of fish to be seen swimming about us. The student had some difficulties probably due to her long dry spell but nothing that we couldn't over come with the nice slow dive that ensued.
I was slightly under weighted but Anne Japan sorted me out with an extra kilo just enough to allow me to take the squeeze off my suit. Once I had added the weight I felt comfortable even in the unfamiliar kit of a single cylinder and BCD. We did some of the basic skills such as reg recovery and mask removal and replace all done in the correct PADI way. Again I was chuffed that this all came to me very easily as I have been doing things the GUE way for a while and was worried that unlearning this was going to be a nightmare. Believe me when you have practised skills a certain way in quarries time and time again back in the UK, the idea of doing them differently is slightly daunting but fortunately my fears were unfounded.
Later on in the day I was to be helping Anne with a couple of OW students in the pool. We covered a whole host of skills that I won't bore you with here but needless to say I was impressed with the amount we covered and the effort put in by Anne. She is a tough instructor to please and this makes her students all the better. We reran through everyone of the skills she felt needed a little more je n'ai se que. Both students looked very tired and confessed to be so when we were packing the kit away later than planned. Both were happy though and I know they will be better divers for it. Afterwards we went back to the dive centre and packed everything away. It is also worth noting that we weren't the last van back. Testament to how hard these guys work.
I got back to my room at 7PM and grabbed a quick bite to eat over the road before heading back for another bout of food narcolepsy. Falling asleep at 8PM on a Saturday night is not a good idea when your balcony faces Paceville, the local party central of the area. As you can probably guess I awoke to find the town alive at 2AM with all sorts of music pumping at the same time while pissed up people trundle up and down the hall way celebrating their achievements of drinking themselves in to an unsociable state. The only thing I can describe it as, is like living in a squat with Gabba playing at a ridiculous volume all hours of the night while incoherent people talk as if they were standing at opposite ends of a tennis court. I'm thinking of writing to the American's as I think they have missed a trick at Gwantanamo bay. Still for €9 a night I can put up with one night of loudness and besides if I hadn't passed out so early I wouldn't have woken up. Anyone who knows me, knows I can sleep through anything. Literally anything. I once slept through my room mate breaking in to our bedroom after half an hour of banging on the door before climbing from another window in to the window of our room and violently shaking me because she feared the worst.
Today I was blessed to spend the day with Nev one of the owners of the centre and go out with some qualified divers on a guided dive. Well that was the plan anyway. In diving as with anything the best laid plans go to waste. On this occasion the problem was as simple as a regulator leak meaning I surrendered my kit to one of the students being guided. If I'm honest I was quite happy to do this as I was tired from over sleeping the night before and it meant I could make repeated trips to the snack van parked up on site. The dive site looked interesting but the weather was still not quite perfect with the wind blowing slightly on to shore creating a small swell making both entry and exit a bit of a coffufle. I helped the students set the gear up, do buddy checks and then helped them down to the water. I'm so happy doing this stuff. I feel relaxed working with the students and Nev seems happy letting me do it which, makes me even more comfortable that I am doing it right. With only a couple of pointers about how to demonstrate just to make it easier for the students to understand. Because of my surface cover day it means I have been able to get that signed off as it is an essential part of the DM course and is critical to understanding the logistics of running a dive operation.
Back at the dive centre I have been helping all the rebreather guys analyse their gas which I'm sure sounds strange to say but I really enjoy doing this. Watching them tinkering with their rebreathers I can't help planning ways I can buy one. My passion as has been mentioned is tech diving. Big thanks to Ad ad Mic, who without their enthusiasm being shown to me I may not have picked up the taste for helium. I'm not sure it was intentional on their part and I'm not sure when they gave me a CD with the Scuba Guys video of Narvik 2005 on it that they knew that it would have quite the effect on me that it did but here I sit having been surrounded by divers all day talking about diving and thoughts pretty much dominated by diving and upon finishing work (ha if you can call it work), I go to the restaurant (mainly to use the free wifi) and eat my dinner whilst watching some dive videos uploaded to DIRx (www.direxplorers.com) dive forum Here (http://vimeo.com/50600649 / http://vimeo.com/27681620). I love this stuff. It does make me think that really my passions lye away from teaching recreational divers but I suppose we all start somewhere.
Things Learned Above ;
Nev is a legend! Super chilled out and passionate about what he does, like all the staff I've met here at Dive Wise.
Falling asleep before necessary is not a good idea on Saturdays in Paceville.
Things Learned Below ;
I'm comfortable and relaxed when working with students. A feeling I wouldn't have said was common place for me but seems to just happen naturally while I'm doing this stuff.
I can do skills the PADI way with no drama.
Diving with a BCD and a single is not difficult or even massively more cumbersome which, I thought it would be as it is something I haven't done since 2007 when I did my Advance Open Water.