Divemaster Internship Blog – Ben

Diving
Today marks one month in Tenerife and I have about 20 dives thus far. Erin made a full recovery and she quickly began diving. The first week back for her was not too busy, but with some still having colds that meant extra work, which is great; you don’t want to just sit here all day. Besides a lot of diving we were able to get moving on our courses. Erin, Paula and I finished our EFR (Emergency First Response) course and we are almost finished with our Rescue Diver Course, we just need to take our final tests. Tara was really good at being our panicked diver and we all laughed at each other as Tara overpowered us in the pool sinking us to the bottom to simulate how dangerous a panicked diver can be. We also learned how to pull someone out of the water by ourselves, get an unresponsive diver to the surface and give rescue breaths while towing a victim in the water. It was very fun.

Last week was busy with 2-3 dives everyday. Tuesday and Wednesday were crazy because we had 6 dives to coordinate on Tuesday and 6 others, on Wednesday plus we had a family of 4 as well as Tara’s brother doing an Open Water Course. It was nice to review the skills and lessons as, it has been 9 years since I took my Open Water Course, but it was hard being wet all day.
On Tuesday, Adrian and I drove to the other side of the island to the El Peñon wreck sitting down at 30 meters (98 feet) underwater. We had two instructors visiting who wanted to do this and I was excited.. We started heading down and at about 14 meters I could not clear my right ear. I tried to go up a bit and then slowly come down, but the slope was steep and I continued to drift further and further down, which did not make my ear feel any better. I finally called it quits and turned around to abandon the dive when I came up to 10 meters and my ears cleared! I went down to 12 meters with no problem, then 14 meters with no problem, so I dropped down quickly rejoined the group who were down at about 20 meters. I’m really glad that I was able to equalize because I love wrecks and challenging dives. It was a purposely sunk ship, but it was still fun and it makes me want to get my Wreck Diving Certification.
After that we went to Las Eras, on this day there was a wicked current.. I got a bit cold and I was just done after these two long but good dives.
El Penon Wreck

 

Las Eras Dive
Above: The El Penon Wreck and Las Erason the right.

Wednesday morning was nice. The staff  had a meet and greet with the family from South Carolina, and we filled out some paperwork and finished their theory learning. Then it was Paula and I in the pool for 3.5 hours.  The family did great and they learned very quickly. The next morning we went to El Puertito, our house reef, for their first two open water dives. They did well, but it was so busy at the shop that we had to wait for our van to arrive from dropping off and picking up so many different divers. After we had lunch and we were back in the pool to finish off their skills..  That was a late night for us as Erin was off with Adrian finishing off two dives with some more customers. We did not get home until 8:00pm and our day started with us leaving the apartment at 8:15am.

DSCF4112 copyEl Puertito Dive: Two of the four turtles. Jose is on the left and Juan on the right.

Friday, was our last day with family and they did really well on their final two dives. My mask was having problems with leaking and my alternate air source came loose and while fiddling with both, Erin and I lost the group. We were in the center of El Puertito and in that section it was really hard to determine which way was which, so we chose a direction and off we went for our allotted 1 minute of looking. We did not find them and so we surfaced and swam back to shore as we knew that the group was around 70 bar and headed in. It sucks surface swimming in full gear, but it was a short swim and everything worked out in the end.

To thank us, the family invited us out for lunch. It turned out to be more of an early dinner as the final paperwork took a while to finish. It was really nice chatting with them and relaxing at a nearby restaurant. They even treated us to a few pitchers of sangria. At the end we said goodbye and quickly headed off to celebrate Jay’s birthday. Jay is Tara’s brother from the UK and he was our extra on the Open Water Course. To celebrate we went out to go Go-Karting. I had never done this before and due to the fact that I have been living abroad for so very long, I haven’t driven much at all. Needless to say I came in last. Dan, the winner of the evening, said I looked like I was simply cruising about. After a few turns around the track we went out for dinner at a traditional Canarian restaurant that serves huge portions. Even though most of the group was full from the awesome lunch/dinner that the family had treated us to, we ate and drank beer and laughed. It was a great night and Erin and I got the weekend off.

Photos of us at the Go-Kart Track and Dinner
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So our small studio is doing great. The cockroach problem is under control. The poison and roach motels are working and we only see one now and then. We finished buying the bare minimum to live comfortably and we even managed to find a cheap sheet to cover the broken down couch on our balcony. It’s pretty comfortable too. The problem is, we are on the first floor and a wild cat has decided to sleep there at night. Not a big deal, but now the cat is marking the couch and I cannot stand cat pee. It is so disgusting. I have been trying various methods to get the cat out. My latest is two air freshner dispensers that spray on movement. I’m still playing with the setting to make sure it works but hopefully it will. I’ll keep you updated on the cat situation.

The weather has been nice and keeping steady. This is a nice change from the super hot days we had when we arrived and the incredibly windy days that we had earlier in March. The time-shift means it doesn’t get dark until about 9pm and the sun comes up around 7:45 so it’s still dark for our morning runs.
We are doing really well and having a blast. We just finished our Rescue Diver Course yesterday and we are on our way to finishing Divemaster Certification.

PARADISE DIVERS – DIVING IN TENERIFE – DIVEMASTER INTERNSHIP – WEEK 5 – PAULAS MOLLUSCS

Hola!!

This blog I will dedicate it to some of Tenerife molluscs, because all dives are very rich in mollusc’s biodiversity, and they are remarkable.

Diving this past week we have seen some beautiful cuttlefish- Sepia Cuttlefish (I109) - 1officinalis- that is usually found on sand bottom where they can bury. Cuttlefishes are able to do amazing changes of coloration. We also have seen really big Octopi- Octopus vulgaris– which are very intelligent animals which also have the ability to quickly change colour and texture depending on its mood.

The Rough penshell1Pinna rudis- is a triangular bivalve, which can reach 40 cm, is the biggest bivalve present in the Canaries Islands. We can found it in shallow waters, standing up perpendicular to the bottom. The valves usually are home to a couple of prawns.

In most of the last dives we have seen nudibranch eggs (Las Eras, Montaña Amarilla, Cueva de los cerebros). Therefore we are expecting os see plenty of nudibranch when we are diving this summer (finger cross).

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Nudibranch eggs

 

 

The most abundant nudibranch in south Tenerife is re3al nudibranch –Hypselodoris picta – they can be quite big (up to 15cm) black bluish colour with yellow spots or stripes. We found them usually alone and during daytime. They feed on sponges; from with they get toxic metabolites for defending from predators.

At “Cueva de los cerebros” we have found some pretty amazing mollusc: the Warty Umbrella Snail 4Umbraculum mediterraneum– they feed on sponges and they have a circular body, up to 20 cm. Its body is full of pustules and it is much bigger than its self.

 

Until next week!! Gone diving…

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Tips for better Scuba Buoyancy

Always seen divers cruising along effortlessly like they were part of the environment, wish you could do the same, check out our 5 tips to better Buoyancy, test them out on your next Scuba dive.

  1. Weight

Being weighted correctly is essential for good buoyancy, on your weightsnext dive do a weight check before you exit, see exactly how much you need to submerge, use 1kg and 1/2kg blocks/pouches to get it right – don’t forget to breathe out to descend. Spread your weights out and don’t forget when you change equipment such as Cylinder or suit you also may need to adjust weight.

  1. BCD Control

Little by little is the key, make yourself negatively buoyant then add small amounts of air while breathing be patienbcdt it may take a few seconds after you add air to start to rise. After you have it set small depth change shouldn’t make a big difference – don’t keep adjusting if you don’t need to.

To let air out of the BCD use the most logical dump, you will have several, normally at least one button with the inflate button, one at the end of the inflator hose which you pull to use, a shoulder  dump and a rear dump – depending on your position in the water use the one highest on the body. Be familiar with all your dump valves how to use them ad where they are so you can instinctively dump air if required.

  1. Trim

A big problem a lot of people experience with buoyancy is due to incorrectPeak Performance Buoyancy position of weight, spread the weights out many BCDs have trim pockets and integrated systems use them wisely.

Don’t wear your weights too far back especially women, try to get the weight over your hips to help balance out the weight of the cylinder on your back. I recommend 50% of your weight on a belt and 50% in your BCD favouring more weight on the BCD than the belt.WeightTrim

Try ankle weights, they are not suitable for everyone but can help some with their position in the water.

  1. Breathing

Your lungs have a large capacity and breathing in and out is a lot like inflating and deflating a BCD, if you need to go over Just Breathean object then try it by just taking a big breath, you shouldn’t need to add air to do this. In normal situations don’t breath too deeply you may find yourself having to dump air due to you just taking a really deep breath and beginning to ascend.

Remember before heading straight for your inflator try using your breath to control your position.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

You have probably heard it 100s of times, practice makes perfect, with buoyancy it really counts, the more you do it easier it gets, DSCF4719challenge yourself on your next dive try using breath control to go over objects, practice with your buddy, take a 1kg weight and pass it to each other trying not to change depth.  Make it fun and soon it will just come naturally and everything will just fit into place then you will spend more time enjoying the underwater word and less time worrying about controlling your buoyancy.

Why don’t you book yourself on the next PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty with us in Tenerife (1 day 2 dives) to learn more. Book online and get a 10% Discount.

Divemaster Intern Blog – Ben

I’m going to recall the past three-to-four weeks, but I will put it in sections so that you can decide what to skip and what to read.

Coming to Tenerife

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Erin and I just finished two years of teaching English in South Korea. We said our goodbye’s and got our flight out. We decided to have a small holiday in Rome as neither of us had ever been and it was a major hub for flights to Tenerife. After a short, wonderful week in Rome we head to the airport only to find that our flight was delayed, twice. We finally boarded and slept through the entire thing only to land past 1am (Instead of 8pm). We found our car rental location closed and were forced to take a taxi to our hostel. We arrived and found that Friendly Rooms was a wonderful place to stay. We woke up and straight away to get Erin a sim card for her new phone and began searching for rooms to rent. We had tried to send feelers out before we arrived, but we didn’t get much. We simply assumed that they wanted someone in Tenerife, ready to move in. It turns out that we were being given the cold shoulder because people don’t want to offer their spare room to a couple. We had not anticipated this and what we thought would be two nights at Friendly Rooms turned into four days of not knowing where we were going to sleep and moving almost every night. Alas, we found a place to stay thanks to our new friends at Paradise Divers. They helped us secure a room at a duplex nearby. We loved the place and the people. We hoped to stay for the duration of our internship, but our room was only available for short term, as it was the owner’s room and he had a tendency to stop by with only a days notice. But we had a place to stay for a week or two if needed and it was only a 10 minute walk to the dive shop. The following Saturday we went to see a studio in Para Paraiso, but the guy never showed up. Later that afternoon he called and said sorry and offered to show it to us the next day. We showed up, and after two hours of waiting (this is the Canaries), thought it was just alright, but the price was too high. We talked about it and liked that it was only a 30 minute walk to the dive center, which means we would not IMG_0904be forced to take the very unreliable and surprisingly expensive bus system on Tenerife. I called the guy and negotiated. He agreed and with no commission we were in the next day.

 

Above the studio is tiny, but we really like it. I love the built in table and benches.

-Our daily commute:

The internshipIMG_0898

I have always been interested in diving but took a few years off, and then Erin wanted to try it while we were living in South Korea so she did the E-learning with MDI and finished her open water in the Philippines. We began to dive every vacation and then got our Advanced Course with PADI in Indonesia. Erin wanted to keep diving a bit more and have some fun, so the search was on. She found an add called “Zero to Hero: the Divemaster Internship” and she researched everything: the blogs, the reviews of the dive center and she said she wanted to do it. My plan was to was to fly to Honduras and pay for our divemaster and get it done in a month. But I did the math and for our particular situation it was worth it.
Being an unmarried couple, it is always difficult to move to a new country, and we were unsure if we should apply together or separately. We decided on the latter. Erin got a few emails back and forth, but I got nothing. She finally interviewed with Tara from Paradise Divers and Tara asked, “Do you know Benjamin, because your CV’s look identical.” Then I interviewed on the same internet call and we waited and waited. Finally I asked Erin to check her junk email and sure enough, two weeks old was the acceptance for the internship at Paradise Divers for two.

Our first meeting was wonderful. Dan and Tara were very welcoming and their other intern, Paula, was very kind and spent hours helping us look for a place to live. We finally started on Monday and Dan even helped us move in, agreeing to drive us.

Paula and I taking a coffee break.
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Our fist afternoon we kitted up, as the Brit’s say, and went out to El Puertito for a fun dive. The objective of course was for Dan to see if we really knew what we were doing or were we one of those tourists that says they are experienced divers but really they had not passed their open water course. El Puertito is the house reef where we dive the most. This is for several reasons: it’s close, about 5 minutes away by car, it is calm and easy to get in and out of the water, and it has friendly turtles that love being around people.
I was taken back when Jose, the friendliest of the turtles swam right by my head and hit me with his left flipper. I had seen turtles scuba diving and snorkeling, but they always kept their distance. Jose loves people and, though he isn’t always in the mood to socialize, he always says hello. We also ran into two other turtles but they are less social and more just curious. Our first dive was a success and we began diving the next day too.
Unfortunately, Erin had a small issue with her ears. She saw the doctor who gave her antibiotics, but at the end of the day she was out of the water for two weeks. This wasn’t so bad at first as we were playing catchup. Paula had almost finished her EFR (Emergency First Responder) training and she was almost done with her Rescue Diving book. Erin and I started studying right away and within the week we were 95% finished with the EFR, after which we started reading the Rescue Diver book. The second week, however, we had Allison and Richard, who are friends of Dan and Tara, from the UK. These two love diving. They, combined with the regular walk-in customers, meant we hit a hard week of 2-3 dives a day. Then Dan and Tara started to get sick. Paula must have logged a lot of dives that week, I know I did. Though exhausting, it was a fun week of meeting new people, seeing new dive sites and learning a ton of practical skills. For Erin, it meant feeling a little left out and a lot of reading and studying at the shop. By week three we were all doing better and Erin started diving too, which she was really happy to do. Yesterday we went to Alcala for the first time and took a DSD (Discover Scuba Diving) student and we saw so much life: a school of Bastard Grunts, a good sized octopus and several Arrowhead Crabs. It was a nice dive with a great entry/exit. I love giant stride and walls to climb out of. The problem with beach dives is the sand: it’s grainy and it gets everywhere.

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On the left Tara is leading a dive briefing and on the IMG_0963right Paula poses before going in at Mar Azul.

 

After three weeks here Erin and I feel at home, and a large part of that is the great support system at the shop. Paula will always help us if we don’t understand something and Tara is really easy going but always ready to give great training when the shop is empty. I haven’t seen Dan in a while but he helped us out with a phone call when my electricity mysteriously went out in our studio.

Note: I wish that Erin and I had not come in the coldest winter in 18 years. The water is normally 22C this time of year but right now it’s hovering around 18-19C: Burrrrh. I mean, I left the cold waters of southern California for a reason.IMG_0897

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll keep this update!!

Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship – Week 1 – Erin

Hi everyone! This is the first post in my new blog on becoming a dive master.

To family and friends (hi Nana!), I wish you could see this place because it’s beautiful.

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The internship will last around three months. Just so you’re familiar with the names, Tara and Dan are the owners of Paradise Divers. Paula in an intern, like Benjamin and I.  Adrian is an Instructor and so is Gabor (A past intern). It’s a small team, but the people here are great and pleasure to work with.

IMG_0875_2Here’s a little about me first. I’m from the U.S., but have arrived here in Tenerife, Spain via South Korea, where I was a public school English teacher for two years. I wrote a blog about my experiences there, if you want to check that out fndyrslf.wordpress.com.

I’m a relatively inexperienced diver, with only 16 under my belt. I came here with my boyfriend, Benjamin, who has about 50+ dives. So, why am I here?

The opportunity to receive extensive dive training in such a beautiful place is a hard one to pass on. Since I first learned in the Philippines last year, I’ve wanted to keep developing my skills and see more cool stuff under the water. Seeing as how I bounce around the planet a lot, being a dive master also helps me find work in more places.

Aside from the difficulties Benjamin and I experienced finding a place to live (that’s an entirely different story), it’s been a good first week. We started off with a dive to El Puertito, where we got acquainted with the locaDSCF4206l turtles. Jose, he’s quite the charmer, was friendly beyond all expectation. He followed us around for a while, swimming over our heads, brushing up against us.

We also met Humpy, whose shell was was severely damaged by a boat’s propeller. We found him sleeping under a rock. The next day, I went on two dives in Yellow Mountain (Montana Armarilla). I’m really interested in the geology of the area, and here you can see the basalt flows under the water. Unfortunately, I haven’t been diving since then because I developed an ear problem. I’m still waiting for it to clear up, but hopefully I can be in the water within the next three days.

Aside from diving, Tara, Benjamin, Paula and I have been working on our EFR (emergency first response) training. It’s actually been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to my Rescue Diver certification.

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Favorite thing this week: Celebrating a joint birthday with Dan at a traditional Canarian restaurant.

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