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