Hi all, Kieran here,
So 5 weeks in and time to reflect on the experience so far, I’d love to say that everything has gone swimmingly, but that would be somewhat removed from the truth. As I am sure you are all aware, one of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes and acting to ensure that you recognise where you went wrong and how to never repeat your error again. Well, during my DM experience so far I have managed to be the walking embodiment of that idea. It seems that whenever a hiccough, large or small, has arisen over the past few weeks, one has not had to search much further than the end of my rather sunburnt nose to find the culprit. Self-deprecation aside though, those mistakes, and more importantly, learning from them, seems to (and I commit myself to this tentatively) have stood me in good stead for the rest of my time with Paradise Divers; whisper it quietly, but it seems as though both the physical and metaphorical ropes have finally been learned. My knowledge of boat handling (and that pesky anchor in particular) has greatly improved, as has my diving in general, and my understanding of how a dive centre operates. I would like to thank Dan and Carly for their guidance and expertise, I can already feel the positive impact that they have had on my abilities and hope that it will continue for the remainder of my internship.
The quality of the diving itself has been a welcome and pleasant surprise, although expectations were not particularly high, I have come to realise that Tenerife has some truly great diving experiences to offer; whether it be meeting the incredible and inquisitive wildlife that inhabits its shores or visiting the fascinating wrecks lurking beneath the waves, waiting to be explored; the island is a veritable treasure trove of diving adventures, provided you know where to go. Going to work every day wondering which creature you are going to meet and which customer’s holiday you are going to make is more than enough motivation for this budding Divemaster.
My time with Paradise Divers has already cemented in my mind that this is the career path for me! Here’s hoping that the next few weeks mould me into the Divemaster that I want to be, I’ll be sure to check back in and let you know, until then, remember I once heard it said that life is diving, everything else is just a surface interval…
A short introduction: My name is Armande, or Mandy. I am of Dutch origin and have lived in the tropics most of my life. I have been playing Underwater hockey at a high level for over a decade and I am an AIDA 2 freediver.
Previously I had an office job for about 10 years and I decided it was time for a lifestyle change. I decided to truly follow my dreams of turning my hobby of being under water, into a (future) profession as a Divemaster and hopefully Dive Instructor. And by breathing under water this time around.
The DM Internship so far has been a wonderful learning experience and I am still learning so much every day. To give you an idea, in a few weeks time, I have learned how a dive center operates, how to operate the compressor, how to guide dives, do boat and site briefings and attend to customers. I learned how to handle emergency situations and nervous divers and especially how to practice safe and responsible diving. Dan and Carly who run the dive center, are wonderful teachers who value quality and precision. For me this, in addition to experience which I am still gaining, is what makes a good diver and especially a great Divemaster and Instructor. In addition to being wonderful teachers, they are also wonderful people (with good humor) that made me feel welcome and part of the team as soon as I started.
The Internship overall is hard work. It sometimes feels like going back to school, but in a more rewarding way. What I like about the Internship is that the theory is immediately put into practice, and I myself learn best by doing something to remember it. We have multiple opportunities to practice and show our learned skills, which makes them become part of your routine. This goes for dive skills and procedures as well as learning nautical knots and boat handling.
I am now in week three going into week four of the Internship. Since I have been out here on the Atlantic, I was and still am amazed by the marine life. On my second day we spotted pilot whales for example. In a ¨general¨ week we see bottlenose dolphins, different types of rays and green sea turtles. On my first dive with Paradise Divers we saw Atlantic Stingrays, that were approximately 1½ meters wide, I think all the divers present heard my enthusiasm through the regulator during those 35 minutes. Sorry for the disturbance guys.
So to conclude this blogpost, I am a few weeks in and getting into the routine of the diving life and loving it. Unlike an office job the scenery is never the same and neither are the circumstances, even when you repeat a dive site. You meet interesting new people and work with colleagues from many different cultures. And the difference with an office job is that if you are having an ¨off day¨ that feeling is gone by the time the resident turtle greets you on your morning dive.