I started diving 6 years ago when I moved to Thailand. It was a big step for me, actually a mindbogglingly huge one. Or have you heard of divers who have a fear of putting their head underwater?
My underwater endeavor did start some years earlier on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, where I learned to snorkel – and put my face underwater, if not yet the full head. Then I trusted myself to do a test dive, with first minutes spent in 2 meters, calming my mind and breath, acknowledging the fact that I was able to breathe underwater. It was frightening but at the same just extremely exhilarating. Cool.
Still I remember very vividly my Open Water course’s pool session. I was excited and nervous. Happy but worried I might freak out completely. Fortunately, I had about the best instructor one could ask for – calm, nice, fun, absolutely competent and assuring. Handsome too but that’s much less relevant (he had a girlfriend). With his guidance and calm presence, I felt empowered. I was at complete ease and mastered all the skills without any trouble or hesitation.
I completed my OW training with thrill and excitement and continued almost directly to the Advanced level, which I always recommend for others to do as well because it teaches and supports you the most when done at a novice level. A year later, after plenty of fun fun dives in different sites and conditions, I completed a Rescue Diver course. It’s a bit of cliche in the dive industry but just so very true – the Rescue Diver course is fantastic and it’s a game changer. It changes the way you dive, it changes the way you look at diving and your surroundings. It gives light to all the risks while also teaching you the relevant skills and understanding for recognizing and attending to potential crisis / accident scenarios. The course gave me again new confidence and also a different perspective to the hobby. I want to enjoy my dives and keep myself safe – and ensure the same for others.
Now with nearly 300 dives under my belt, I feel I’m ready for the next challenge. To take the hobby to a new level and become a pro. Become a dive master. I’m not planning to make a drastic career change or quit my job – I’m planning to learn to be an even better diver, and learn how to support others better in their diving journey. In taking a more responsible role in leading dives and helping others, I hope to further develop my own skills and grow as a diver and as a human being. Because as with any responsibilities, taking them seriously and mastering them, will support the personal growth and give new perspectives for life.
I also believe that my previous fears, experiences in overcoming troubles, lessons in trusting myself and the ability to gain confidence will make me a good guide to others. I understand the fears, hesitations and concerns of others, I can relate to them.
Finally the bookworm part of me gets to enjoy the diving hobby as well – there’s plenty of theory to get familiar with in addition to the practical skills. I expect the navigation skills to be the toughest to conquer but also where great improvements are waiting to be achieved. If I’m to become a dive master, leading dives, I should leave my old mask-strap behind as it says “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too”. That’s my goal now – to not need that mask strap anymore! I want to be come a person who can confidently say: Follow me, I know what I’m doing and where I’m going.