Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Divemaster with Calipso Diving, Lanzarote

Recently I spent 5 weeks  completing my PADI Divemaster with Calipso Diving out in Costa Teguise, Lanzarote. Without doubt it has been one of the best experiences of my life both on a personal and a professional level. Since i've been back I've struggled to get back to a normal schedule, this post is hopefully going to kick start that. Please forgive the time and quality of the photos between this and my last post.

The sea is truly an amazing place and you can't help but be humbled by its power and its diversity in both the species that dwell there and its environments. It also has the effect of helping a person put things in to perspective and refocus thier energies. Well at least it has for me and it could not have come at a better time.

So lets talk about what a PADI Divemaster is and whats involved with getting this qualification.

What?


The PADI Divemaster is the first professional qualification in PADI's diving syllabus. This means its the first qualification that puts a person in a position of responsibility over other divers in a group.
The Divemaster qualification allows a diver the ability to lead already qualified divers in water or supervise from a boat or shore. It also allows (with the appropriate additional course) a Divemaster to take the Discover SCUBA diving experience for people new to diving. A Divemaster can also assist qualified PADI Instructors during courses such as the PADI Open Water course.
As such the Divemaster qualification has multiple facets but moves away a little from personal exams and skill assessments (though these are required) and starts focusing on the business of diving, your role as a guide, a source of knowledge and a role model to the divers who come in to your business. This all means that the Divemaster qualification becomes more like an internship, where you learn about the diving business, about customer service and professionalism. Three things that I learnt a lot about in my five weeks with Calipso Diving, certainly from a very diffferent angle to my experiences in the past.

Whats Involved?


The Divemaster qualification is quite extensive. It consists of 2 dive theory exams each of 50 multiple choice questions, an assessment of the 24 essential PADI diving skills to demonstration quality, some swim tests, a Emergency Assistance Plan, a mapping project and the accumulation of 60 or more dives. Also you have to ensure that you have the Emergency First Response qualification and be a PADI Rescue Dive before you can start the Divemaster qualification. You also get continually assessed on your professionalism with regards to customer service and the effort to which you put in to helping out around the dive shop itself. The jobs can range from assisting a PADI instructor with guided dives to rinsing the equipment and mopping the floor after a days diving. One of the best jobs was going out marketing in the afternoons. This is where we went as a centre to the local hotels and resorts and spoke to holiday makers about SCUBA diving and gave them a taste of breathing underwater. For many this was their first experience and its amazing to see how people react to this sort of sensation.

How did I find it?


Throw all the above together and it makes for one tough, busy but fantastic experience. I learnt a lot about professionalism and customer service but also about being proactive and anticipating the needs of the customers and the instructors. I also had a lot of fun in a sunny climate with fantastic people and saw some amazing creatures.


The hardest part was by far getting my dive skills up to a level that I could demonstrate to a student (under the direction of a PADI instructor). Trying to ensure that I showed all the critical components in a clear and controlled manner, while being underwater and that would allow the student to learn this skill efficiently was pretty difficult. Of all the exercises, the kit exchange was the worst. This is where you exchange your BDC (Buoyancy Control Device), Fins and Mask with your buddy, whilst breathing from one regulator. This means at regular intervals you have to be without a regulator in your mouth and access to air all the time holding your breath whilst exchanging your kit. I found this particularly difficult. It wasn't so much having to hold my breath but rather getting in to a rhythm of taking breaths part way through removing kit.
I can also tell why they require at least 60 dives before you can become a Divemaster. You simply don't have the experience with anything less. I know for myself I only started to gain real experience as my dive count got in to the high forties. At around this number I had had some kit issues, got hit by a few currents that took me way off course and one time where that combined with a heavy breathing day meant I had to surface by myself. Something that helped me to adjust the cylinder I use, which in turn sorted out my weighting and balance in the water.

Result


I can safely say that I passed and I am now a certified Divemaster. it was a great experience. This was in no small part to my instructor Richard Watts ably helped by Janice and Peter. They showed great skill and patience in getting me up to speed. So thank you very very much and I would recommend Calipso Diving and the team there in a heart beat.
I met some great people, had a load of fun but better still I'm now half way through my qualifications for the stunt register. It has been a long road back, but I'm now making huge progress and I can't wait for whats in store for the rest of the year.

Do you guys have any diving stories, are you thinking of 'Going Pro'? Let me know in the comments below or email me directly.































2 comments:

  1. Do you plan on continuing your diving endeavours back here in the UK? With a dive school either giving instruction or under instruction if you are working towards a higher level? Have you scoped out any UK dive sites?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Chris, thanks for commenting and sorry for the delay in responding. I will defiantly carry on diving and will certainly dive in the UK. I've checked out North Norfolk but otherwise I'll go back to Planet SCUBA who I did my open water course with in Bishops Storford and go out on one of their dive days. Personally I think I'll keep diving for fun, whilst I enjoyed the experience and enjoy diving I don't like teaching it as much as say climbing or martial arts. I could certainly be persuaded to guide dives but I don't think becoming an instructor is the route I would like to go.

    ReplyDelete