So far, so good on the path to becoming a PADI Pro! Here’s the updated chart of goals and accomplishments:
My next step in an effort to accomplish my goal of becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor was to complete my Divemaster Certification. So, after completing the Rescue Diver course, down to Harrisburg’s West Shore Scuba I went. Ron and I discussed what I needed to do to start my Divemaster internship. The first prerequisite was to have at least 40 open water dives under my belt. Perfect! Alexis and I had already booked our trip to Bonaire for a week and the trip included unlimited access to Nitrox. The goal was set: we would ensure that before we left Bonaire, I would have at least 40 logged open water dives. You need a total of 60 to complete the Divemaster certification, but it is all about small achievable goals; and I figured that during the internship, racking up the remainder of the required dives wouldn’t be an issue.
Once all the prerequisites were met, it was time for me to really go to work. Another visit to West Shore Scuba and I had my complete Divemaster crew package. The first step was some reading and class time to complete exercise one. After exercise one was done, I could now start helping out with classes and building my knowledge base, as well as honing my diving skills.
The internship was pretty straight forward. In the Divemaster crew pack, there was a grading sheet that listed all the requirements and a place for instructors to sign off and grade me. The list included all the classes that I needed to help with, as well as skills that I need to be proficient in. There were also a few written tests to pass, including one on dive physics. I was always good at math and use it on a daily basis in my current job, but I haven’t even looked at a physics problem since high school. Thanks to a little tutelage from Ron, I was able to pass the exams with flying colors.
After some pool sessions and a few weekends at Dutch Springs, I was able to get most of the other requirements signed off on and also up my number of logged dives to meet the 60 dive requirement. I also chose to participate in some additional training including the Peak Performance Buoyancy cert, Deep Diver cert, and Search and Recovery Diver cert. All three were well worth the time and cost and have made me a better all around diver.
Through all this diving, I also had the privilege to meet a few other people that were moving through the same process to become Divemasters. One of which I had met back when Alexis and I did our Advanced Open Water training. Jon and I had pretty much run parallel paths in our training and have become dive buddies as well as friends above the water. That little flashback ties directly into the last skill that both Jon and I had to complete to become full fledged Divemasters. The “equipment exchange.”
Basically, all we had to do was descend in a pool, take each piece of our gear off, hand it to our buddy, and put theirs on all while exchanging one regulator. It is an interesting exercise for sure, and is designed to stress you out underwater to see how you will react. I am sure that my reaction was priceless, but we were able to complete the skill on the first try with a solid score.
All in all, the Divemaster training and internship was a whole lot of fun! Thank you Jon as well as all the staff at West Shore Scuba for such a great experience. Next step is to help out the instructors and students as much as possible, then on to my Instructor Development Course!