The journey continues ...
Contributed by Ric Mingramm
Once upon a time ... Ok I won't go back too far. In 1980 courtesy of you, the tax payer, I was fortunate enough to have the Royal Australian Navy pay for my PADI Open Water Course. I did this in autumn at Jervis Bay and yes it was cold, but as a young officer cadet getting up early running and jumping into freezing colds water for a swim was a morning ritual so going deeper seemed little challenge.
I was fortunately enough to be taught by Kevin Deakin of Pro Dive and my buddy was Glenn Forrest (now Commander RAN Mine Clearance Diving Officer). In those early days the sight of a large fish made the heart beat fast and we weren't encumbered by BCD, computers, octopus regulators or the other 1 million pieces of apparatus we now dive with - but diving was fun and had the added excitement of gambling - wondering whether you would every get back safe!
Since starting, I have dived in Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand and in most states of Australia - even got hoodwinked to do a fresh water pond in SA once (Cave Divers - strange breed) and as the envy of most other divers having obtained my PADI MASTER Scuba Diver I have decided to go to the dark side and learn to be a Dive Master and go up that PADI channel.
But talk about expectations!!! Suddenly my 30 year old fins and regulators need to be changed! 'Students will look to you for guidance you need to update your gear', my rather witty retort was 'Wouldn't it be better to use my gear and tell them see buy good stuff right up and it will last forever!' - Didn't even crack a smile.
So here I am with new bright coloured fins, new steel tank, new mask, new snorkel, new torch ... new Wrist Tec Nitrox Computer ... digging in my regs at this stage the Conshelf Supreme has served me well for 30 years ... now have a swivel, longer hose ... gee what more do I need to replace.
I did my first in pool session with the Instructor and other Dive Master candidates last week ... gee combined years of diving for all of them is still less than me ... I must be old ... I couldn't stop smiling watching a fully qualified Instructor gesticulating and demonstrating skills as if we were newbies ... I found it very hard to concentrate. When we surfaced I said 'Do you think we are tools? I know where the buckle is etc ... he grimaced and said remember you will be instructing people who have never done this before ... think that you are teaching my mother ... interesting thought, do you have any photos of her?'
Anyway, checklist time:
- EAP (Emergency Assistance Plan) - completed
- Mapping Exercise - complete
- Knowledge reviews - complete
- Physical tests - booked in
- Theory test - booked in
- Water Skills - booked in, gee I didn't do this much training to drive a destroyer and that had weapons on it!
I am getting all enthused now ... so onwards and upwards to the glorious position of Dive Master where I can be privileged enough to make the Instructors coffee, scrub the decks, carry tanks, secure the boat, act as a carry mule - ah, what an aspiration. No really, after 25 years of diving it is time to be a bit less selfish and try to impart the joy of diving to others, anyone that dives with me knows that my objective is that we have a great time and a great dive.
Who knows ... from Dive Master where will it lead ... a shop selling dive gear and Harley Davidsons ... or am I dreaming ... keep wet!