Learning to Dive
On a chilly afternoon in November 2009 I phoned a shop in Lancing to enquire about learning to dive. I spoke to a very helpful chap called Graeme and recounted the traumatic tale of when I attempted to learn in Egypt a few years earlier. I was invited to come in to the shop for a chat, so a week later I was sat with Graeme listening to him explain how Oceanview could help me overcome my fears.
After about 45 minutes I was signed up for my Open Water course + Dry Suit Specialty to start in January and reserved a place on the club liveaboard to Egypt in August to do my Advanced Open Water course!!……
I have happy memories of my Open Water training in Brighton Marina, in February, the water a chilly 2 degrees and ice on the ground!!………
In January 2011, as part of an Oceanview Club event I attended a “Discover Instructor Experience” with Platinum Course Director Steve Prior and Janet Prior…… I was hooked….. I wanted to be a Scuba Instructor and I wanted Team Prior to teach me!
Starting My IDC
Nearly 6 years and 500+ dives later and with the guidance, training and support of the Oceanview team, on 10th September 2016 I started my Instructor Development Course with Steve and Janet. Also, joining me on the course were Jen and Dan but this wasn’t just an ordinary IDC…. we were among the first to participate in the new combined PADI IDC and OCR Level 3 Diploma in Management! Learning to instruct AND run a dive business….. why do anything by half……
Over several days and weekends (and with lots of late nights of self-study) Team Prior coached, encouraged and guided us through all the materials, questions, standards, Physics (yuk!) and practical’s to equip us with the skills and knowledge we needed to become awesome dive instructors. We learned about teaching students to perform skills neutrally buoyant (aka swimming about), how to deliver a briefing that was …. brief…… but covered what was important, cutting out the irrelevant and focusing on the necessary.
We got to design, price and plan the marketing of our own course and really get to understand what it would be like to run a dive business ourselves. Incorporating the OCR Level 3 Diploma in Management requirements gave it a different edge and Steve was really excited about new elements we could bring to briefings, debriefing and classroom presentations etc.
The Instructor Exams
Finally the weekend of judgement had arrived….. The Instructor Exam (IE) weekend…….
Saturday, the official start of the IE, five candidates with associated Course Directors, Staff Instructors and general moral support teams, all sat in a room at PADI headquarters in Bristol at 7.30 am eagerly awaiting the orientation briefing!!!!! The briefing detailed the weekends schedule and I began to realise it would be a long weekend!
First up was dive theory…… The dreaded physics paper. …….. I went through the paper twice…… fresh v salt, gauge v absolute, ‘the effect’, flexible v inflexible………. all the things I needed to make sure I had doubly checked and read to ensure I answered the question correctly.
Next was the pool…….confined water briefing, skill teaching and then debriefing……. gosh the pool was cold…. I would have worn my dry suit if I had known it would be this cold……
Once complete and dried off it was back to the classroom for the Standards exam followed by a Classroom presentation scenario. Phew! It was intense but strangely good fun too.
Sunday was open water day. The brief was to be at Vobster at 7.45……… I arrived at 7.20 and one of the Course Directors and 2 candidates where already in front of me in the queue. We waited and waited…… It was cold…..the car temperature was showing 1 degree…… the frost was thick on the ground…….. brrrr….. finally the gates were opened and we got ready for the orientation briefing.
The morning started with open water briefings. As soon as people started to finish their briefings they were whisked off to do their rescue scenario demo. When everyone was finished, we descended on the platform for the in water teaching skills. It seemed to take ages and the 8 degree water was starting to freeze my fingers and toes. Finally, it was my turn…… I was the last to go….. I signalled skill 1, the students performed their skills with various problems which I identified and corrected. On to skill 2, more problems, corrections and congratulations. Finally, the cut signal came from the examiner and we were up and out of the water to warm up.
All that was left was the debrief with the examiner…… my mind was racing….. had I missed something, would I fail……… I delivered my debrief and congratulated my mythical students on doing so well. The examiner then stretched her hand out across the table towards me and with a big smile, shook my hand and said ‘Congratulations Natasha, you have passed, well done!’…….. what a rush of emotions…… I had to apologise to the examiner for blubbing like a baby……. it was over….. I had realised my long term dream of being a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor!!!!
Just a few last bits to complete on the OCR Level 3 Diploma in Management and that will then hopefully give me an NVQ Level 3 in Management as well!!!!!
I am really looking forward to teaching with the fabulous Oceanview team and gaining more confidence and experience. Who knows, in a few years I could be running my own dive centre in a tropical paradise somewhere……
I look forward to seeing you on a course at Oceanview soon!!