Divemaster - David
Hi, my name is Dave, I am 64 years old and in the last stages of completing my Dive Master internship with Paradise Divers. I retired in December 2018 and moved to Tenerife and was looking for something to fill my hours and as I was already an MSD, I thought the best next step, was to embark on the Dive Master program. I picked Paradise Divers, as I already knew Dan and I liked his approach to both teaching and safety.
I started some five months ago, with over 300 logged dives, and thought that I was a competent diver, it became apparent very quickly that the standard and expected requirements of a professional diver were in short a quantum leap from that of a recreational diver.
I had to dig deep, strip back my technique (and accumulated bad habits!) and start to be more aware of other divers’ safety, instead of just mine and my buddy. This was a steep learning curve, as I knew all too well how my buddy dives, and what to expect from her, now I was faced with responsibility for divers from all walks of life, with varying ability and experience. This improved gradually with the more dives I did as a DM, and with the daily feedback and mentpring I received from Dan and the team.
Then we had the 24 skills learned as an open water diver, which I fumbled through in my dim and distant past and was now expected to demonstrate them to an Instructors level!
I also forgot that my brain disconnects itself from my body when I remove my regulator, with a little voice in my head saying, “you are a human, not a fish, you cannot breathe underwater!”. I was taught how to overcome this early on by Dan, with a series of breathing exercises, a lot of patience and endless hours in the pool. These weekly pool sessions helped me immensely and armed me with the water skills that I would need going forward. (It does not look good to the student, if you drift away or end up with your back to them, when demonstrating the skills!!).
I also had to get through what I fondly called the “Stress Tests”, the kit exchange, 100m tired diver tow, 400m swim, 15-minute tread water and my favourite of all, the 800m snorkel swim!
The course was laid out well, as you would expect from PADI, but the internship included many other areas of skill, including boat craft, marketing and sales, how to get the kit ready for customers, how to pack it on the van and the RIB.
Now that I am nearly there, I can look back over the past months, and safely say that it was one hell of an experience, I am a more confident and competent diver, and know how to react to emergencies and the day to day issues of other divers. It has taught me a lot about myself and has been the most rewarding program that I have ever embarked on. I have built a strong relationship with my mentor Dan. His support, guidance, encouragement and vast experience has allowed me to develop into the best version of me as a diver
Age has been a consideration, only in that I am slower than I used to be, it was in no means a barrier, so I would safely say that if you want it, go for it and never give up!!