Divemaster Intern - David
"It has taught me a lot about myself"
Hi, my name is Dave!
I am 64 years old and in the last stages of completing my Divemaster Intern with Paradise Divers. I retired in December 2018 and moved to Tenerife and was looking for something to fill my hours. Already being an MSD, I thought the best next step, was to embark on the Dive Master programme. 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 and with over 300 logged dives I thought I was a competent diver. However, it became apparent quickly the standards and requirements of a professional diver are a leap from a recreational diver.
I had to dig deep, strip back my technique and my accumulated bad habits! Starting to be more aware of other divers’ safety, instead of just mine and my buddy. This was a steep learning curve, as I knew 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. Additionally, with the daily feedback and mentoring I received from Dan and the team.
Starting the Divemaster Intern training
Then we had the 24 skills learned as an open water diver. I fumbled through them in my dim and distant past. Now it was expected I 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!” With a series of breathing exercises, patience and endless pool hours I was taught how to overcome this by Dan. These weekly pool sessions helped me immensely and armed me with the water skills that I would need going forward. (It doesn’t look good if you drift away or end up the wrong way around, when demonstrating the skills!!).
Getting through the training
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, the 800m snorkel swim! As you would expect from PADI the course was laid out well. But the internship included many other areas of skill including; boat craft, marketing, sales, kitting up customers and packing equipment.
Now nearly finished
I can look over the past months and say it was one hell of an experience. I am a more confident, competent diver and know how to react to emergencies and daily issues of other divers. It has taught me a lot about myself and been the most rewarding programme 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. But it was in no means a barrier. So I would safely say that if you want it, go for it and never give up!!