Perspective. Yesterday, I had a student diver that was debating on completing the open water course. He simply said “I can do the exercises. That’s not the problem. The problem is that I don’t like being under water. I don’t think I like scuba diving.” Hmm. I tred to sway him and tell him what a great job he did on day 1 of the pool session.
But then I thought, does he want to be convinced? Or should i lay off an just let him quit? I tried to tell him that I would do all the review skills privately and he could swim around the bottom of the pool and enjoy scuba diving without pressure. He was resistant. The more I try to be nice, the more he resisted.
The worst part was that I forgot his name. I asked him again, and he gave me a half laugh / half frustated remark. He was done. At this instance, I realized that I can’t force someone to finish a program. That’s something he needs to figure out. Maybe one day he will wake up with regret, and call the shop and finish the program. Maybe he will decide he loves to snorkel instead. Who knows.
I felt like I had failed as a divemaster.
Finally! A reason to take some time off from the internship. My sister and her BF have come to Iceland to visit. I started planning all the fun activities as quickly as I could. One awesome thing about Iceland is that the touring companies give out discounts to other companies’ employees. If I like the tour, I can recommend it to our customers as another activity to do.
In case you are wondering what awesome adventures you can do in Iceland, here’s what I have planned for my Sis:
Day 1: Pick up from Airport. Relax. Walk around the city, go to the Summer Festival. Eat at Icelandic Fish and Chips.
Day 2: Dogsledding on Langjökull glacier. Then take the 4×4 route to Thingvellier National Park. Go to Fontana (the real icelandic geothermal spa!)
Day 3: Puffin Tour in the morning, Laxness Horse Riding in the afternoon
Day 4: Big breakfast in town. Escape Room. Fishmarket, then Drinking at Fredrickson for the boot liters. Meet the rest of Dive.Is staff. Party!
Day 5: DIY Golden Circle Tour. Snorkeling at Silfra. Geysir. Gulfoss. Followed by the best restaurant in town – Grill Market.
Day 6: bye bye 🙁
There’s so many things I wish I could take them to if they had more time. Hopefully they like what I’ve organized and love Iceland as much as I do.
This week I got my OWN very first tip… $20 from an American couple. It just made my entire day that someone actually appreciated my help while diving.
Icing on the cake, today another dive instructor, CJ, gave me half of another tip (1500/2= 750 kroner) which I then used to by three scoops of ice cream from Valdis.
I have to thank all the guides that split their tips with me. I hope they are happy to give me part of their extra money and that I, in return, have helped them and made their day a little easier.
Ok, before I started I really getting into diving, I didn’t really know if we (customers) were supposed to tip. In Thailand, my local friend said there was no tipping. But then I got on a liveaboard and the Americans I was with told me they planned to tip everyone working on the boat. Then, I met Patrik, and he told me “YES! You should tip your dive guides!” Insert face palm here. I wish I could tell all previous guides I’m sorry I didn’t tip. I think I tipped, I can’t even remember. Now I won’t forget. I’ll be sure to bring $20USD from now on all my vacations so that guides can get their own “valdis” ice cream.
Tipping is a great gesture to give someone working hard a little extra props. I don’t expect tips while working. Its not customary in Iceland. There isn’t a glass jar by the scuba tanks asking for tips.
Since I don’t earn a salary here… the tip helps me treat myself after a hard day. oh that Ice Cream tasted like sweet sweet success. mmm mmm.
So the next time you are debating on whether to tip and extra $5- think about what $5 means to you and how much it would mean to the worker. That extra money might change their entire shitty day to one of the best days of the week.
THANK YOU TIPPERS! Woot woot!I feel like I’m on the top of the world with my Valdis Ice Cream!!
Feels like 4°C. Brrrrr….
Today I worked the surface shift for about 12 hours. At Dive.Is, they have a position called “Surface shift.” Its a person that’s not getting into the water. The responsibility is to prepare the morning gear (get all the hoods and gloves for the day ready). Organize the dive site and prepare for the morning customers to arrive. Assist the dive and snorkel teams get ready to get into the water. Go to the entry point of the dive site and assist each customer by having them spit into their own masks and then rinsing them out, putting on the customer’s masks so that they fit properly, and strapping everyone’s fins on. I probably put on over a 100 pairs of fins during a shift. It’s not the funnest shift to work, but its part of the whole learning experience. Here you learn how to fix stuff before someone gets into the water. Let’s say the regulator kept free flowing, well now you get to change the regulator out while the customer stands at the stairs. Its real “on the job training.”
Ok back to my rant of the day….. It was a really cold, windy and rainy day. My hang nails were at peak nastiness. Nothing could be done about them. At one point, I left a bloody mark on a customer’s cheek while assisting her with her mask and hood. It wasn’t that bad, but I was embarrassed that I got stuff on a customer.
At the end of the shift I couldn’t even unzip a guide’s drysuit. My hands and strength were just gone.
I’m glad that I’m experiencing all this as a trainee, I can’t imagine experiencing cold like this after working in dive industry for a bit. It’s only going to get easier, right?
BIG Props to all the guides that did this throughout the winter.
Now…I can’t wait to go home and defrost for an hour or two. Thanks to my app… I’m bloggin in the car 😉
Yesterday was the first time I experienced water in my drysuit. Not that bad… But definitely something I don’t want to experience again anytime soon.
After the first dive, I asked Patrik to check my zipper…. There was a very small gap near the end. So water slowly leaked in and filled my right arm. I think the worst part was my elbow. It got really old and felt liked I had arthritis or something.
The water and coldness really messed with my head. I felt like the soggy sweater was occupying my thoughts instead of the dive (work). Once we finished everything, I couldn’t get out of my drysuit. I usually have a hard time anyways, but then my right arm was hurting and I just couldn’t find the leverage or strength to pull my hands out of the right wrist seals.
Once we got back to the shop I hung my under garment up to dry… But 7 hours later, it still was wet for my morning shift.
So what does it feel like when your suit leaks? Well- the biggest difference is that you feel WET. I felt soggy and painfully cold. When I first started drysuit diving I thought my back was wet. But really that was just the suit compressing. That felt like someone out a cold rock on my back. In comparison, the leak felt like a sharp painful coldness. Now I can explain the difference to customers.
- Double check your own zipper before jumping into the water
- Double check your own zipper before jumping into the water – really!!
- Customers always stress out about getting wet. They aren’t going to die of hypothermia, but if they do get wet, change before the next dive so they don’t become the most miserable person in the world
So it’s been about 2ish weeks into my dive program. Patrik suggested a “fun dive” on my day off. I thought he was crazy. Everyday I’ve been lugging around heavy gear and breaking my back- why would I do that on my day off?
Well, it turned out to be a good idea. We went to Grundarhverfi (north of Reykjavik). It’s a small reef with lots of macro stuff. Lots of hermit crabs, clams, slugs and stuff. I got to try out a 15L steel tank. I quickly realized that it felt like a giant turtle that ate too much. I couldn’t get my trim right and I think I was underweighted. www.divebuddy.com estimated 12kg for a 12L tank. I went with 10kg and a 15L… Should have been ok, right? Oh well- too late now.
If you ever thought about doing a divemaster course or an IDC, I think you really have to be a die hard fan of diving. Do it because you can’t wait to see what the water will show you. If you aren’t in LOVE with diving, this program can really wear you down. I’ve even had days where I wonder if I made the right decision to go on a sabbatical and become a divemaster. Then I open my eyes and take a deep breathe from my regulator and gawk at the life around me. This is amazing. Diving is amazing. Look at that hermit crab fighting with the other crab. Straight Crab gangster. Thug crab life. hooks up. This fun dive reminded me why I wanted to do the divemaster program in the first place.
Cheers to fun diving!!
Dive.Is is #1 on the Iceland scuba tours. As of today there are over 950 reviews. In the office they give rewards to employees that are mentioned in a five star review. As a dive master student, I don’t receive any incentives or rewards for tripadvisor. However- it would be nice to have someone appreciate my hard work. Some employees tell customers about the rewards and ask for a review. Other employees never ask customers. I’ve been on vacations where companies have asked for a review and ones who have not. I usually write reviews on tours that I really enjoyed. I don’t like to be a negative reviewer. (Ok one time I did write a bad review for a hotel that lost my Sonicare toothbrush… but then after I wrote the review, they gave me credit for a new one. So it was good that I wrote the review after all.
Now, being on the receiver end of reviews, it panics me. I don’t want ruin someone’s vacation. I don’t want to be that person that “lost” a toothbrush. The management at Dive.Is really has a keen business sense on this tripadvisor stuff. It really pushes me to make sure everyone has the time of their life on these tours.
So far I have received two positive reviews. One of the reviews was from a dry suit course where I assisted Patrik and Tom. We never mentioned tripadvisor … Yet they were kind of enough to mention our names and thank us. It truly was a great feeling knowing that someone recognized my hard work.
The other review was from a guided tour where the lead asked the customers to write us a review and mention our names so that our boss could give us some “thanks.” It also felt good that the customers had a good time and took the time to write a review, but I have to wonder if they would have written one if the guide didn’t mention it.
Is the praise less of a praise? Or are they equal in strength? Does it even matter? If I was an official guide would I ask someone to leave me a review? So far, I’ve never had the guts to ask anyone. It’s strange to me.
Customers: Before writing a review, think about who reads them and what impact its going to have on the company and future customers. Think about how happy you make an employee when you drop their name in the review.
Divemasters/ Employees: Regardless of tripadvisor, we should go out of our way to make sure each person has a fun day. They are on vacation. They want to have a good time. Be wary of the silent but deadly negative reviewer. It could be that nice grandma that was quiet all day. She didn’t complain, but did she have a good time? Make sure to treat everyone the same and with the expectation that this is going to be the best part of their vacation.
Hi! How can you tell someone is a newbie at Dive.Is? Just ask them to show their hands. It sounds silly really. I never thought I would be such a pansy about hands. Just look at my sausages. Its like I’ve been living in the middle ages as a clothes washer servant gal.
Being in the cold all day doesn’t help, but when you add scuba diving in 2°C water and helping customers with scuba gear – its a recipe for disaster. My nails have always been brittle, but now i’ve tried to really cut them short as possible.I feel like I’m in kindergarten or something. Nice short nails. No color, not even that white part of the nail on top of the pink part of the nail. No scratch post for me — ow.
Remember that horrible part of Black swan where Natalie Portman has the nastiest hang nail? Yep, thats me. My middle finger nail split when i was trying to put on a customer’s glove, so now my middle finger nail is slowly ripping. Filing the name down to stop the chip only made it worse.
Others have complained of their hands cracking at the joints. Think small cuts everywhere. My hands are extremely dry and feel like the tops are going to explode and crackle off my body, but still in tact. I have been trying to prevent this by covering my hands in “All good goop.” I call it my hippie creme because it smells like lavender. I got this stuff at Whole Foods before I left for my sabbatical. Its good for itchiness, cracked heels, burns, bites… you name it, it helps it. I would recommend anyone traveling for an extended time to get this stuff. $7. This stuff has really been a life saver.
I’ve also been putting on some Kiehl’s Creme de Crops Body Butter. This is some fancy smancy stuff I bought when I used to have a job. Now I can’t stop using it. I’m going to be sad when I run out and can’t get another bottle of it (especially in Iceland). At times I chuckle to myself because I feel like that chick at the bottom of the tunnel in Silence of the lambs. Her nails all jacked up from trying to crawl up. Then crazy psycho telling her to “put the lotion on or it gets the hose.” I’ll be a good scuba divemaster trainee and put the lotion on.
One instructor has recommended work gloves. So I started wearing a pair to try prevent my hands from scraping on the gear. I’m not sure if that helps, but its giving me some more grip strength.
Bottom line: My hands look like they came out of a horror movie. Iceland +Scuba = Dead Hands
Ok so it’s been longer than my first week, but I’ve been meaning to put together stuff for the first week. Working for scuba is really different from engineering. Like the opposite world different. It’s stressful if different ways, and rewarding in different ways.
When I wake up for Engineering, I drag myself out of bed and then start mentally preparing for the meeting and projects I need to do that day. For Diving, I physically prepare myself. Eat Breakfast, dress warm, making sure I have the right gear and food for the day.
Am I a servant?! Ok I’m exaggerating. I don’t really feel like a servant. I’ve learned that each Dive Instructor does things slightly differently. Some like their gear packed OCD like, some couldn’t give a crap as long as it made it to the dive site. I’m easily adaptable and take it all with a positive attitude.
Short on time: I’ve had very little time to complete the dive master manual knowledge reviews during the work week. On my days off I need to do more homework. The days seem to fly by. I’m enjoying the diving and meeting new people. If I could give a note to myself a week ago, it would have been-
Make a schedule so that you have time for knowledge reviews and having some Icelandic Fun.
Your future self,
Yesterday I did my first dive with a camera for customers. Usually I’m really bad at photographs so I was really nervous. Thankfully I was at least able to get a good shot of the customer between the fissure walls. The customers were really nice and bought the photos from the dive. Yes! Success!
During the dive, I swam backwards for a bit, but found myself hitting the sides or bottom of silfra. I also had a hard time equalizing with my hands as the camera was dangling around my wrists.
The entire time I was really nervous and anxious about my buoyancy. Afterwards my dive instructor, Patrik, checked my photos and gave me a thumbs up. Yay! One new skill learned today.
Divemaster Training Status: So after one week of my internship I have been supporting Dive.Is for a little over 53 hours.
- Divemasters are also tour guides. They need to be able to guide a group and take photos.
- Taking photos affects my buoyancy. I need to figure out a way to swim backwards and control myself.
- My body needs some rest. My hands are beyond DRY.
- Cold water diving is HEAVY. I’m constantly walking around with about 60+lbs of weight. Sometimes more.