Wow. There are so many things that I want to say that I don’t know where to start.
First, the divemaster program was completely the opposite of what I expected. I imagined myself having tons of time for myself, doing yoga, discover iceland, everything except for Diving. (haha) Other PADI programs like advanced Open water, Deep Diver, and Rescue focus on your own development and improvement on diving.
The divemaster course is a big transition from being that vacationer diver to a full time diver that takes cares of others. Yes- you can still enjoy a dive and point out cute little crabs, but its not the main focus of the dive anymore. Instead, you are to focus on helping other divers, give them guidance, and if necessary, save their life. I guess I wasn’t prepared for that BIG transition.
During my three months in Iceland, I was able to dive for fun and dive for work. My fun dives brought back the relaxation and fun in diving. My work dives made me a better leader and stronger person.
Some people say “Get a REAL job.” Well- why can’t scuba diving be a real job? People generally think scuba diving is a bunch of people jumping into water and having fun. What they don’t think about is the divemaster getting to work two hours beforehand and determining all the gear you need (packing tanks, BCDs, drysuits, etc). Then, after meeting with the “customers” we make small talk, try to make you feel comfortable, give you fun facts about the area. During the dive, we make sure you are ok, fix anything that goes wrong and even take pictures! Afterwards, we take off all your gear, we help you with anything you need. Then when you leave, we clean everything up. I didn’t even mention all the logistics behind the dive shop organizing all the tours. There’s a whole team of people answering questions, planning, etc.
Before this divemaster program, I really didn’t know how much effort went into all of this. I imagined just this fun time of jumping into the water everyday and shouting “Yay! lets have some fun guys!”
Now that its over, I feel like I owe it to myself and work somewhere for a little bit as a divemaster. Prove that my time in Iceland was worth something. I heard other places (warmer waters) being a divemaster is easier. Usually other countries will have other staff to do the labor intensive stuff (loading gear, tanks, etc) while your job will focus on the dive itself. That sounds like a proper holiday from what I have been doing in Iceland.
A lot of tourists always asked me… why iceland?!?! Why not somewhere warmer? My reply to customers was always this: I’m from California where I dive in drysuit. I wanted to improve my skills in a drysuit while also having fun in Iceland. But the truth is, I chose this place because Patrik was here and I wanted to be with him. In the end, I don’t think I would have ever chose another place. Sure, it would have been fun in Thailand, or faster in the states, but then I wouldn’t have all the experience I gained in Iceland. I chose a large dive company and learned all the logistics, all the different types of problems, all the while in the toughest climates. So I am happy that I got a divemaster certification from Iceland. I’m happy that Patrik was a proper instructor and really made sure I knew how to do everything.