This week we prioritised on-land training, the dives being nothing new, but what I learnt in briefs and theory sessions was far more interesting.
Firstly, we finally did our rescue exam, a simple multiple choice test that took about 20 minutes to complete, and I managed to get 98% correct! The questions were luckily all clearly written, so it wasn’t too much of a struggle. This final exam meant that I could finally become a rescue diver! I received my email confirmation today, and I’m sure the certification card shall soon arrive at home, I seem to be building up quite a collection now, as every now and then, my parents message me with a new card that has turned up in the post. Being a rescue diver means that now I can officially start leading dives, which is definitely thrilling, already I have heard that next week’s schedule contains dives that I will lead! Dive times have also been removed on such dives as it becomes our responsibility to check the tide tables to see when is the optimal time to head out, when we should be heading back by, and then we must notify the people that we are diving with of the time, and make sure that it is written out on the whiteboard in the kitchen that has our schedule.
As there shall soon be new volunteers and interns turning up in the next few weeks, our dive instructor has decided that now is the time to start training us for another divemaster skill, doing refresher dives. Simply put, if a diver hasn’t been diving for more than a year, then it is a good idea to do a refresher dive first, before they jump back into the fray. All we have to do is be there to help them set up their kit, give them a quick knowledge review, and practise some dive skills with them, making sure that they are comfortable with all of the steps again. It is a chance for a returning diver to have the support of a highly qualified diver to both monitor them and give tips and tricks to improve their diving. We’ve now had a brief talking through all of the skills required to lead such dives, and next week, I’ll go on a training dive to practise everything, and then, when the new people arrive, I shall lead a refresher for someone by myself!
We’ve also started our mapping project. Another component of divemaster training, we are expected to create a map of a dive site of our choice, we chose a local site that is lacking in information, Ankarandava. We’ve already had quite a few on-land planning sessions, looking over mapping techniques, what we want to include in the map, and how we are going to measure that. A couple of us have already been on a few disastrous practice dives, where we realised that some mapping techniques need changing or to be better thought-out. But hopefully everything is organised enough and that it works out alright!
Next week; Mapping dives and leading dives!