Thursday, September 24, 2020

Divemaster Stories from Hell

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Divemaster of the World be warned – They are still out there

Everyone has had a dive that they would rather forget, not because the visibility was bad or there were no fish life, but rather because of fellow divers actions.

Many divers will have a favourite war story of the "Buddy from Hell" they have had though very few will ever admit to being a culprit (we’re all great divers after all). Here though are a few moments and divers I’d rather forget.

Hunt the buddy

Perhaps one of the most common problems divers seem to face when they dive on holiday is a new buddy. You’ve been randomly paired up with a complete stranger and they are interested in something that your not!

My worst experience was in my first week of employment of guiding dives. It was my first paid dive job and I was eager to impress my boss, the dive briefing has gone well, everyone was in dive pairs and we were ready to enter the water.

Once grouped on the bottom we set off on the dive, however one pair decided that they had seen enough of each other turning their backs and fining in opposing directions (and I thought they were happily married!) My dive career flashed before my mask as I had visions of having to returning to the boat without my full quota of divers in tow.

After retrieving the pair (thank god for good fins) my problem buddy pair didn’t stop there, between them they had invented a new propulsion system, which dramatically reduces the amount they had to fin. It involves an unsuspecting diver below you, by grabbing the tank valve they found that they could then push the diver down until they hit the bottom, getting a really good grip on the coral below thus giving them the leverage to pull themselves along over the top.

After watching this once in disbelief and managing to pry the poor diver off the reef they continued to attempt to repeat this process and generally made a nuisance of themselves by knocking regulators out of fellow divers mouths. At this point I aborted their dive. Once back on the boat, they remained oblivious to the other divers stares of disbelief and coral cuts. My boss who had been watching from the surface to my relief refused them a second dive and I’m still amazed that this actually happened!

Divemaster’s of the World be warned. They are still out there.

Eco Environmentally friendly dive guides NOT

We dive, we head under the water in the majority of cases to see that marine life, as such you would have thought that dive leaders and instructors would want to set a good example and look after their own bit of underwater world. One colleague’s experience of diving in Hawaii was far from friendly. After diving on the reef and being told not to touch anything he travelled to Hawaii to have his dive leader attempt to ride a turtle. You have to wonder what he would have done if the turtle has turned up its flippers and died? I’m all for close encounters with marine life, but surely you have to draw the line when you end up threatening its life? But no, I’ve been on lots of dives where the dive guide thinks that to entertain you have to scare the wildlife, from attacking octopus, to playing with ray’s and sharks. The complete oblivion these people show towards the very marine life that we go to see is incredible.

How many knives?

Probably the scariest dive I’ve ever been on was to 15m on the Great Barrier Reef. 30m visibility, calm waters – what’s to be scared of you may ask? It could have had something to do with my buddy carrying enough knives to scare Rambo. After trying to persuade him not to carry all of them I managed to get him to enter the water with only two remaining.

I spent the rest of my dive hoping he wasn’t going to stab anything. I understand the necessity for a dive knife to cut yourself out of entanglement, but you have to draw a line…over three knives on a reef dive and I start to worry that someone’s taken out extra life insurance on me!

For every not so good dive, remember as divers we do not have bad dives just dives that are not as good as others. I’ve had 50 more excellent ones, but it’s the bad ones that stick in your mind…so if your diving, and you feel a downward sensation, protect you knees and hope you haven’t met my old buddy pair from the reef!

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