A Divemaster is born
It’s been an interesting, exhausting, challenging, at times frustrating and most definitely overwhelmingly positive and rewarding experience.
The divemaster internship at World Diving Lembongan comprises of many hours of studying, informative practicals and as much divemaster shadowing as possible, living the role from guest sign in to gear fit out to weight stacking and gear rinsing at the end of the day. You’re not used as a slave as I’ve heard can happen elsewhere but rather spend your time devoted to the craft of learning what a divemaster is and does and how to become one.
As well as the day to day diving, learning and shadowing there are a number of physical, practical and written tests along the way. I scored ninety three percent on my final exam which sounds far better than it is as the questions are actually pretty easy if you’ve done any studying of the course materials at all. It’s just that PADI has a knack of convoluting even the most basic of questions and a couple of mistakes were me falling for that; a few I’d swear we never covered and the rest, well those are the ones I’m cross with myself about, but anyway I passed.
We’d been trying to complete the mapping part of our exam for a while but seasonal high tides and swell made it next to impossible to find days calm or clear enough to map the shallow house reef. There was talk of us mapping an area in Cenigan Bay where a multitude of Buddhas have been positioned but sadly that didn’t happen and we were stuck with the comparatively boring (ok fine it’s beautiful but not a field of Buddhas beautiful now is it?) and overly mapped house reef where thankfully calm descended and with good visibility and we finally got the job done. My map isn’t going to win any awards for accuracy or style but seeing as neither was the goal I’m one happy divemaster.
The ultimate morning dawned yesterday, the final hurdle at last within sight: rescue scenarios. Now I know my rescue and was lucky enough to have a refresh when I assisted on a rescue course a few weeks ago but none of that stopped me feeling so nervous I wanted to throw up as we left the bay. And the days dives were to Manta point and Crystal Bay, two of the highest boat traffic sights we dive at, awesome, yeah totally not 😂. The journey to Manta Point is one of my favourites along the Jurassic Southern coast of Nusa Penida, limestone islets jutting from the sea across from the sheer cliffs edging Penida, it is truly breathtaking and was almost enough to distract me from the ball of nerves making itself at home in my gut, almost.
Peering over the side of big boat at Manta Point I could see the bottom clearly, not a good sign for spotting Manta who are coming here to gorge and clear water means nothing for them to feast on. Rather than that ruining the dive we were able to explore what is actually a really pretty dive site which I’ve never seen before because it’s always been full of manta. After an hours lovely dive and at the safety stop without warning my rescue scenario began when one of our group faked a heart attack drifting to the bottom. Adrenaline and training kicked in and I’m pretty proud of my responses. As Kai, Nick and JHubz were part of our dive group I already had excellent assistants on hand (Extra lovely thanks to the Blue Corner Dive boat who were the ONLY boat to offer assistance, as no one knew this was only a simulation) Big boat was picking up divers and the wait to be picked up seemed endless but soon enough we were back on board, Kai prepping the oxygen and me doing CPR and giving rescue breaths and I am pleased to say he came around and I passed!
We moved to Crystal Bay for the next dive and having successfully saved Jack in Kai’s rescue we headed out on a celebratory dive in which John led us to the Bat Cave. An actual cave filled with bats which can be reached when the stars agree, the current is low and your dive guide knows where it is. The current on the way was strong and downwards and I feared John turning at any moment to abort but soon we were in a sandy gully which turned into a rock walled valley and then we were in the darkness of the cave entrance. Moving upwards maybe three metres towards the light we emerged still under metres of water but within a perfectly clear light filled pool surrounded by shoals of sweepers. Pretty freaking magical! John gave the signal to ascend and we gently broke through the mirror smooth surface into a cave filled with flying shrieking pooping bats, WOWWWWWW! We’d been warned not to take our mask or regulator off as the bat poop reeks so just enjoyed the moment before descending and continuing our dive around the front of the bay’s tiny island, Kai fist pumping his happiness non-stop.
Back on board and despite my asking every three to four minutes John wouldn’t confirm our certification as divemasters until he had done about an hours’ worth of paperwork back at the office, But he had to eventually and I AM A PADI CERTIFIED DIVEMASTER! WOOHOO!! Kai is too FYI 😃
In addition to the professional and supportive team at World Diving it was great having both Patricia and Troels around at the beginning for advice and support. Patricia completed her Divemaster with World Diving a few years ago and Troels was finishing his up as I arrived and their hands on experience and willingness to share helped ease me into the process. Having fellow dive master trainees was both a blessing and a curse; it was nice having people in the same situation to practice with but occasionally challenging being kept to the same schedule. I found being able to brain drain Ben or John one on one an invaluable experience and I would highly recommend World Diving to anyone looking for a great place to complete their divemaster. They are inclusive and supportive and the diving is world class.
I started my PADI divemaster internship almost six weeks ago; it seems crazy that in such a short time I have learnt so much and improved so dramatically and yet I have. Sometimes the universe has a way of showing you the way, even when you’re not looking.
Tink, the divemaster Xx