19 July – My first dive as assistant

Time flies. It’s been a week since I last wrote already, and I haven’t done any diving before today. I’ve spent most of my time reading, coughing and making gurgling sounds from my lungs, except one day when I spent most of the day in bed, with short trips out to the little boys’ room. There’s a bit of a flu going around, or at the very least something that gives a bad cough and stomach trouble. I was first, and since then at least four of the others have had the same thing. The good thing is that I got a bit of a head start studying for my exams, the bad thing was that I didn’t get to do any diving with Helena before she headed out on the last leg of her adventure.

I’ve been getting to know the other people here as well. It’s a bit of a Nordic outpost here. The Sunlight divemasters, dm trainees and instructors are two Finns, two Swedes and a Dane, plus a couple that I think are Australian, a Brit and two Malays. I might have forgotten someone, but you get the picture…

I had my first full day on “duty” yesterday, and passed my three first exams. Most of it is pretty basic diving stuff, then there’s some physics and chemistry that was mostly just repetition from IB Chem and Phys, but the chapter on physiology in diving is a bit tougher on the old noodle. It’s been a couple of years since I last did any studying, but I still have the advantage of an academic’s skill in reading for exams.

Today I assisted on a dive for the first time. Shamse, one of the Malay instructors, took out three Chinese on a Discover Scuba Diving course, which means a very short introduction to safety and equipment, followed by a confined water dive. Two of the participants had never even snorkeled before, and one of them didn’t speak a word of English… Needless to say, I was pretty busy trying to keep them together while Sham was trying to get them to do some basic skills, but I had fun nontheless. I ended my dive with three meters as the max depth, as I had to swim back to shore with one diver who was unable to equalize her ears.

Tomorrow I am getting up early, as I’m assisting on the first dive at eight thirty. Before that it’s my responsibility to set up the equipment, and make sure everything’s ready. We’re going to a dive site called “Temple of the sea,” which is a rather large pinnacle we’ll swim around. From what I’ve heard, the divers out there almost always see Hector The Threelegged Turtle. Turtles are supposed to be migratory, but since this one has lost a leg, probably in some fisherman’s net, it stays put. Since he’s so easy to recognize, the divers have named him, and he’s one of the attractions of the “Temple.” Don’t ask me why he ended up being called Hector…

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