Goodbye DMT, Hello certification!

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So after three and a bit months I am now a fully certified dive master! In that time I did my advanced, EFR, rescue, 5 specialties and helped out in 2 IDC’s. I feel like I accomplished a lot in those three months! I am also incredibly thankful that I ended up doing my dive master at Rich Coast. I know quite a few DM’s now and most of them were either treated like slaves, working long and hard hours or had, at times, shoddy teaching. I didn’t get either of these at Rich Coast, so I was extremely lucky to end up in a good dive shop rather than a bad one! I of course do not think I am now the perfect dive master after coming out of this course, there is always going to be more that I can learn but I definitely have had a great start thanks to Martin , Brenda and the other instructors at Rich Coast who have all helped me out at one time or another.

The work was sometimes hard and frustrating, for me in particular knot tying and navigation. I did however find myself teaching a group of people how to tie knots on my recent San Blas island trip as we had to sleep in hammocks. I clearly learnt something huh, Martin be proud. And yes they all stayed up thanks! Talking of Martin I think there were times when we probably wanted to throttle each other or in my case throw myself off the boat with a weight belt! He totally misses me though I bet. Somehow we made it through and he really was a great teacher, I knew this even when I wanted to drown him!

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Of course it was not all hard work, it wouldn’t be fun if it was! I made a ton of friends in Playa Coco and it was definitely sad to leave them all behind. To be honest I was actually a pretty responsible dive master in training. Most DMT’s spend the other half of their time getting absolutely trashed and then diving the next day barely alive. Alas I am not 18 anymore and my hangovers have got worse. I could not imagine anything worse than lugging tanks around in the boiling heat and with a hangover! That to me sounded like my idea of hell. There were still definitely some tired mornings on the boat though and I had some wonderful nights with all of my friends or having days at the beach together.

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I’m also incredibly happy I ended up doing my dive master in the Pacific and not the Caribbean. I’ve just been diving in the Caribbean in Colombia and yes it’s beautiful and yes there are lots of colourful fish and coral but it’s just NOT the Pacific! Everyday I would dive and see sharks, tons of rays, huge morays and dozens of my adorable puffer fish. Even snorkelling (well when I guided snorkelling anyway :p) I found sharks and usually eagle rays. I’ve tasted both and I’m sorry the Pacific is just better. Not only that but when you learn to dive in the Pacific you have to contend with currents, thermoclines, sometimes bad visibility. I think learning in these kind of conditions helps to make you a better diver, it makes it harder but infinitely more fun.

So there you are the end of three wonderful months in Playa Coco. I moved out of my little house, said goodbye to my friends and colleagues and headed down to South America. I will definitely be back, I mean I totally didn’t get to dive with bull sharks or mantas so there’s a great excuse to return 😉

Do you think you’re up for the dive master challenge? Contact dive@richcoastdiving.com for more info and come have as much fun as I did.

– Sarah

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