Like I said in the first diary I have always wanted to dive for a living. I have always been silently envious of the tanned expat dive leaders who exist in flipflops spending their days on the ocean, just living out of backpacks and needing nothing more from life than a tank, a beautiful reef and a ton of like minded friends. Perfection.
The Instructor Development Course (IDC) is the gateway. Throughout the 10 day course there were classroom presentations, pool work, open water skills practice and terrible role play scenario video’s made in the 90’s with what could have been the PADI ameteur dramatics society; the understudies. There’s more information of everything involved at www.idccostarica.com.
Following the IDC there is the IE; a 2 day exam where my traveling/diving future hinged on the balance of whether I could demonstrate a:) not putting my fake students life at risk by missing a crucial detail that could somehow lead to a drowning incident, b:) that I could recognise a dodgy bow line rigged to a lift bag and c:) a good grasp of physics, standards and physiology. Luckily I passed! And I got a certificate to put on fridge at home. The feeling of passing this exam was so good. I mean; getting a good grade in my bachelors degree was a good, winning the egg and spoon race at sports day in first school was also really good but this kind of elation is only coming from something you really really want to achieve with so much depending on the outcome. So with big relieved smiles and with a new PADI status, the IE group then went to join the Rich Coast Team at Coconutz bar where Holland got kicked out the final by Spain in the World Cup. Sorry Martin and Brenda!
In the months that followed I built up some experience teaching courses and really enjoying my new life. I had no desire to leave Costa Rica. It was always going to be seen through tainted glasses: 6 months away from home is not too long, I was still quenching the thirst of new adventure and I was living my dream of being paid to dive amongst sharks, dolphins and whales.
But all was to change again. After 7 months low season began, times were changing and friends were dispersing one by one and so sadly new adventures were forced upon me. I was tempted to stay in this part of the world, not only for the refried beans, avocado and $6 box wine that I had grown very fond of but because I still have so much to explore in Central America. And my Spanish vocabulary was nowhere near where I wanted it to be. I can still string a decent sentence together though! However plans changed, as things tend to, and I decided to head East to Asia.
In Asia scuba diving work is plentiful, the reefs are pristine and living is cheap. Friends confirmed the cost of the plane ticket could be made back in a matter of weeks and then earnings could be anything between $1k -$2k a month. I was to travel to Bangkok via LA and would spend a week with friends in San Diego on the way round.
A very merry leaving party was had on the beach where I had arrived slightly disheartened only 6 months earlier. When I stepped on that very same bus to head back to San Jose airport I couldn’t believe all that I had achieved and experienced. This is why I left the UK. Now I could appreciate that moving back home and regressing at work was really a giant step forward in disguise. What a fantastic journey so far.