Scuba in the Community
One from the Archives from SDA Magazine…
Over the past years Tech Dive Academy, based in Port Douglas, North Queensland, and Mossman High School have offered PADI scuba lessons to students that have shown interest, passion, enthusiasm and have excelled throughout the year.
This year was no different with Tech Dive Academy, offering the instruction and tuition to twelve students along with Greg Cox, a mediator at the school. Previous years have entailed the PADI entry level course called Scuba Diver, with one day diving on the Great Barrier outer reefs. This year it was the decision of Tech Dive and Mossman High School staff that we would conduct the PADI Open Water course, a four day program that certifies divers to dive worldwide to a maximum depth of 18 meters.
As in all courses, this was broken up First with a Medical examination conducted my Dr. Mark. Into theory: conducted by Bruce Wynn, a TDA dive instructor and Greg. A pool day broken: up into 5 sessions, teaching the required skills for the course and finally 2 separate days aboard an outer barrier reef charter boat based in Port Douglas. These were all conducted by Bruce and I, Ross Anderson.
After having taught for over 9 years I thought this was the perfect group of divers that I could introduce some extra curriculum into the course. The second most important rule in SCUBA to ‘Always look cool’ was introduced and when time came to pack away I instructed to the kids that the best way to stow, care for and travel with the equipment was to make a “taco” which all mastered in the first 5 minutes. Of course you can imagine that every time I mentioned TACO the kids were on their gear in a heartbeat trying to roll the best TACO and all had their gear organized and tidied after every session.
I can now write firsthand about this experience, both as an Instructor and as a student. One, because I was once in a similar situation having learned to dive at an early age and found myself giving praise to the students and my original instructor alike. And two, because I myself learnt a lot from the students and the organizing efforts involved in such a group.
The kids were great and enthusiastic in every aspect of the course and being in their shoes once upon a time I was more lenient when I discovered that the “homework” segments were not completed on time, which gave Bruce and Greg a few more grey hairs, both however gave freely of their free time ensuring that everything went smoothly. I am happy to say that all of the Knowledge segments were successfully achieved for the completion of the course.
The first day consisted of Mark, the owner of TDA, driving to Mossman School to collect the kids so that we could get started on revision and the Confined Water session. Organizing such a group seemed a daunting task but under the stern guidance and the “always look cool” philosophy the kids excelled in all five sessions with relative ease I did however see a few new hand signals being invented. At the end of the day we were all pleased with the progress of the kids. I have always believed, which was once true of myself that kids are fast learners, have good waterman-ship skills and are, for lack of a better word, fearless.
The days that proceeded consisted of Bruce going to the school to conduct tuition and revise quizzes issued for the course. Greg was himself a student of the course did well facilitating Bruce on the knowledge segments.
The “fun days” of ocean diving went just as any instructor can dream of with all students meeting at the marina, Pt Douglas where they were clearly on their best behavior, under the supervision and guidance of Mr. Cox, or ‘Coxy’ as many refer to him.
Bruce and I were well aware of the challenges that lay ahead, knowing that there are many contributing factors that influence diver’s behavior underwater. Logistically we separated the group into two with students “buddying” with one another. I will remember the moment forever when after just six minutes dive time we had successfully managed all thirteen students comfortably underwater and giving the “OK” sign. Every instructors dream and I can’t give enough praise to Bruce and the students for their enthusiasm and co-operation during the course.
The skills that followed were executed with seeming ease and the subsequent dive was a pleasure to guide. My only plea was not to party too much the on Saturday night as Sunday was the next meet.
Day two, and again we were greeted at the marina with a dozen happy smiles and I couldn’t help smile to myself knowing that this was possibly one of the most challenging yet one of the most rewarding courses I have ever conducted. Before diving, the TACOS were unwrapped and the group was split again and I did the briefings while Bruce completed relevant knowledge segments of the course. By now he’d had learnt how to manage the boys of the group with his stern presence and I ended up with the girls. Team “A” officially.
This was the final day of the course with only two dives remaining. There are many skills learned during the course and the final day brought us the most challenging of the lot, due to the sheer number and size of the group we really needed the utmost attention and co-operation from everyone. They stepped up well to the tasks and both dives and the skills went well and without a hitch with all students becoming fully certified.
Thank you to all who participated in this course all of you made this an unforgettable experience and helped me realize why I have chosen this career in the first place. Seeing the satisfied faces was a good reminder of this to me and I would and hope that my open Water instructor felt the same satisfaction all those years ago.
I’d like to thank the staff at Tech Dive Academy for their support and guidance and all parents and students alike for supporting roles they played in helping to make the dreams of many come true, Dr Mark and Wife Karrie for their Medical expertise in facilitating the medicals, Greg Cox and the other facilitators of Mossman High School for their help and guidance. And finally, the kids for everything they put into and took from the course.