Hi, my name is Fatin. I am a dive addict. And the only therapy I’m getting is to continue my addiction.
Started from an insecure diver, I blossomed to a confident divemaster through the span of the 8-weeks long Divemaster internship, with the guidance of the instructors, Divemasters and Interns.
The weather of Tenerife, the divers, the dive sites and the crew are the main reasons for me to extend my internship for another 3 weeks to gain more experience as a Divemaster before I wake up to reality.
Another dive-a-licious week with awesome divers like Richard, Maggie and Tony. It was my first time leading dives and being in-charge of the dive logistic/itinerary. In the beginning, it was super nerve-wrecking because I was used to following everyone else. But after the first time, leading is actually very fun and satisfying. Also, it helps knowing there are others interns to back me up.
This week also marks the first week of two new interns. Pretty cool divers who will definitely blossom into awesome divermasters within the next 6 weeks. Can’t wait to see their progression!
When you say something over and over again, you start believing it, and I am starting to believe I am really a Starfish, a brainless creature, but still a pretty sight.
This week, I have been leaving breadcrumbs around the different dive sites in Tenerife; my dive knife and my starfish earring. After my rampage of killing black longspine urchins during the first dive of the fateful Wednesday, I didn’t clip my dive knife properly, and it decided to move from my handle to the reef.
On the second dive, everyone else was involved in the massacre operation of the black spines, while I was desperately searching for other signs of life to keep me preoccupied. It was such a bleak day. And then on Sunday, my earring got stuck on my BCD and then fell into the rocky reef, making it difficult for me to retrieve.
Moral of the story: be a zombie and get myself some brains.
On a serious note, this week was a time for both a goodbye and some hellos.
Paul left us to return back to reality. It was an awesome dive-alicious week with him and the crew. Just the 5 of us, hitting dive sites and creating bubbles underwater. We explored a new dive site for me called “El Poris”, a beautiful rock wall dive, where we saw a sleeping cuttlefish, several moray eels, octopuses and a Virgin Mary statue underwater. We are going to miss him.
Two new interns, Abu and Flo, just arrived over the weekend, can’t wait to meet and work with them!
I AM FINALLY A DIVEMASTER!!
I would like to thank my family, friends, motley crew on the Divemaster internship for believing in me: The Instructors, Divemaster, interns. Couldn’t have done this without you lot.
*Takes a bow, awaiting for endless applause and showers of red roses*
Frankly, once everything is accomplished and after the momentarily feeling of accomplishment, the “meh” blank expression slowly settled in. To put in a cliché manner, it is like the three stages of mountain climbing.
Stage 1: Self- doubt. At the foot of the mountain, you look up and question yourself whether you are crazy and whether or not it is possible to conquer it.
Stage 2: Giving up. Half way up the mountain, panting and out of breath, pain surging through your entire being, you look up thinking whether this pain is worth it to continue on, and then look down thinking it is much easier to go back down.
Stage 3. Accomplishment. At the top, you scream “I DID IT!!” and happy thoughts of having conquered causing you to have a permanent goofy grin on your face. After a couple of deep breaths and moments of enjoying the view, you wonder what’s next. This needs some time to figure out.
Apart from the grimness, it was an awesome week diving. Great customers, crystal clear visibility and amazing sea animals. Managed to spot giant stingrays, octopuses, arrow crabs and high-5ed a green turtle.
When I first arrived, the fear of not being able to pass my divemaster course loomed over me. Am I fit enough? What if I can’t pass my stamina? What if I can’t pass at all?
For the past 5 weeks, everyone on the internship helped me out, shoving those vile thoughts out of my head and focusing on accomplishing my goals step by step. At the current moment, the skills and stamina components are done and out of the way. What’s left to pass are my exams and clocking 10 dives!
This week’s dives started out most horribly but ended perfectly, it’s like the weather is apologising for throwing a tantrum for the first half of the week.
The first two days of boat dives was rough, the sea was like a spoilt kid screaming and thrashing for candy. The surge was almost as tall as me and I became seasick due to the excessive boat rocking. The visibility was barely an arm length and there are random sandstorm on the ocean floor. During midweek, the vast blue was so bad that dives had to be cancelled.
On Sunday, after being sent to timeout, the sea calmed down drastically and the visibility was so good I could see the bottom from the boat. Beautiful sea creatures came out of hiding. The giant stingrays, one as big as me, were frolicking in the reef greeting the divers.
Side news, I believe I should be nominated for an Oscar award as I managed to almost drown both Seahorse and Paul for their rescue confine exercise as a panic diver. It was so much fun trashing around like a lunatic, tearing off both their masks and regulators and making them guzzle saltwater.
It has been a satisfying week.
It already been a month!
On Monday I was off diving at Alacala, with Josh, a customer from UK, and Flounder. The visibility was horrible with only 1 metre and the waves continuously breaking on the rock steps. We were pleasantly surprised by the rare sight of a sea snake before it was engulfed by the moving sediments, and the nonchalant greeting from the resident green turtle.
The second day of diving was on Sunday at Pequeño Valley, MY FIRST BOAT DIVE in Tenerife! The visibility wasn’t great weather but I managed to see a passing shadow of an eagle ray flapping off to the horizon amongst other things.
In between the two highlights of the week, brain-cells-killing tasks went underway. Jumpy, our ever-loyal van, decides to take a little holiday vacation to replace her gears. Administration works like cleaning and painting the boat, cramming dive theories and Divemaster surface skills speeches, and cleaning up the dungeons. The dungeons in case you are wondering are our special place full of delights and shiny things, also known as the store rooms!
We also welcomed a new Divemaster intern from Australia. She’s a pretty cool diver and companion. Can’t wait to torture her for the Rescue Diver Scenarios!
So my 8 weeks in Tenerife have now sadly come to an end, but at long last I am a PADI divemaster!
I could not have done it without great company from my fellow interns along the way, fantastic support from everyone here and of course special thanks must go to all of my Instructors for all their hard work and patience for getting me through my pool skills.
The start of the week saw me get signed off on my remaining pool skills and complete my EFR training, and the remainder of the week saw my mum accompany us on 11 dives.
On Tuesday we went to Tabaiba where my mum was blown away by the wreck of the El Ratón and the fish life around it, and we also went on only my second night dive of my internship at Abades. This did not disappoint as we saw lots of critters about including a huge angel shark that was completely undisturbed by our presence, as well as some sea hares and a cuttlefish burying itself into the sand.
Wednesday saw us attempt to see the rays at Poco but oddly they didn’t show up.
On Thursday we went to a rather shallow dive at Las Galletas which none of us had dived before and then did Yellow Mountain for the final time – again no angel sharks this time!
On Friday me made another attempt to see the rays at Poco but again they weren’t there, much to my mum’s disappointment. We did however do a lovely dive at El Delphín (another site I had not dived before) and I would definitely do that again on another visit here.
Friday night was of course Flo’s (first) final night before returning back to Belgium for 11 days so we marked the occasion by going to Taj’s for my final time and me doing more karaoke down at The Bar.
Our day off saw me and my mum along with Flotsam and Jetsam attempt to do the long walk at Masca but unfortunately the water taxis weren’t running so instead we went to Garachico in the north-west and did a windy walk up the cliffs to San Juan del Reparo and back down again.
Like the week before it was great to get out of the South and see a different part of the island, which felt a lot more traditionally Spanish.
Last but not least, Sunday (and my final) dive was much more relaxed at El Porís.
I am sad to leave Tenerife and the Internship but I will keep on checking the website for news and blogs, I hope it won’t be too long before I am back again.
All of a sudden I realise that after this week I only have one week left. Seriously, where has the time gone?!
My training is almost complete, I am just left to do my EFR, the kit exchange exercise and to have the last few pool skills signed off. Hopefully this should all get done on Monday, leaving the rest of my final week to enjoy diving with my mum, who arrived on Friday with my dad and is here until I leave.
This week started off with our first angel sharks of the season. Seemingly out of nowhere on our second dive of the Monday at the Yellow Mountain swim through Nick, Flo, Dudley, Hermit, Dan and I saw 3 angel sharks, each of differing sizes but the largest was just under 6ft in length!
What a shame that none of us had working cameras with us on that dive, and no more have been seen this week.
Tuesday saw me lead my first group of divers alone with no other interns as I took Dudley, Hermit and Garry to Poco Naufragio where we encountered Stumpy again. Pequeño Valle was the calmest I’ve dived so far and I was extremely pleased with how everything went that day.
Wednesday saw me looking after the shop on my own, although being in charge of the shop for a whole day did feel kind of empowering.
On Thursday we went to Yellow Mountain but no angel sharks were seen this time. I did get to dive with Linda for the first time though.
Friday saw me dive Alcalá for the first time since my first week. A mistake my end of forgetting to bring spare regs saw me give my regs to one of the customers, Maureen, while Flo took the customers to see the turtles. I snorkelled on the surface overseeing them and still got close to the turtles (I’m talking face-to-face, less than 1ft away from me close!).
Miraculously, the set of regs that didn’t work on two tanks worked on my tank, so I was able to dive the second dive. The highlight of that dive was seeing a feeding duck-billed ray.
Now my parents are here, I hope my mum gets to see all the amazing things that I have seen within the week she is visiting.
This week consisted of me diving on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with two days off on Friday and Sunday and a short day on Saturday.
Monday saw me head to Abades for only the second time, on a day with high winds and strong swell, with Hermit, Flo and Dave, a seasoned customer. Flo took the lead on both dives.
On Tuesday, Flo and I took Hermit, Jens and two more customers Phil and Dean firstly to Las Eras and the second dive of the day was in El Porís where we got further than usual due to good air consumption by the divers and Flo’s careful dive leading. Both dives had lovely visibility and there was plenty of life on show including big cuttlefish, octopus, shoals of bream, damselfish, scorpionfish and a couple of nudibrancs.
Wednesday Ebb, Hermit, Sofia (Ebb’s visiting Italian friend) Nick and I to Tabaiba (which like Abades and El Porís I had only dived once before) to do two moderately deep dives on the wreck of the El Ratón. It was amazing to see so many fish circling around us on the deck, including one very curious barracuda. We also took a look inside the wheel house and it provided a very disorientating sensation as the bubbles moved in a different direction to the orientation of the wreck.
Away from diving, we got a free meal at Flashpoint courtesy of Flo losing a bet with me on who would do better in our exam, I passed my Emergency First Response exam and four of us took a trip to El Teide and round to the north side of the island, which was stunning on such a clear day. It was also interesting to see how much more luscious and green the north side of the island by Santa Cruz is compared to the south. Pieter and I also went to Siam Park on Sunday, which was a fun day out but also a shame that more of our group didn’t come along due to still feeling the effects of a heavy night previously.
My third week on my Divemaster internship has been much quieter than my first two, mainly because at least i am starting to understand how everything works and where everything goes.
I was stuck on dry land for a couple of days and this time was spent fine-tuning my pool skills and I think I made good progress on that front this week as well as finishing most of my manual.
The dives I did get to go on were great especially our first dive at Poco Naufragio where we had two of our resident giant rays approach us right up close and Stumpy even sailed right over my head!
Pequeño valley is a dive site you have to go to. It has literally 1,000’s of fish everywhere.
Our third dive at Moon Pools was wonderful, with the light pouring into the shallow caves and holes in the rocks.
Another plus for this week was my mum’s camera arriving from back home so at long last I can take underwater photos again.
I’m looking forward to diving Yellow Mountain for the first time this week and hopefully getting much more open water time.
Matt and Ryan were back, with Sam and Dave for some more diving.
We took them to Poco Naufragio, where they had an amazing dive.
A very curious Stingray stayed with them for at least 15 minutes.
They also found two Black Moray Eels, sharing a little hole in between the rocks, and their neighbour, a Fangtooth Moray Eel, right next to them.
The second dive was to Starfish Bay, where they saw Yellow Goatfish, Sexy Shrimps, Red-backed Cleaner Shrimps and Scorpion fish.
A night to Poco Naufragio brought lots to see for our divers. Cuttle fish everywhere, Moray Eels and evern a Sting Ray popped up from the deep!
Hi, my name is Starfish. I am an Emergency First Responder, may I help you?”
Oh yea! I am officially qualified to give CPR during emergency situations, not that I’m going to run up to random strangers demanding whether they want to receive rescue breaths and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
This week passed by in a blur where days were melded with each other with accomplishments, new challenges and a favorite dive.
I helped with my first DSD participant, 11 year old Julien from France. Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) is basically a beginner diving course where one learns the basics and able to dive with instructor present. And it is interesting that although we had a language barrier (me in English and him in French), we communicated successfully using the universal diving sign language.
At the start of the open water dive, he had trouble with buoyancy and had to hold my hand to keep him in vertical position to fin around the reef. By the end of the day, he had the confidence to control his own buoyancy.
I am also half way through my Rescue Diver course, with two more tasks to complete and I can focus on my Divemaster course.
On the other hand, my hardest challenge yet is my physical fitness for the Divemaster course.
My usual exercise was constantly using my mouth and finger muscles, yapping away all day or typing continuously on my computer.
Now, everything will have to change. I have to work out more often and swim everyday, on top of the everyday hard-work.
So, my goal for the up-coming 6 weeks is simply to lower my timings for the stamina components. My timings so far:
400m swim- 14mins 01seconds
800m snorkel- 21mins 45seconds
100m tow- 4 mins
To wrap up the week, I managed to dive with Green Turtles!!! Not one, but THREE! I was so excited! I have seen turtles in my previous dives in Malaysia before, but they were usually disappearing in the endless blue. This time at Alcala, where the water was beautifully calm and crystal clear visibility after days of rough currents, the turtles came up close and personal with the interns, instructors and two DSD customers.
One was twice the size of a XL shirt. Such majestic and beautiful creatures. This marks my favorite dive in Tenerife so far.
I wanted to do my Divemaster internship because I’m a marine biology graduate struggling to find paid work in this economic climate and I thought getting a Divemaster qualification would not only be good for my job prospects but also be a worthwhile experience for me as a person who has been diving since they were 12.
I arrived two weeks earlier than the Divemaster interns would normally have started, and no sooner had I introduced myself I was doing skills in the pool, doing two shore dives and swimming 800m in a marina all on my first day.
The rest of the week has seen me meet one of our resident stingrays called “Stumpy”, come very close to two extremely friendly green turtles, conduct my first night dive in Tenerife and dive a fabulous wreck.
It has certainly been more full-on than I was anticipating, but that is not a bad thing at all! The only negatives that have really happened have been the Jumpy running out of gas on the motorway and my camera dying – let’s see what my insurance can sort out there.
Outside of diving I have enjoyed two meals out with the group, including an amazing curry at Taj’s with free sheesha and shots at the end, lovely home-cooked meals from Flo and Phil and cocktails on Friday night.
I have loved meeting all the current interns and all the staff at the dive shop also. Here’s hoping the next 7 weeks are just as exciting.