To Dive and to Surf – A divemaster Internship review by “The” Taylor Kemp

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My name is Taylor Kemp, and after training as a divemaster with Oceans Unlimited, My dive skills would amaze you.

I came to Oceans in January 2012, after getting my open water certification in Canada. I chose Oceans after emailing a few dive shops. Georgia responded to my email that day and answered all of my questions. After emailing her a few more times, I told her I’d be seeing her in a couple of weeks.

When I arrived at the shop Georgia was the first person I met. She introduced me to everyone, and then drove me to Ana’s house. Ana’s house is where new trainees go when they first arrive in Quepos. It is a great place to stay while figuring out the town and settling in. I stayed at Ana’s house for two weeks and it was a great experience. She was always in a good mood and ready to feed you as much as you could eat. She cooked me breakfast and dinner every day, cleaned my room, and took care of my laundry.

Before I started the Divemaster Internship, I had to complete the advanced, and rescue course. Both are great courses made even greater by the team at Oceans Unlimited. From the beginning of my advanced course I began learning how the shop functioned. Along with diving almost every day I got into the swing of things quickly. The usual daily routine would involve getting to the shop at 7:15am and preparing for the morning dive trip. This involved checking tanks, greeting and equipping customers, and loading the truck. After a five minute ride to the marina we would load the boat and be on the water by 8:45. After a 10 minute trip to the dive site we would be under the water at 9:30. After diving all morning we would head back to the shop, unload the truck, rinse, and ready equipment for the next day. After sorting out the equipment it was onto filling tanks. After the tanks had been filled the day is 99% over. Most days I was done at the shop around 2:30 leaving plenty of time to make it to the beach and surf.

What were the highlights of my trip?

Well, diving in the ocean for the first time was definitely one of them. I came to Costa Rica with four “open water” dives that took place in a smaller manmade lake. My first dive in the ocean, we found two sleeping reef sharks both around eight feet long and a huge snapper with a terrifying set of teeth.

Seeing whales and dolphins. Standing on the side of the boat, looking into the water, and seeing a massive humpback whale swim beneath you is pretty amazing… So is being within 10 feet of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.

My trip to Canyo Island. Georgia sent me to assist another divemaster with guiding a tour at the island. After getting a ride south to dominical at six am we then took an hour and a half boat ride to the island. Visibility was great, and on our first dive we saw ten reef sharks and numerous schools of fish…pretty awesome.

Learning search and recovery diving. I made S&R one of my free speciality courses I got included with the divemaster program. In only my first few S&R dives I learned a lot from Bob, the resident S&R expert. Both Captain Bob and Captain Eddie are great on the water teachers, both helping me greatly in the ways of knot tying.

Surfing. Other than diving, surfing was my favourite thing about Costa Rica. Georgia hooked me up with a free surf lesson and thus my surfing experience began. I started surfing as much as my body would allow. I started to hone my skills at Manuel Antonio and then from Georgia supplying some wheels, to renting a car, I was able to take my surfing to some other Costa Rican spots.

Night diving. My first night dive blew my mind. We saw a free swimming shark, a couple free swimming eels, and a sea turtle. If you have never dived at night, you should.

Lastly, cookouts on the beach. These are my favourite memories of my friends in Costa Rica. After diving or surfing all day, meeting everyone on the beach for a beer, cooking fresh fish and lobster is something I will never forget.

I will leave you with this…

The diving team at Ocean’s Unlimited is fantastic. Bob, with his experience in everything scuba taught me a lot. Georgia was there to help me with anything I needed, and was always willing to pass some knowledge my way. JT was involved throughout every course I took in both instructing and just being there for me as a diving partner. He is a great teacher and a one of a kind dive partner. Kaitlin was great to dive with and is a great person to have in the water if you ever happen to find yourself low on air. Last but not least Giovanni is an awesome instructor, always in a great mood and fun to dive with.

My Trip to Costa Rica to spend three months with Oceans Unlimited was a unique experience that I took a lot away from. I made some amazing friends, and now have a dive shop to return to when I need a break from the cold water in Canada. For anyone thinking of training here I would highly recommend it, and would sum up my trip in one word… awesome.