When asked to describe my experience at Oceans Unlimited, I don’t know where to begin. On arrival, in the heart of the rainy season when diving wasn’t even possible, I was welcomed to the family: Bob, Ileana and JT. It was my first time living alone in a foreign country but I immediately knew that any of these people would help me in a heartbeat if needed. The shop was clean, spacious and obviously very well looked after; organised to within an inch of its wee life.
I first did my EFR course with JT – a man the size of a giant but who’s really just a big marshmallow. He made the course easy, however all the while preparing me for whatever emergency situation I could be faced with. He got other members of staff involved with role plays and generally made the course a good experience. This was the perfect starting point to my diving journey. The next course I did was my rescue course. Also with JT, I felt prepared. After all of the scenarios, and the thousands of mock rescue breaths I must have given, I became a PADI Rescue diver and was ready to start my next step: the Divemaster course.
If anyone is thinking of doing this course, do it with Oceans Unlimited! All of the parts of the course are arranged neatly into a grid, with ticks used to show when each is completed. As more and more people join the system, “DMT Buddies” are formed. You will have another student who you work with (and sometimes compete with) for ticks. Don’t underestimate this relationship; it’ll be there for a lifetime. Ticks can be obtained through anything from scuba skills in the pool to mapping and search and recovery exercises. This course, despite being your first move into the professional side of diving, is without a doubt where you learn to become a better diver. The hours I spent out on our “ship” as we like to call her, The Orca IV, gave me hands on work experience as well as hundreds of days of fun, and when I got my PADI membership number at the end I really felt I’d deserved it.
After my Divemaster course I was offered the opportunity to do the IDC and become a PADI Instructor – something I had never thought would be possible. During this week long course, Georgia, our local Course Director, transformed us. After a full on week of training, in the classroom, pool and ocean, we were prepared for whatever our examiner could throw at us. We all passed and it was obvious that everybody else at the shop wanted us to as much as we did.
Now, as I leave in three weeks, I feel like I’ll be leaving a second family. Oceans Unlimited has offered me the opportunity to do everything from the courses I signed up for to gaining experience working in the dive centre’s office and learning to fix and maintain dive equipment. They’ve not only set me up for a future diving career but also given me an amazing 6 months. If you’re looking to become a PADI Professional then go to Costa Rica and do it! Oceans Unlimited will make it happen and you’ll never regret it! (even if, like everybody else, you get a ridiculous nickname that will stick with you for life)
Thank you everyone, you’ve all been amazing!
Joules ( aka Dunk