costa ricaThe end of this week marks my first month in Costa Rica as well as my first month with Oceans Unlimited. They say the “honeymoon phase” usually wears off after two weeks at a new place. I feel that I’m still in mine. From the training quality and dive centre logistics to living Pura Vida in Costa Rica. I am still overflowing with optimism and positive feedback. Perhaps the biggest – and best – change I’ve noticed is in my approach to diving.

Diving doesn’t need to be stressful

To me, scuba diving in South Africa has always been unnecessarily rushed and stressful. I’ve seen many new divers grow more concerned as they go along. Also just as many instructors fail to put students’ concerns to rest because of this “just get on with it” mentality.

Here, it’s not like that.

Got a stupid question? Bring it. Bring them all! All your questions are answered with detailed explanations and surprising patience. (And a couple of friendly jokes.)

Got concerns? Raise them. I can guarantee your instructor/divemaster will do their best to address them properly and help you overcome any challenge.

Got ambition? Go for it. At Oceans Unlimited, they put their full support behind people who are passionate.

It’s something that lies very close to my heart. That there are so many would-be scuba divers out there who didn’t receive the guidance and patience they needed. Because of this, sadly, gave up diving before they could even experience the best of it. As a result, I’m even more grateful that I currently find myself in such a constructive and supportive environment.

having fun on the dive boat

The most challenging part for me (so far)

Having arrived an Open Water certified diver, I needed to complete PADI Advanced, Emergency First Response, as well as Rescue Diver before I could officially become a Divemaster in Training (DMT.)

It’s common knowledge in the dive industry that your Rescue course is “the most challenging and rewarding.” Now, you get people who embrace this fully, then you get people like me: those who worry. Will I know the course material well enough to teach my future students properly? Will I meet the physical requirements? What if I mess up a Rescue scenario?

Not only do I worry, but I’m also stubborn. Many people told me Rescue isn’t as bad as I was expecting and reassured me that I’ll be able to do it, yet I insisted on worrying anyway and seeing for myself. After some field research, I can now let you in on the secret: it’s REALLY not that bad!

After being nervous about Advanced and Rescue, I’m happy to report that whenever you find yourself intimidated by a diving skill/course/activity – it’s never as bad as you expect it to be. So from one worrier to any others: don’t let worry and doubt keep you from plunging head-first into whatever it is you want to be. The Rescue course is now my favourite: to assist with and to do! 

I’m now a DMT with the “challenging” skills such as a full equipment exchange, a 100m diver tow, a 400m swim and 800m snorkel still ahead of me. But, thanks to my first month, I’m not worried. At all. Keep an eye out for my next DM Diary post to see whether the laid-back approach works better than the worried one.

truth about the rescue diver course