One Day as a Divemaster in Komodo

We rise early. It’s 6:30am but the roosters have been crowing all night. I shake Val; she squirms in protest but finally wakes up. “Wh–what?” she mumbles. “Time to go,” I whisper and stumble across creaky wood planks to the bathroom grasping for my toothbrush. Val steals five more minutes of sleep. Labuan Bajo is…

Another day in Komodo

It’s January 2011 and Val and I have been in Komodo, Indonesia for six months. Today we guided four Ukrainians and a Czech through the aptly named Manta Point dive site. I vividly remember our first dives at this site. I would marvel at Nun, our most experienced divemaster, spotting mantas from seemingly impossible distances and…

Divemaster: Part 5

Today we snorkeled 800m (1/2 mile) as fast as we could. My lungs raced to keep up my legs, which would have certainly caught fire had they not been in water. Val dominated the race, but my bruised ego took a backseat to the fact that I’d finished the last requirement of the PADI Divemaster course….

Divemaster: Part 4

The last week has been a dream come true for us. We have been guiding a group of nine Korean divers through the blue playground. They are a happy and excitable bunch. Our euphoria should be coming from the superb diving and invigoration of leading our own dives, but in reality its the inexhaustible supply of…

Divemaster: Part 3

What a difference a few weeks make. We’ve accomplished so much and acclimated to the rhythm of life in a dive shop. Exams are finished, 15 of 20 skills are mastered, our 400m swim and 100m diver tow were fast enough, 15 min treading water was a breeze, we’ve mapped a dive site, and made our…

Komodo: The First Dive

Today Val and I made our first real dive in Komodo. We’ve actually been in the water for the last few days, but only in a few meters of water to assist brand new divers complete their courses. We hadn’t been to any real dive sites… until today. Wolfgang, our instructor, tells us to back…

Divemaster: Part 2

Our first weeks have gone by in a blur. We’ve completed exams, spent hours mercilessly repeating skills, and above all else dived – A LOT. Wolfgang is pushing us along. He let us take our exams without the slightest bit of a teaching. “If you need my instruction then I am happy to give it,…

Divemaster: Part 1

Val and I are becoming PADI Divemasters.  For those of you that don’t scuba dive a divemaster is basically a professional dive guide. They are responsible for safely leading divers through the beautiful, yet ever deadly, underwater world. PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) is the largest SCUBA certification agency in the world. They have finely tuned…

Arriving in Labuan Bajo

Arriving at the airport in Labuan Bajo was encouraging. Despite the poetic soliloquies we’d heard about the diving here, not a single person had a kind word for Labuan Bajo, so our expectations were pretty low. The airport, if a bit small, was clean and modern and as a bonus it was a nice temperature…