Examining Instructor Examination
Finally walking out of the warm aquamarine water onto the pristine white sand beach of West Bay back into the gorgeous Mayan Princess resort, knowing I had fulfilled all the requirements to pass the PADI Instructor Examination was a bit of a transcendent experience.
Sure, I still felt like the old me, but there was a very real difference that our funny, gregarious, independent PADI Examiner John expounded upon as he handed out certificates of completion to all IE nine candidates on Roatan a couple of days ago.
John spoke eloquently with passion about what our roles as ambassadors of the seas should be if we wanted our kids, our nieces and nephews, and all the children of the world to have coral reefs to enjoy. He made the point that, as a species, we've been exploring the ocean at depth for just a tiny fraction of time. It would be a shame of unimaginable proportions to leave the next generations only dead, lifeless, bleached reefs, graveyards of what once was teeming with vibrant, diverse marine life.
Getting to the final stage of the IE wasn't easy. It might be for someone who's twenty in the prime of their physical abilities, their brains sponges soaking up information like water. Sure, there were times I worried, where I questioned whether I was going to be able to successfully complete the course, but having a good team helps, being prepared helps, and being confident is paramount.
The written exams were hard, more difficult than I expected, but our preparation was excellent so I breezed through them with high scores. Our knowledge development presentations were a breeze -- they went just the way we trained for them to go. The in water teaching presentations were a bit more stressful, but we remembered our training and nailed them as well. The skills circuit and the rescue scenario were also exactly as we had trained for and we moved confidently through them with top marks.
Mastering the knowledge base, the physics, physiology, and equipment is one thing. Mastering the physical muscle memory needed to perform the skills at demonstration quality was another, entirely different facet of this experience. Learning the PADI system of teaching to perfection was another distinct challenge. Doing all of these things at once with grace, composure and professionalism, all while having fun is what we're going to be doing every time we dive from now on.
We have to thank Phil Hetherington for being an absolutely amazing course director. His preparation was perfect - we went into the exam utterly confident in our ability to move successfully forward and that was a large part a result of the wisdom in Phil's grizzled head. If I retain a tenth of what he taught, I'll be a pretty decent open water SCUBA instructor. He's also a pretty decent guy who works with a dive operation in Cozumel and runs another shop in Sugarland Texas, of all places for a good British lad.
We also have to thank our fellow IDC candidate Hallie! The IDC course wouldn't have been the same without her. She brought a unique perspective and humor to the classroom and water activities that made the course that much more of a rich experience.
We've also got to thank everyone over at Subway Watersports who made the IDC a turnkey experience -- they've been nothing but utterly professional, friendly, and accommodating to the unique needs of City Dogs. We look forward to working with them in the future.
If you're looking for a great place to go for an amazing all inclusive diving vacation, you should definitely check out what the Turquoisse Bay eco resort has to offer.
And I wouldn't be anything as a diver without the foundation of knowledge and skills that I learned doing my rescue diver and divemaster courses over at Utila Dive Center. They're an amazing professional development center, with diving education at the heart of their operation. Andy, Juicy, Jemma, Nico and the rest of the talented, passionate crew over there are amazing transformative teachers. I wouldn't be where I am today without their guidance, without the confidence they inspired in me.
Now we've got to get working again. No rest for the City Dogs.