It was a decidedly different experience packing the truck not only for myself, but for four other divers I would be in charge of that day. I was slightly nervous but definitely excited as I loaded gear, running through all I had learned over the past few weeks about group management, guiding divers and all that could possibly go wrong.
My name is Daniel, and I am a Dive Master trainee. Today was the first day I was responsible for actual divers outside the ones taking the course with me. I would be in charge for ensuring the day ran smoothly, to time and with absolutely no hiccups at all.
Hiccups did occur – they always do – but in no time myself, the four recently qualified divers and my instructor were in the water. We quickly descended and began to dive the plan I had described in excruciating detail, moments before. The site was Kau bay, and the first dive was a square. It was exciting. We headed due north until getting to what I deemed was a reasonable depth before swinging left and left again to head back along the weed line.
Leading people is a complicated mental exercise. I found several things going through my head all at once. Were we headed in the right direction? Is everyone still behind me? Where did that other diver go? No he’s hiding behind that one. Do they have enough air? How long has it been now? My mind was racing along as fast as I could keep up, but there was no way I was going to let my present company get a whiff of that.
Once everyone (me) calmed down a little bit we (me) were able to enjoy the dive a lot more. We came across some seahorse to the delight of the group, many of whom had never seen one before, and spent a fair bit of time peeking amidst the rocks for sea creatures hiding from the light.
Once we returned safely to the flag we ascended without a hitch and made our way back to the truck. Stories were swapped as were our tanks, and within half an hour we were back, ready to venture out into the ocean of responsibility once more.