The Beginning of My Divemaster Candidacy
Today was my first day of training to get my advanced, rescue and divemaster certification with Hawaii Eco Divers. It began by overlooking the sunrise on the ocean, stretching to prepare for my first dive in over a year. I walked over to see the new shop already in motion; tanks were being filled and kits prepared. I knew then my new teammates were hard and fast workers. I watched in awe as they finished the morning tasks with ease. A car pulled up and I met Ricardo, the commander in chief of Hawaii Eco Divers. He had a warm smile and gave me a hug. Diving is dangerous, but Ricardo’s energy assures safety and protection. Other divers started arriving and we packed up the cars and headed out to Electric Beach.
The First Tank
Electric Beach is outside a power plant, hence the name, and has two large pipes that cool off engines and send the hot water back into the ocean. A reef has sprouted all throughout the area and thrives on top of the pipes. We descended and swam out there to see an abundance of colorful fish. There were Moorish Idols, Long-Nose Butterfly Fish, Parrotfish and more. It was like swimming in an aquarium. I felt a rush of peace and happiness through my whole body. I was so excited to be there and so relaxed in the surrounding beauty. Diving is the best feeling in the world.
The Second Tank
We returned, set up new equipment and headed out for our second dive. My fellow dive masters in training, Victoria and Ray, navigated and led the dive. Using their compasses, they took us out to the right. Reef was spread out and clouds were overhead. It seemed like a gloomy lifeless dive when all the sudden this grey mass swam past us fast. Shark!? We all thought, but it wasn’t. Instead we saw a rare Hawaiian Monk Seal. Big and beautiful, the seal swam past us. We all stopped and watched it swim away into the sea, and just when we thought it had disappeared into its own world, it swam back, right towards me! It twisted to see the group and circled us with its curious eyes, then left. It was magical.
When we ascended everyone was laughing and smiling. “Wow!” “How Lucky!” Our divemaster Ethan and Victoria said. Both of them had only seen a monk seal twice while diving in all their time in Hawaii. Full of joy and excitement we headed back to the van and said goodbye to our two customers of the day.
The Third Tank
The rest of the group had certification training to do. We practiced skills above water and then descended down to practice them below. When we had completed all the skills we still had at least 1500 PSI left, and went back to the tube. There we watched turtles and fish swim into the warm water and get shot out into the ocean. They were playing. I even saw one fish poop itself out of excitement. Did you know you could hear people laughing underwater? I only ever found out then.
It was the best first day of work ever, and one of the best days of my life. We headed back to the shop packed up and said goodbye for the day. It was perfect.
Written by Divemaster Candidate Laura Ullman