I arrived in Monterey yesterday to start my dive instructor training and got my first taste of diving the California coast today. We hit Monastery Beach with a few dive buddies and it blew my mind. The reefs and kelp beds are stunning. Neon creatures are packed everywhere you look and the cold water and strong currents are challenging but fun. I was just in 87 degree water a week ago but here I am diving in the low 50s in a 7mm wetsuit that isn’t keeping me warm for very long. After about 30 minutes in the water, I am shaking. West coast diving is next level for sure and I am excited to face the challenge but I sure do miss diving in nothing but a rash guard and board shorts in Palm Beach.
I’m nervous about this course. I am excited to learn how to teach but it feels like a very heavy responsibility as well. Diving is serious business and putting new divers in the water is a big deal. I remember the fear on my first open water check out dive and my goal is to find a method of teaching that helps students feel at ease. It would be a tremendous honor to be able to introduce new friends to the 71% of our planet covered in ocean. It has changed my life for sure and I want to share it with everyone that will listen. It’s amazing down there. The quiet world of wild animals and beautiful flora are a refuge from our world above. My dive buddy today said that she forgot that there was a global pandemic today. That’s powerful.
I am in good hands with PADI – the certification agency that I am taking the course with. When I set out all of the course materials on one place this afternoon it made me feel better. There are DVDs, encyclopedias, training guides, emergency first aid training and teaching slates that guide you through each step of the process. It is a paper dragon for sure but it gives me a lot of confidence in the process. I am comfortable with paper – I’m kind of an expert at creating complicated piles of it so this feels like home to me. The difference with this is that at the end of this long series of intense study and testing I hope to have the credentials to create wonderful experiences for new divers.
Before heading to my first class, I spent some time driving down the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoying the views of the ocean from Big Sur and it was as beautiful as I’ve heard. The views are stunning from the steep cliffs and I walked down to the beach and watched the marine layer fog roll in. I hope to share some more good pictures of the training with you. It’s going to be a lot of classroom time but I’ll send you just the good bits from the water.