Along with that, I completed my dry suit certification (even though the suit leaked again, and I wasn't dry) to enable me to dive in colder waters someday. I have my sights on the kelp forests off the coast of California, where you can see sea lions, otters, and great white sharks, if you're lucky.
Another big deal for me was completing two required swims: an 800m swim with mask, fins, and snorkel; and a 400m swim wearing no gear. It was exhilarating to look down through the clear, blue water at the bottom of the lake, 15 feet below me, and to move along without fear.
It wasn't a race, but you know me: I'm a bit competitive, so I tried my best to lead the pack. In the 800m I came in first, against a fellow diver who has been swimming all his life… 35 years to my 5. And I guess he didn't like getting chicked, because he beat me by about 15 seconds in the 400 m. I took second place.
Personal victories aside, my most favorite part of this entire program has been getting to know my fellow dive master candidates and learning from each person. We each have different strengths, and everyone has been so supportive and helpful. We trash talk some, and we have a ton of fun. When I look back at my life's journey, I expect that this experience will be one that I'll always remember as one of the most challenging and rewarding. And I'm pretty sure that's what life is all about.
The Divemaster program is a bit of a boys' club as you can see (Melia and Chris weren't diving this weekend). I'm holding my own, though I do appreciate all the help & courtesy from these upstanding gents.
We also helped several new students earn their Open Water certification... Love sharing this sport I love with more people!