I volunteered to assist in an open water class & pool session this weekend, with five excited new divers (as young as 11 and 13!) PADI recently overhauled their open water course book, tests, and skills requirements, and this was my first time working with them. I like all the changes--definitely an improvement, but even though our students did remarkably well, and we had one great instructor (Jackie) and three Divemasters to assist and supervise (Chris, Melia, and me), we couldn't complete the 5 required dives in 2 days (a half day of that was for study and taking the test). It's basically a 3 day program now.
We were at the shop from 7:30-5:30 on Saturday and 7:30-5:00 on Sunday, and I'd estimate 16 hours of that was in the pool, so you can imagine how pruny my fingers are. The pool's heater was down again and the water was a chilly 76 degrees, so I kept having to climb out and warm up: even with two 3mm wetsuits I would get shivering uncontrollably as we sat still at 10' and watched students complete their skills. Brr! We charged ahead and completed skills for most of dive 3, and will complete the remaining work on Sunday.
Nearly the entire time, I was partnered with an 11 year old girl, and though she was a bit nervous at first, she really impressed me by hanging in there. She is such a neat kid, and I really liked her parents, who were also in the class. The 12 year old in the class was amazing. Smart, attentive, and mature beyond his years. (He wants to be a marine biologist, and I'd say he has a great start at it!) His mom and grandparents were there as
"surface support" and cheered him on the whole way. So neat to see families coming together to enjoy this adventurous sport--and what a treat for me to help introduce the students to what may be a lifelong love.
I had a very special treat on Saturday night: I met Britten & Rich at Kobe for our favorite sushi, and it was as good as ever: the food, and especially the company!
I don't know what it is about diving, or perhaps it's the hard work?, That makes me so hungry. But this also happened:
Of course, all this hard work can make a girl hungry, so while I was good on Saturday and brought a healthy, homemade lunch for myself, I hit HiBoy on Sunday. Onion rings were NOT the smart choice given that I'd be underwater, breathing air from a bottle for the next four hours, but... No regrets. This stuff is amazing.