Have you ever gone on a guided trip somewhere you’ve never been with people you’ve never met having no idea how it’s going to turn out- and had the time of your life?
Well it’s a little bit like that when you become a dive instructor! At least that was my experience at XTC dive center in June 2021…
What sounds like the start of a bad joke – two Mexican university students, a French pastry chef, an English diving instructor and a German doctor meet at a dive center…- turned out to be two of the best, most intense and fun weeks I have ever had in diving or otherwise!
Our days were long and busy:
We had many classroom workshops where we learned about the Padi system of teaching and refreshed our dive theory knowledge, followed by skill circuits in the pool- to get that demonstration quality just right! Remember, lean to the right to recover your regulator! More pool time to try out teaching skills to each other for the first time- step one, breathe! Step two: elevate your lpi… 🙂 And of course: Open water skills- trying to get the hang of how to keep track of students stuck to a buoy in the open ocean and get them safely down to the dive site and back… And then back to the classroom for theory exams and knowledge development presentations…
Lots of new skills, lots of new things to learn and a new perspective to make our own- thinking like an instructor…
Believe it or not, we did have time to eat and sleep- but only just enough 🙂 Also, there may be pictures to proof all of us napping somewhere in the dive Center at some point during the IDC.
I guess this all may sound like a bit of a crazy time- which it was- but I also had a lot of fun every day and really enjoyed our group becoming closer, helping each other out and sharing a lot of jokes. There was also always at least one cuddly dog with us by the pool or inside our classroom to keep us company, which to me greatly improved my everyday experience 🙂
Our course director Chris and staff instructor Daiana were both so dedicated and incredibly patient and positive with us all the time, sharing their knowledge and experience.
I often looked at the upcoming skills or assignments for the next day and worried how I was going to make it…but after a few days I quit worrying as Chris and Daiana’s coaching was just so reliably great that every evening I found myself having been able to pass all the skills and assignments! I have not been taught this well in anything for long time, it was so fun to feel my brain make all these new connections and learn!
The two weeks went by very fast and before we knew it, it was time for the final exam. The exam takes 2 days to complete and includes theory exams, classroom and pool presentations, some skills in open water as well as a rescue demonstration.
I will never forget our open water exam: While we were doing skills at the surface, our examiner told us to have a look down below- and there was a manatee just underneath my fins! It had a good look at us and then swam off into the blue… I was so excited as I had never seen one before, I did not know they are THAT CUTE! Highly recommend you find yourself a manatee to look at sometime soon! I still think it was worried about us hanging out at the surface for so long in the rain and came to make sure we were ok 🙂 After that awesome encounter we all did very well at our assigned exam skills in the ocean and in the pool also.
So in the end, all the hard work paid off for all 4 of us- we all passed our IE (instructor examination)!
Very relieved, we posed for the classic ‘I passed my exam yaaaaay’ photos by the ocean and then we got to go for a celebratory dive together without any skills or assignments to complete. In the evening the XTC team threw us a really great party- on a roof top with a view of the ocean and including cake, flower necklaces and T-Shirts to sign for each other… I was very tired and very happy and relieved and we all look like that in the photos from that day as well!
Ben, Alejandro and Carlo, thanks for being the best IDC buddies I could have wished for, I’ll love you forever!
Chris and Daiana, thanks for pouring so much of yourselves into this course, sharing your experience and expertise with us and creating such a welcoming, supportive atmosphere!
Everybody else at XTC- making us food, filling cylinders, cheering us on- thank you so much! It’s truly a team effort, we needed you and you were there for us! 💙
So if you enjoy great team spirit and great diving in a beautiful remote place with excellent instructors and many lovable dogs- this may just be the place for you as well 🙂