Becoming Divemaster pt.2

Ready to carry on, I embarked on more adventurous diving to improve my skills. Our next destination was the right place for it.

Diving Playa Chica

Over the next couple of days, we set out for Playa Chica at Puerto del Carmen to tackle a few deep dives and conduct some training. The dive centre greeted us with a refreshing breeze early in the morning after several hot days we’d experienced so far. While it was still a bit dark, we hit the road to ensure we’d be among the first to arrive at the beach before it got crowded with divers and their vans later on. Soon, the place transformed into a bustling hive of activity. After gearing up, we plunged into the water.

Playa chica, Puerto del Carmen, Canary Islands

Playa Chica, Lanzarote, image credit: Juraj Hrabovsky

Playa Chica proved to be a fantastic dive site, providing an excellent location for deep dives and a sandy bottom along the coast for skill testing during the training. There’s even a spot where you can encounter cute seahorses.

The first order of business was the deep dive. Following the sandy bottom, we gradually descended. We passed the wreck of a small fishing boat and ventured even deeper to a spot called La Cathedral, a cave home to a few groupers. Along the way, we encountered vibrant orange corals and the grave of a local fisherman, with a tombstone embedded in the reef. While it wasn’t pitch dark down there, having a good light was crucial, especially inside the Cathedral itself. At the start, I felt a bit uneasy since I didn’t have many deep dives under my belt, but my instructor managed to ease all my worries.

During the briefing, he assured me that we’d only go to a depth I felt comfortable with. So, from time to time, I signaled that it was okay, and we proceeded deeper. One thing that lingered in my mind was nitrogen narcosis. As this dive was supposed to be my deepest, I tried to imagine what it would feel like if or when it took effect. Nitrogen narcosis typically kicks in during dives deeper than 30 meters, but it varies from person to person. Since our dive was planned to go deeper, there was a chance. I kept checking my computer frequently , and at one point, I thought it was happening. As I looked at Nico swimming right in front of me, I spotted a shiny circle in the middle of my field of vision. “This is it,” I thought to myself, planning to let Nico know. After a moment, I realized that the circle closely resembled the shiny silver edge of my dive computer. It was like when you look directly at a lightbulb, and then you see an imprint somewhere else. Once I realized that the “narcosis” was no more, I calmed down and couldn’t help but smile.

Playa Chica, Puerto del Carmen, Canary Islands

Playa Chica – Lanzarote, image credit: Juraj Hrabovsky

I finally encountered the Playa Chica sea horses during my “bad student” dive. It was a pretty cool scenario where I had to take on the role of an instructor, and my instructor played the part of a student, demonstrating everything a diver shouldn’t do. My mission was to spot and correct as much incorrect behaviour as possible. After successfully guiding my “student” through the dive, we sat down and enjoyed a cup of coffee at the local bar while waiting for our friends from the instructor group.

Practice makes perfect

Elated from my deep dive, I returned to training, eager to fine-tune my skills for the rapidly approaching exam day. While some skills were relatively easy to master, others took more time to crack. However, there was one skill that stood out as the most important of them all – rescue scenario number 7. In simpler terms, it involved responding to a diving accident where you deal with an unresponsive diver. Picture this: a diver floating on the surface, facing down, showing no response at all. What you do in the next few minutes could mean the difference between life and death. Mastering this skill was crucial, especially since it was part of the final exam, so I made sure to approach it with great care. We repeated it over nad over again, until I was not confident enough.


After days of practice, the D-day arrived. As usual, I joined the group of instructors, heading back to Playa Chica where they were gearing up for the instructor exam. Meanwhile, I was left with Nico to undergo my DM tests. Because I had managed to complete some excercises before, during my training, all that remained were the 24 skills demonstration – for real this time, the rescue scenario, and the 800m swim.

Early in the morning, we discovered a nice spot and started with the skills. One by one, I gave it my best shot, recalling everything I had learned during my days in Lanzarote. Complete one, move on to the next. Nico demonstrated hand signals for each skill, observed my performance, and jotted down points and remarks on his slate. I was left in suspense, wondering about my score until I completed the last one. Once we were done, I learned my final score – the goal was to pass each skill and achieve the minimum total score.

Next up was the Rescue Scenario 7. I kept rehearsing the proper order of the steps – “My BCD, your BCD, my belt, your belt, my mask, your mask,” and so on. Counting to 5, timing every step, water off my hand, grab your nose, rescue breath… repeat until the diver is saved.

In the next Rescue Scenario 7, I continued to rehearse the proper order of the steps – “My BCD, your BCD, my belt, your belt, My mask, your mask,” and so on. Counting to 5, timing every step, water off my hand, grab your nose, rescue breath… repeating until the diver was saved. We took a short break to catch our breath, as this one could get a bit tiring. The only thing on my mind was that I had one more step to complete before I was done – the 800m fin swim. No point in waiting, let’s get it done and dusted. Watching Nico standing on the edge of the water, I impatiently awaited his signal. When he gave the signal, I started swimming. I kept checking my watch, seeing the distance getting closer and closer to 800. A few more kicks, and it was finished. When I saw Nico’s thumbs up, I knew that I made it. Taking off my mask and lying on my back, I let the feeling sink in. The warm sun stroking my face mixed with the rush of happiness hormones, bringing my mind to a state of calm, relief, and satisfaction. There it was – it’s over, and my dream had come true.

diving buddies

Job done, image credit: Juraj Hrabovsky

The snorkel beer challenge that followed welcomed me to the family of diving professionals.

Coffee and the meal were obviously on me, as I wanted to express my appreciation for all the effort and care Nico provided during the past days. It had been a great deal of fun as well. Both of my easy-going instructors made the course so enjoyable that, in a way, I regretted it was over. I felt privileged to absorb their knowledge, enabling me to become a better diver and venture further into my diving adventure. This was the driving force behind my decision to join the DM training – the desire to make diving appealing for others, to draw them closer to the ocean, and to establish a positive connection with it.

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