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She overcame her fears and couldn't be happier now!

 

PADI divemaster course in Bunaken
Coming back from Bangka trip / Picture Heini Härsilä

To do or not to do? This question was circulating on my mind when i started to considering about doing a PADI Divemaster course. I used to had a huge problem about taking my mask off underwater and I think my first words after arriving Bunaken were "when is the day of horrors I'm gonna have to do it...?" Well, I did it. Now taking mask off is one of my favourite skills to do. If you see me underwater without mask on, I'm propably just enjoying feeling fresh seawater wiping my face or I might be teaching. I fell in love with Bunaken island and diving in here and became first PADI divemaster and then PADI dive instructor. This is a brief story about how i started my professional diving career by doing Rescue & Divemaster courses with Living Colours Diving Resort.

I arrived in Bunaken on May 2014. Next day Ali, me and Amore, guy doing a rescue course with me, started working with rescue skills. Together with studying theory we had some fun rescue scenarios. One day after lunch I came back to the resort and found one unconcious person lying on floor, other one slightly panicking and bleeding and one acting angry with machete. "Ok. Stop, think and act." So I did and first I took this angry bird and locked him inside office. Then I checked unconsious nonbreathing person and gave him first aid, called help and dealt with the panicking dude. It was hilarious to watch Amore going through the same situation when he arrived from lunch. During few days we did rescue scenarios underwater, on surface, on land, on boat, on my dreams. It seemed like where ever I happened to be, there was a rescue situation going on. It was real fun course and after finishing Ali made rescue-pizzas for us. Yamiiii.

 PADI Divemaster course in Bunaken

Checking scuba gear with divers / Picture Heini Härsilä

Divemaster course started with a fundive. I was amazed about underwater walls we have in here and the variety of species, corals, colours, everything! "What a diving, I did choose my location spot on!" After fun we continued with different fun, assisting on PADI Advanced Open Water Course. Theme of the day was navigation. I think universe through a curl ball to me with this. I used to got lost a lot. On land I mean. It never bothered me, since by getting lost you always find something new. Now with the navigation part of advanced, I was reminded of how to use compass and landscape for navigating. Funny enough, on my instructor exam almost a year later, one of the skills I had to present and teach, was navigating. Girl who use to be lost a lot teaches now how not to get lost. Thank you universe!

"Ooooh my, I can take my mask off and I wanna do it all day long!" One morning Al gave me task: "Slave, go sit on mangroves and do not come back before you can take the mask off". Al is always joking and so was the case in this too, but I actually went into the mangroves, sat underwater, followed Al's instructions and practiced until my mask problem was solved! Repeat, repeat, repeat. That's how problems are easily turned into mastering skills. Man I was happy that day! One day we got to go to Bangka island to take part of Coral day 2014 which is all about protecting underwater environment (http://www.coraltriangleinitiative.org/events/coral-triangle-day-2014) and to protest against illegal mining. We actually went diving to area where they dump mining trash so they had to stop working since we were there underwater. After we landed to Bangka, ate local food, enjoyed shows kids had prepared and had a lookaround the island. Great day!

Diving in Bunaken Marine Park / Manado

During four weeks we polished our diving skills, did many scenarios, got to fun dive and guide, saw sharks, seahorses, cuttlefishes, octopuses, nudibranches, crabs, frogfishes, experienced currents going up and down, laughed lots and had many nice evenings sipping ice cold Bintang at our bar called Safety stop. Then it was the last day of course. Everybody knows that last day includes two stress tests, one underwater and one on land later on. The famous underwater stress test was about to start and I was nervous. "Shitshitshiiit, either I make it or I fake it..." I pushed myself. I had decided beforehand that if I find it hard, I'll just do it anyway and look cool while doing it. It was actually fun and easy. Me and Al changed our equipment underwater while sharing air from one regulator. Everything went smoothly and both of us looked silly after. Al had my small mask, I had Ali's wide-angle-tv-alike way too big mask. Al stuffed his poor legs into my small fins, I had his huge fins and even bigger BCD.

Thank god stress test does not include switching wetsuits. In the evening we had divemaster party and stress test number two for me and Elina, lovely girl who was doing DM same time with me. Stresstest number two included snorkel test and tasks to do while in chains, local palmwine, staff and customers partying with us. That's the proper way to celebrate after accomplishing DM certification!

PADI divemaster course at Bunaken Marine Park

 Finally done! Snorkel test / Picture Dee Dan.

 

I was planning to become a dive guide so Al let me guide a lot. And I loved it. Still do. One of the best things is to go muck diving and try to find as many critters you can to show to your group. Even better is muck diving at night. Frogfish, octopus, shrimps, stargazers... And the feeling when you surface from night dive and look at the black sky, see stars shining, milky way glowing and gentle wave is swinging you back and forth... As you may have noticed, I could go on ages describing how wonderful it is to dive, but lets get back to DM course. I was assisting a lot in courses. I learned how to fill tanks. I got to dive as much as I wanted and so I did. My logbook says I dove 69 dives during one month and got to assist on Discover Scuba Dives, Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses as well as Scuba Review dives. I reached confidence level underwater that I was not expecting and started to feel like fish.

GOPRO become PADI divemaster in Bunaken

Among best things about DM course was lifelong friendships with Ali, Heini, our diveguides and Elina my DM buddy. Thank you Living Colours' people for taking me with open arms, teaching me, being my friend and letting me pursue my dream.

See you underwater!
Mia

 

Want to be part of divers' happy family? Book your PADI Divemaster course with Living Colours NOW info@livingcoloursdiving.com!