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Educational Mistake #321

November 15, 2009

Nobody likes being the new kid in town.  Nothing fits quite right and everyone is one step ahead.  But at the same time, so long as you don’t sink the boat, you get a ‘get out of jail free’ card in at least some sense of the word when you screw something up.  It’s amazing sometimes, what a little flattery and humility can do for you.  Thankfully, for all the ups and downs I seem to be in good standing with everyone in the shop and I expect to see myself here until at least the end of busy season, which winds down around April.  Coincidently, the busy season across the street in Ko Tao, is just picking up at the same time.  Everyone says the diving on the West side is better though and the money can’t be beat (apparently), considering you’re a scuba diver trying to pinch pennies out of back packers and honeymooners.  I’d like to stick around, so I guess we’ll see what shakes out.

So I’ve temporarily relinquished the name “Ben”.  Really.  It’s kind of weird just to write it, though it’s only my 3rd or 4th day in.  Reason being, there’s two other Bens in the shop and not being terribly keen on going by B3 whenever I have to write something down or have three guys look up confused whenever they hear they’re name, I’ve decided to go with “Will”.  I like it – it’s somewhat appropriate when I think about it.  An alternative name to fit an alternative persona.  The only confusing part is that everyone JUST got to know me as Ben before I was rechristened as Will.  It’s getting on, though.

I’ve done probably 15 or so dives now since I’ve been here and getting out on the boat now on a regular basis.  I’m finally insured so I’m taking out my own customers as we learn the dive sites together.  Sometimes a little discretion is necessary when people ask just how much diving I’ve done here.  But whether you’re a salty vet or green behind the gills, leading dives is quite straight forward.  Mostly, you circle islands following the current for however long your customer’s air lasts.  Usually 45-60 minutes.  At the end, you inflate your SMB (Surface Marker Buoy) and wait for the boat to arrive.  The hardest part is nailing down boat professionalism and the routine of it all.  No matter where you dive  whether it be Gulliver’s Lake in Canada, Hon Mun in Vietnam or Bidah Nok in Thailand, everyone everywhere has a different way of doing things.  It seems starting from scratch and letting people correct you from the ground up seems to be as effective form of learning as any.  You’d never make it, if you couldn’t take criticism.

Two days ago, I counted 8-9 Hawksbill Sea Turtles on one dive.  They’re everywhere.  I’ve also seen Leopard Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks but no mantas yet.  It’s still pretty cool, but I can already feeling the novelty wearing off.  Leopard sharks are quite boring.  They sit there looking around until you get close or they simply get bored and swim away.  It’ll bring up any dive though, if you haven’t seen much up until that point.  The black tips are cool.  I can see myself getting into shark dives elsewhere.  I hear South Africa is amazing.  Some other time, I suppose.
Happy Birthday to my grandfather, Donald Hart, who turned 80 this Friday.



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One Comment
  1. Diane permalink

    Glad to hear you are surviving and diving regularly. Seeing the turtles seems like such an exotic treat! I remember seeing schools of Mantas and Hammerhead sharks while in the I wasn’t diving; those sharks were just plain hungry!!
    Good luck with future dives.
    Take care

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