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Time to match the hype?

November 27, 2009

It’s been another long week, yet inexplicably November somehow vanished.  The island is getting busy.  Phi Phi has loads of character, but it can be quite 2-dimensional.

Today I finished my Scuba School International Crossover program.  Now, in addition to PADI, I can certify with another SCUBA agency.  Hopefully now, it’s time for some of these investments to start paying off.  My mother made the astute note before I left, that it was only 22 months ago that I took my first breaths underwater.  Now in Thailand, I can instruct in the two largest recreational diving agencies in the world.  It sounds nice, but I still feel I have a long way to go before I can back that up with the experience one might expect of such a claim.  As you might expect, that’s not a point I typically bring up often.  Particularly here.  As a matter of fact, I typically buffer my time spent here thus far by at least a month when customers ask me about it.  To be fair, do you think I should have to justify myself to a complete stranger, who typically knows nothing about diving in the first place?  Not only that, but what is life experience worth?  I know some excellent divers, but can’t teach or maintain a class for shit. 
The other interesting thing about all this is that no one I’ve met on this side of the world knows anything at all about this blog.  I don’t expect that’ll last but it won’t be me personally who tells anyone about it.  Sure, this is linked from Facebook, but  I haven’t added anyone since I’ve arrived.  Also, I’m pretty sure none of you have met Rowdy from South Africa or Anouck from Holland.  I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second, but sometimes it’s little things like that, which make me think about whether or not this whole bag of instructing and island living is something anyone can get into for themselves.  If you were to ask the average 20-something instructor that question, I expect they’d say no.  Instructors are a proud and often cliquey bunch and the notion that any type of person could do what they do isn’t common.  There’s a joke that goes, “What’s the difference between a SCUBA instructor and God?  God doesn’t think he’s a SCUBA instructor.”  Yes, it all does go to your head a little bit, but what I’d like to know is where are all the other blogging SCUBA pros?  I do feel for certain though, that if most of my good friends back home could be doing this or something similar to diving, they would be.  And in some cases they are.  My development as a diver has been pretty much a case of being in the right place at the right time, which is mostly how I would up here in such a short time span.  Granted, I worked real hard to become an instructor while living in Canada, but it was only possible because I was fortunate enough to be living back home and to have a family that’s got my back.  That’s fine for me but I’d say some people are born divers, while the rest of us get into it through completely unique circumstances.  Like with most anything, the faster you can blend into something, the more convincing and comfortable everything becomes.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, when you boil it down, individuality in diving is dead.  Those who get the most out of it are those that go with the grain (surprised?).  For a lot of instructors, diving is more or less Neverland, whether they know it or not.  And how many Lost Boys do you recall ever drafting an armistice with the pirates or suggesting you rub some cream on that, because that shit looks infected.  None, because that’s not how it works.  Diving on a tropical island “works” in it’s own way.  To bring it full circle, you’re either a born diver, or you play along until you can’t tell the difference anymore. 

We’ll see how I feel about that sentiment after a season of this.



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