Carmen’s transformation from Open Water Diver to Blue Marlin Family Member

In October 2013 I travelled with a friend through Indonesia. After being in Java and Bali, we ended up on Gili Trawangan where  we wanted to do some diving. We were Open Water divers and only had a few dives under our belt.  People we had previously met had highly recommended Blue Marlin Dive, so we decided to check this place out. We sensed a great atmosphere and therefore booked in for a Fun Dive the next day. After diving again, I was once more hooked by the feeling of being under water and seeing all the amazing things down there. This is why we didn’t have to think for long and went for another dive straight after our first.

Carmen solo 1

Our first dive was not only with the Divemaster that guided us on the dive, there was also a Divemaster in training (DMT), who tagged along with us. He talked with us and explained the benefits of doing the Advanced Open Water course. Until that time I was convinced that I do not need to go deeper than 18 meters, because it is just going to be cold and dark…..Right?!? I didn’t want to waste my time in a pool either, doing exams afterwards, spending all my holiday studying. Little did I know about what the Advanced Open Water Course involved!

After two days diving with that annoying DMT talking to me, I finally decided to do the course. It turned out that the Advanced Open Water course is basically five dives with the benefit of getting to talk about the theory for that particular dive before every dive together with an instructor. The deep dive and the underwater navigation dives are compulsory. For the remaining three dives I chose to do an introduction to Nitrox, Fish Identification and a Night Dive. The course turned out to be absolutely amazing, I just fell in love with diving even more. Not only did I fall in love with diving, the annoying DMT also ended up being my boyfriend 🙂

carmen group 3 steve & steve

After being back in Germany, in a relationship with somebody who loves diving above all, it didn’t take much to make the decision to take the next step myself: I also wanted to become a dive professional.

Honestly, diving in Germany didn’t sound promising to me (who wants to be in cold and dark water?). I’ve always been in love with Southeast Asia, I wanted to do more diving, my boyfriend’s dream was to become an Instructor and my job as a Sales and Marketing person turned out to be rather boring at that time. So we decided to go back to Gili Trawangan in Indonesia to take the next steps.

In December 2014 it was finally time to go back. I saved all my money, quit my job, sold my car along with my other things. I bought a full set of diving equipment, left family and friends behind. Before I knew it I found myself on an airplane to Indonesia again.

carmen undersater solo

There was no question which dive center we are going to choose. So of course, I signed in for the Divemaster programme at Blue Marlin Dive. At that time I only had 21 dives and truthfully knew very little about diving. After a couple of fun dives in my new gear (I highly recommend having your own gear, it makes such a difference) it was time for my Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver Course. I have to admit when I came back in December, I was for some reason rather scared of diving. Especially with the currents around the Gilis at that time. Everything just felt new to me. Being in a completely new environment didn’t help much either. Suddenly I wasn’t sure whether I want to take the path I have chosen. However the decision was made. My Rescue Diver Course was challenging, but simply the most interesting course I have done. Now it was not about me as a diver anymore, it was about my dive buddies.

During the dives we did, the assistants pretended to have lots of problems that I had to deal with. Sometimes it was hard as there is no single right way to deal with problems. I was always unsure whether I was good enough. My instructor Daniel was pushing me and the other student all the time, trying to find out our limits. But he also was super patient, empathetic and kept me going all the time. At the end I did it and I was super proud. I became a Rescue Diver. I was ready for the next step: Divemaster.

CArmen Group underwater 2

So at the end of December I started my Divemaster Training. I ended up with a wonderful, very experienced instructor as my mentor, which was Lisi from Austria. During my course, I had to assist in several courses. At the beginning, you start by watching how the courses are conducted, helping by keeping the student diver flow running, handling equipment and learning how all the instructors conduct the courses in their own individual style. When you know the drill you get the chance to do some things on your own, under the supervision of an instructor. This is when you first think, this is absolutely amazing: the students look up to you. They listen to the knowledge you possibly just gained yourself. I absolutely loved it. As you progress, you find your own style of doing things whilst becoming more and more confident. As it was known that I was planning on becoming an instructor also, everybody shared their little tips with me to prepare me as good as possible for the future.

Other than assisting on courses, there are other things you need to do throughout the course: learn and be able to demonstrate the Divemaster skills (which is basically the skills you need to show during an Open Water course), learn how to set up a drop tank for deep dives, how to search for and recover heavy objects from the bottom of the ocean, show that you are able to handle another rescue scenario. You also have to do some water skills. Such as a 400 meters swim and an 800 meters snorkel. Also, you learn lots about the diving theory, which will be tested in two exams. As it is something that really interests me, it was not hard to gain all that knowledge. There were always people who were willing to explain things over and over again, if I didn’t understand them.

Carmen Group 1

It is absolutely amazing to see how fast you make progress and how easy everything becomes. Nothing could really scare me anymore. As I was getting really good feedback from all the instructors at Blue Marlin, I finally knew: I am ready to become an instructor myself!

Carmen edwin & lisi snorkel test

A day later the dive center arranged a party for three of the DMTs, that just finished their course. We got dressed up in costumes, ready to take on the final challenge, the „Snorkel Test” (just for fun & not a PADI run test). If you want to find out about this very last test, come down to Blue Marlin and join us for one!

Carmen snorkel test

Just one day after that amazing party with all my new friends in the dive shop, I started my Instructor Development Course (IDC) with fabulous course director Holly Macleod. There we got prepared for our Instructor Exam. We learned how to teach the various skills of the different courses in confined and open water, how to explain the knowledge of the courses to our future students and we also improved our rescue skills. After a good two and a half weeks everything became second nature for us. We were finally ready to do the two days exam (which was obviously followed by another good party on Gili Trawangan). At first I was again not really sure whether I should take my IDC just after my Divemaster course, as I thought I do not have enough experience. But I have to say I absolutely benefitted from continuing this education straight away. The things we learnt during the course were nothing absolutely new to me, because I got apparently trained very, very well during my Divemaster course already, which made the IDC rather easy for me.

carmen idc shot

I still can’t believe that I am now able to teach other people how to Scuba Dive. I bet nobody in the dive shop ever believed I will make my way up there either, considering how shy and scared I was when I came here. The Divemaster book tells you, that as a dive professional, you are working in the transformation business. When I first read that, I was laughing and thinking this is silly. After living this transformation myself, I totally agree with that statement and I am happy that I got transformed as well!

carmen idc cert

I would like to thank everybody at Blue Marlin Dive for the fabulous training and support during that time. I had a fabulous experience, constantly progressing and also getting that feeling of being part of the family!

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