Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles

August 30, 2008

I DID IT!!!!

Filed under: Learning Curve — Kaddee @ 6:54 pm

Most of you will think that this is a “mountain-out-of-a-mole-hill” thing…..


This is the “intro” level of SCUBA instructional levels. I can’t teach SCUBA classes, but I’ve learned how to manage other divers underwater, deal with stressful situations, and assist in the teaching of SCUBA. Basically I’m a SCUBA teaching assistant.

BUT – this also means that I can LEAD people on dives! I don’t have to pay to dive any more. :) I actually LED my first dive, unsupervised, this afternoon. Thanks to my dive buddies, my incredibly supportive gozi (husband – Jack) and my wonderful, diving colleague, TV.

I chose to spend my entire vacation doing this training to see diving from “the other side”. Kinda like academics, I now have a working understanding of how to SHOW divers what they want, rather than JUST being a diver who is led.

For most people, they don’t want this level of responsibility in diving – and I have to admit, letting someone else worry about the logistics and minutia is easier and more fun – but I really enjoyed this, and it makes me feel more confident about my own diving skills.

I feel like a freshly minted graduate of [insert whatever program/degree you have ever completed]. I have that goofy grin and am being silly and feeling euphoric. Like all hard work, I also feel personally vindicated that I could accomplish this challenge.

I think I will sleep well tonight.

August 11, 2008

Sphyrna lewini

Filed under: Being There,NSTIW — Kaddee @ 8:54 am

10 August 2008 – near Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, off the backside of Jackson Reef aboard the Brina I

Photo from: National Geographic website

3 dives in the blue

last dive – 8 hammerheads

I couldn’t be more pleased

August 4, 2008

Be careful what you wish for…

Filed under: Learning Curve — Kaddee @ 10:18 am

No, it is not as bad as all that!

I began SCUBA diving when I was 19 year old. I was Open Water Certified (Level 1) in university. At that time, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to dive for a living?”

Years went by. In grad school, I returned to diving (a lot) to support my research and other projects in my lab. Again, I thought, “I should get more certifications, and, perhaps, use diving as an alternate career path.”

During grad school, I began the 2nd level certification, Advanced Open Water. Due to research schedules, however, I never completed the course. I never really thought much more about it.

More years went by. I was teaching at Highline Community College. They have a Marine Science facility on the Puget Sound. A number of us were using the facility for teaching, sample collection and community outreach education – some of which included SCUBA diving.

We realized that it would be “prudent” for us to gain further certifications, if for no other reason than that we were LEADING dives with Open Water divers, and were not much better trained (although FAR more experienced) than they were. A group of us completed the Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver certifications. This level of training prepared us for emergencies in the water, and gave us all more experience and confidence. However, none of that training really prepared us to LEAD dives and manage dive plans for others.

Fast forward to a month ago. Jack and I decide to spend a month in Dahab to get out of Cairo for August. I decide that, perhaps, this is the time to fulfill one of those long-standing wishes/dreams – complete DiveMaster training. With this certification, I cannot TEACH classes, but I can assist and I can guide dives.

Assisting and leading dives is not my long-term goal for this training, I have a job that (most of the time) I really enjoy. My goal is more personal and educational. With this course, I shift from the “Look and swim” mindset of diving to the “Show and lead” mindset.

So, here I am in Dahab. We have been here for 3 full days. I have begun my DiveMaster Training (DMT) with my favorite dive center, Sinai Divers Backpackers Dive Center. On the second day after arrival, I assisted on 2 guided dives and an “Intro to SCUBA” dive. Yesterday I assisted on a “BubbleMaker” (kids intro) dive. Today I am up to my eyeballs in homework. The irony does not escape me!

I am doing EXACTLY what I’ve wanted to do for a VERY long time. OMG is it hard work. I couldn’t be happier. :)