Teaching an Open Water Course
Some of you may have seen on my Facebook page that I have been teaching an open water course. This is nothing unusual for me, my normal job consists of teaching all levels, from people’s first breaths in the water to technical diving courses. What has been different this time though is that I’ve been teaching a guy who only learnt to swim this year.
Ibrahim works with us at H2O Divers Dahab filling tanks, keeping the compressor running and generally looking after the centre. He is an essential member of my team, filling my gases for me and generally helping move the dozens of tanks in and out of the water. He has been here for two years and although interested in what we do, did not want to get in the water himself.his Guinness world record he helped out by carrying tanks to and from the water and assisting us in and out. At one point I remember he stood a little too close to the drop off and his foot slipped, plunging him into the deeper water. At once a look of panic crossed his face, one familiar to anyone who cannot swim who has found themselves out of their depth. Other people stood close by immediately grabbed him and helped him out of the water.
I am not telling you this to embarrass Ibrahim, I am telling you to try and explain how far he has come in just one year. This weekend he started his PADI Open Water course, the first level in most diver’s careers. I’ll admit I was slightly nervous to begin with, I have taught divers before who are not particularly ‘water confident’ and it can be an arduous journey. I learnt to swim as a very young child and can’t imagine anything other than loving being in the water. But Ibrahim strolled into the water as if he’d done it a thousand times before and almost casually put his face in the water to take his first breaths.
Very, very well, as it turned out. He is one of the most confident new divers I have ever taught. At one point whilst trying to clear his mask (a task that many student divers struggle with) he gave me the very Egyptian closed fingers sign of “wait a second”; this with a mask full of water!
To me, teaching this course has been inspirational. Ibrahim has reminded me that fear does not need to stop you doing what you want to do, that learning new skills can help achieve your dreams.
I can see this man going a long way and I really hope I will be there to witness it.
Postscript: Ibrahim passed his Open Water course with flying colours and I look forward to diving with him a lot in the future.