Croatia had certainly given me a direction I had not really considered up to this point in my diving. I had been diving since August of 1990 and I had 46 dives by the close of the tour in November of 1993. Not a great amount by anyone’s estimation, including mine, but I had undertaken some training, some breakdown of skills into easily repeated steps, necessary to show those venturing underwater for the first time how to achieve tasks such as mask clearing and regulator recovery, and it had been commented that I was good at this, and patient enough to make a difference to those who struggled a little initially, and , to be honest I had enjoyed showing people the underwater experiences I loved……..
On my first dive back in the UK, Bowleaze Cove in Dorset, I had buddied up with Dave, a new diver working up to Sports level, the Viz was appalling, I described it as “Nil” in my log-book, but, rather than bin the event I got Dave to sit with me in the dark playing Naughts & Crosses by torchlight…..it saved the dive and Dave said it took away the apprehension of such bad viz, clearly that made a difference. It was recognising in myself, situations that were “edgy”, or times when slowing down and taking stock was a far better idea than just “forging ahead”, perhaps, that made a difference to those I dived with. There were a few in the club who were keen to dive with me out of preference and I took that as a huge compliment
Norman, the TIDSAC DO was encouraging and supportive, allowing me to assist at every opportunity we had at pool sessions, and giving me the Dive-Leadership Theory lectures through April of 1993 in preparation for the Dive-Leadership in-water assessments. There were 4 of these, all taken by a BSAC Advanced Diver “observing” as the candidate “led” a Dive-Leader or Advanced Diver on open water dives. The aim of this, was clearly not to risk inexperienced divers with an untested trainee, but to allow the trainee to prove his competence “leading” more experienced divers in various situations, during which “problems” would generally arise, allowing the trainee Dive Leader to recognise behaviors, or potential “situations”, in relative safety and carry out corrective actions to guide the dives back into safe practice…….. The culmination on the Fourth dive was a Safety & Rescue Skills Test, essentially a rescue of an unresponsive diver from the shallows, somewhere around 10m or so, and the safe recovery whilst administering rescue breaths, and undertaking kit removal to facilitate beaching, or boat recovery, and due care until onward transmission into medical supervision was practical
It took nearly a year to get the Dive-Leader assessment dives complete, my First being undertaken April of 1993 and my Final, Rescue assessment dive, taking place on the very same day exactly a year later, 04th April 1994. I was delighted to pass as a Dive-Leader, it was a 12 month journey, but I had enjoyed it, immensely, and by the April of 1994 I had already applied for, and passed the Assistant Club Instructor Training Course at Bulford over the weekend of the 12th & 13th of February ’94……I had decided I liked training people, I got a great deal more out of the satisfaction of taking others diving than I had ever believed I would, more, I knew than I had to put in……I loved it, and now I was eligible to put in for my BSAC Club Instructor exam, I could barely wait!