Hi my name is Ben Harland and im writing this to give an account of my experience working as a Divemaster intern as Oceans Unlimited In Quepos Costa Rica.
Originally i have never planned to do my divemaster at Oceans unlimited I was attending a dive school in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, I had been there for about 1 month and all was going well when one night my instructor decided to run away from the school with a large amount of the company’s money leaving me and the other students with no one to teach us. It was a horrible experience and I felt very betrayed.
I decided that I wanted to get out of Mexico and make the most of a Bad situation. I began to search online for other places and came across GoPro Costa Rica through Oceans Unlimited, I contacted Georgia King and explained my situation, she was very sympathetic and wanted to do everything she could to help me out. After a number of emails and skype conversations I decided that this was the place for me to finish my training.
I arrived in Costa Rica and had a couple of weeks before the season started so I hired a car and did some exploring around the country and began to fall in love with it.
After Arriving back in the Quepos I moved into a homestay with a local family (and 8 Chiuaua’s) which was a great experience. I got my own room and bathroom for $90 a week including big breakfast and dinner of typical Costa Rican cuisine. Ana the boss of the house always made me feel very welcome and well fed also cleaning my room daily and taking care of all my laundry. After a few months of traveling it was really nice to be taken care of.
The Internship I did was a 8 week program where I was basically a member of staff but instead of being paid a wage I was trained for free, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me.
A typical day would involve waking up around 6am, sitting down at the table with my fellow divemaster interns Shane and Kaitlin for a huge breakfast of eggs, toast, pinto (spicy beans & Rice Delicious!) tropical fruits and strong coffee. Then about a 10min walk through town to the dive shop, walking through the door im greeted by our receptionists Paula’s friendly smiling face.
Duties in the morning would usually revolve around greeting the costumers as they came in and fitting their equipment, fins, mask, wetsuit, weights ect.. As well as answering questions and generally chatting and joking and trying to make them feel comfortable about the upcoming dives. After loading up all the tanks and equipment on the big F150 truck know as “Mighty Whitey” and make the 5min drive out to the marina where our Captain and company owner Bob McDaniel would be waiting for us in our dive boat the “Orca IV”. After loading up the boat and giving the customers a briefing we would head out to one of the many divesites in Manuel Antonio National Park. Often my job would be to assist our great Divemaster Jario which would usually involve following the group of divers and assisting with keeping the group together and trying to resolve any problems that might arise. Other days we would be out doing specific training in the ocean with Geogia such as mapping, search and recovery, deep, rescue and navigation ect.. Or we may stay back and do skills in the pool or studying theory or helping out around the shop.
If there were no dives in the afternoon we were generally finished around 2pm. Which leaves you free to go to the beach, explore rainforest trails, swim in waterfalls.. Manuel Antonio is a stunningly beautiful national park with amazing wildlife. Sloths, lizards, 3 types of monkeys, birds. I spent ,many of my days off exploring the park.
All up I spent 2 ½ months in Quepos and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I really owe a lot to Geogia king my Trainer for saving me from the situation in Mexico and imparting so much of her years of experience and knowledge. She is an absolute professional and made training a lot of fun. She was a great mentor.
I also owe thanks to Captain Bob McDaniel, a diving veteran of many years with experience in all forms of diving including work with police, and winning a national title for search and recovery competitions.
Thanks also to all of the staff at Oceans Unlimited Paula, Jairo, Weldon, Kaitlin, shane, JT, Yadi for making this such a great place to work at.
My personal highlights of my time there would be dive trip to Cano Island, Night Diving, ‘Save the Sevegre’ White water rafting day, New years eve in Quepos and humpback whales sufacing next to the boat.
I would strongly recommend to anybody considering doing a divemaster internship to contact Georgia at oceans unlimited. Its so much better than a school as you are dealing with real customers and learn the day to day running of a real dive shop. You will be challenged and made to earn your qualification. Ocean conditions can vary greatly with sometimes very low visibility and stong currents one day and perfect conditions the next. But all this will go to making a better diver.
Thanks to everyone at Oceans Unlimited