I was only into the first day of the dive show and the question had already been asked? How do you do it? This was after picking up my platinum course director award when some friends asked about my kids. Yes they are at home, and last year, the first year for my second child, I still managed to achieve platinum status. What is platinum status? It is basically teaching a lot of professional programs throughout the year. It’s a lot to do and juggle. But it is fun. I am a mum at home and in many ways a mum when I am scuba diving and teaching. So, then coming to the thought, so I am a “scuba mum”, But what is a scuba mum? That is who I am.
What is a “scuba mum” ?
It is not about physically having children. I have been a scuba mum for many divers over the years. As a mentor and trainer there are many ways that you can fulfill the role of a “mum”
It began in Roatan….
When I originally started my scuba diving career, I entered into the world of professional diving whilst on Roatán. I picked my dive center, coconut tree divers as of all of the emails I had sent, this was actually responded to by a lady called Gaynor. Now for any of you that have passed through the doors of Coconut tree divers, or have spent some time on the island will know who Gaynor is. She in my mind, was my first “scuba mum”. The moment you walk through the doors and hear “do you want a cuppa love”, you feel at home, she welcomes you into the dive shop with open arms and even though, she is not diving herself she is the mum of the shop, introducing you to everyone, listening reports on diving and running the shop, schedule and more.
Now, this was 15 years ago, and whilst I know she is still there around the shop, with a cuppa in hand, the running of possibly falls to other members of the team. I always think back fondly on my time there and once qualified as a dive instructor, she assisted me and got me my first job for me in a neighboring shop with one of her oldest friends, and another “scuba mum” Mish.
For just over a year I worked with a shop called Native Sons, owned by Mish and her husband Alvin, an islander and explorer. Mish loved to dive and used to come out with us on the dive boat many times with her camera. Now, as a new instructor, it was all about practicing our teaching techniques and getting certifications.
Squeezing into some strange places..
Mish, is an instructor herself and with that was able to mentor us and give us suggestions on teaching, dive spots and more. But one of the best lessons I ever got from her and I will never forget, was to explore. Some of the places we went to when diving were incredible. All of the dive shops used to go to the same spots, dive the same profiles. Not us at Native Sons. Both Mish and her husband Alvin used to encourage us to explore the sites. Whether dropping in at a different place, or taking a different direction it would really open up the reef to both us as instructors and to our divers.
I have find memories of squeezing through what she called the “Swiss cheese” rock formations near a popular dive site and diving another site “backwards” to get a completely different view. My navigational skills got some good practice, and 15 years later, I am still diving sites in different ways, and exploring every time I am underwater. Thank you for that Mish.
After leaving Roatán, I moved to Costa Rica where I remained. For a couple of years, I taught a lot of open water divers and discover scuba divers. Acting in my own way as a “mum” to the new divers. Taking them underwater for the first time and introducing the new divers to the wonders of the underwater world is basically being their “scuba Mum”. Looking after them underwater.
Onto the PADI IDCs
I have travelled and taught in some other locations and it was during a visit to the states when, after completing my IDC staff certification, I was invited to teach at Pro Dive in a Fort Lauderdale. As I was looking at teaching more pro diver programs in Costa Rica, I was going to spent a couple of months, assisting on their IDCs and Divemaster programs to gain experience. Here I met my Genevieve, a truly inspirational course director.
She took me under her wing and I worked with her on a couple of IDCs and a couple of their master scuba diver and Divemaster programs. She is a fantastic teacher and helped me with organization, presentation and obviously teaching of future dive professionals. We became good friends, and still are to this day, and it was on one of our long chats after a class that we were talking about her path, to PADI course director level.
I hadn’t considered it before but I felt inspired. The idea of building a pro market and program in Costa Rica seemed suddenly more exciting and completely doable. She had, and still does have a fantastic way of teaching and was at that point in my career my “scuba Mum”. And not just to me, but to every single instructor candidate and pro level diver that walked though those doors.
She was always available to chat, answer questions and counsel the candidates, with helpful suggestions. Taking the pro candidates and recreational divers coming up through the ranks under her wing and nurturing their scuba skills. We talked about putting together pro level programs and about moving forward to the course director level, that when it came time to leave, I really felt I could do it. I had such a fun time teaching there and look back fondly on not just my teaching time, but my personal development as a scuba educator and “counselor” to all levels of divers.
Two years later, I was on my way to the course director program in the Dominican Republic. That was 10 years ago.
Being a “mum” has many different hats to wear
Since then I have taken the role of being a Mum down many different avenues. Whether it is mentoring the budding Divemasters, breaking down classes for IDC candidates or being at home cooking dinners for my kids. I am a scuba mum to many over the years. At this current DEMA show, I have caught up with many of my candidates from previous programs and it is so much fun to see where they are and what they are doing with their careers. It feels wonderful to know that I have played an important role in that process and that I have made a difference in their lives.
That is what being a mum is. Being there for when they need it. Not judging, and helping them find their way. Whether as a scuba pro mentor, a diving instructor, or as a mum to my kids and fur babies, that is what I do. And to all of the scuba mums out there that influenced and mentored me, I thank you, and to my mum, the biggest thank you for supporting me and letting me realize my dreams.