So, with everything that has been going on I have hardly had a moment to breathe! I am on my way to england right now after an incredible month topped off with what I can only describe as one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. This past weekend I had the amazing chance to join in a disabled divers international program, the first of its kind in Central America. It is something I have been looking for a number of years, to open up my world of scuba to be able to teach disabled scuba to anyone who wishes to try. What was unique about this course was that it was 2 days of training, in instructional techniques, where we learnt lifting techniques, signaling and had some great discussions about working with a whole number of different abilities.This was then followed by a “No Barrier” tour organized by connect ocean and DDI. For this, they had arranged to bring in a group of paraplegics from Costa Rica, to take part in the program. The program involved scuba diving, as well as kayaking and volleyball. I will admit,after classroom time and workshops, I was nervous at first to be working with a student that afternoon. I worked with 3 different people all with varying disabilities, as both an instructor and assistant. i even managed to work with someones fear of water which was pretty great. A tiring and great day came to end, and we headed off to prepare for the open water the following day. Now, I have been teaching now for around 10 years, and I will admit, that I don’t spend as much time in the water now as I used to. I rarely work with open water classes, to discover scuba dives, mainly just divemaster courses, instructor programs and technical diving. I have my reasons,and to be brutally truthful, is the job of a scuba diving instructor not to inspire people to dive and to pass joy onto others? I feel a lot of the time that whilst I am full of inspiration and joy whilst teaching people to be “professional” divers, my new instructors that have been through the program recently, are very often a lot more full of inspiration working with first time divers than myself. For this reason i generally only step in the water for professional courses. I think I have been looking at rejuvenating my inspiration to teach first time bubble blowers again, and boy did I find it! In truth, I cannot put into words what i felt after my first ocean dive with a person with disabilities but I will try my best. I cannot fathom, how it must feel, for the first time in your life to move completely unaided. We so easily forget about what is given to us in life and take it for granted. The enthusiasm, shown to me by this remarkable group of people so truly took my breath away, and touched me so profoundly that I quite literally cried after my first dive. To bring such joy to someone by such a simple act blew my mind and that was only after my first dive. In between back flipping and front flipping underwater,swimming after everything that moved, it was so overwhelming for my diver that we could nothing but hug back on the surface. I got back on board and just took a moment to myself to try and process what had just happened. If I needed inspiration…there it was. The rest of the day only built on that experience, and I ended the day feeling something that I think had slipped away for a time, and has now come back to me. So now where to go ? I hear you cry!!! More of that I think. We are hoping to organize another program and regularly hold them in Costa Rica, bringing the joy of scuba with the “no barriers’ to people throughout Latin America and the states. I so want to be a part of it. I have already started what I can at Go Pro Costa Rica, and we, for the upcoming season be incorporating the assistant diver program into out divemaster program. This will allow every rescue diver upwards to be able to assist with anyone diving with disabilities. Its a small step, but a start. As I type this whilst getting ready to board my flight to England, all I can think about is how much I want to share this experience with as many people as possible and I cannot wait until the next event to that I can share my “joy” for scuba again.
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