Mikaela’s dive ad­ven­tures

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

My first day was like the start of a new chap­ter in my life. Mov­ing from lit­tle ol’ Wanaka to the big smoke was a gi­ant leap in my world. Away from the com­fort of mum and dad and the small town where ev­ery­one knows you and who you be­long to. I had no idea what to ex­pect and was su­per ner­vous meet­ing the other 16 students and the scary in­struc­tors. But af­ter just a month of be­ing to­gether we turned into a big Dive O fam­ily. The in­struc­tors be­came more than just the peo­ple who told you im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion and what to do, they were more our friends, our men­tors who would go out of their way to help in what­ever sit­u­a­tion as much as they could. Be­fore I knew it, I was a Res­cue Diver and off for my week’s practicum in Mil­ford Sound. Six students, two in­struc­tors and the Sea Horse packed up for our ad­ven­ture. Chal­lenged phys­i­cally and men­tally do­ing three dives a day aboard the Sea Horse, the nice cosy boat, was the most mem­o­rable week yet. Shut off from so­ci­ety, just the eight of us do­ing what we love do­ing best, ev­ery day. The coolest part is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing things you didn’t ex­pect, like Black Co­ral liv­ing at 10m in­stead of 50 and swim­ming with dol­phins. The In­struc­tors re­ally keep things in­ter­est­ing too, like when we had to prac­tice giv­ing our first dive brief­ings to warm wa­ter divers from Ja­maica! Ev­ery­day Dive Otago sur­prises us with a new chal­lenge to over­come. Be­ing stalked by a sea lion that seemed big­ger than a bus and even res­cu­ing an un­con­scious pa­tient from a van crashed into a pole. We have all learnt so much this year like not pee­ing in your wet­suit (or peo­ple will look at you funny), how to write the date and sign your name 50 mil­lion times over and how to suc­cess­fully re­cover a lost non-breath­ing diver un­der­wa­ter. Do­ing the Diploma course has widened my knowl­edge of the un­der­wa­ter world and my pas­sion for div­ing is still there. Each mem­ber of the Dive Otago team has helped me along the way and I can tell this will be my job for a long time yet. Cur­rent Fe­bru­ary Diploma in Pro­fes­sional Scuba In­struc­tion/Cer­tifi­cate in Medic First Aid In­struc­tion stu­dent.

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