Mikaela’s dive adventures
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.