“Today we are going to have some fun,” the instructor trainers are telling us. We already know that Nancy and her team want to spice up the course a little bit. The candidates have to do some confined water exercises again. But they will encounter new tricky mistakes. “We have to train the people so they are able to identify and solve any possible problem. Everything that can go wrong will happen in real life sooner or later,” Nancy says. “The candidates tend to focus only on the errors they already have seen. Now we have to change this issue.”
For this complicated skill, we haven’t been promised a lot. There are a number of things that go terribly wrong in the water and it results in many an unloved score of one. Due to the distracting nature of the assigned problems some of the IDC candidates are not performing the skills properly.The instructor trainers do not directly intervene in the water. They take notes and will talk to the candidates later on. Lucy will demonstrate buddy breathing (sharing one regulator between two divers) today and perform this skill with students. Initially everything is looking good. The student is giving the out-of-air signal to Lucy. She is handing over her primary second stage. In a specific breathing rhythm the regulator is shared between two divers. Sigrid is told to keep the air source and Lucy loses her focus. She chokes a little bit and tries to reach Sigrid’s primary regulator. In theory Sigrid is the one without air and needs Lucy as an alternate air source. The exercise has failed completely and Lucy is facing a score of one. Sigrid is giving Lucy OK signal to see if everything is alright.
Lucy takes the situation with humour and says that she was choking three times within a month doing buddy breathing. “Perhaps it was not a mistake and I just like choking,” she quips.
During the debriefing Peter complains that errors while doing surface skills are very hard to spot. “I can’t see at the same time what is going on above and under water,” he says. “How shall I recognize all the mistakes?” Hendrik confirms this problem: “Everybody thinks the surface skills are the easy ones. But it’s exactly the opposite.” Because of his experience Hendrik is able to give Peter some tips on how to make life easier. “Read the instructor manual carefully and have a good look at the performance requirements. Peter you were swimming with your student into shallow water. The performance requirement is to tow a tired diver for 25 metres in water that is too deep to stand. It would be more than annoying to fail the IE because of such a careless error. You can avoid this problem easily if you swim parallel to the beach.”
The two Spanish guys Hugo and Alvaro scored a one because of a very similar reason − they also did not pay attention to the depth. The staff instructors emphasize again that depth can be an assigned problem in the IE. Therefore they recommend always looking at the depth gauge before starting an exercise.
“A one and a five are often quite close together,” says Nancy. “It does not matter how perfect you demonstrate an exercise if the required depth is wrong. But it’s not a big deal. Everybody is doing very well and everything is looking quite promising. By the end of the week we will have trained you to recognize and solve all the assigned problems.” Nancy is encouraging the candidates.
The AI exam
In the late afternoon the candidates sit their first set of theoretical examinations. If the candidates pass they have achieved the level of assistant instructor (AI). But this is only valid for ten of the instructor candidates who also have successfully completed the water sessions. Good news! Everybody passes the test. Congratulations! This result is cheering everybody up − especially after the morning’s bad marks. But the candidates will not have time to celebrate. Tomorrow will continue the IDC as usual at 8:30am. A workshop is on scheduled in which the instructor trainers will practise difficult exercises with the candidates − including the infamous CESA (Controlled Swimming Emergency Ascent). In the afternoon there will be another theory exam including the dreaded subject physics.
Course Director: Nancy Abd El Wahab
Dive centre: Sinai Divers Dahab
Published on: 09/24/2009
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