From snorkeling to dive instructing
Sharks, stingrays, barracudas, nudibranches, seahorse, dolphins, turtles, whales, gorgonias, annemonies, cleaning shrimps, moray eels, jacks… they are my colleagues, friends and business partners, mostly. In a normal year I spend more hours with them as for example on a subway.
Some people would find it strange, and here we are, dive instructors - who cannot immagine it otherwise. Living salty! Thats the slogan, what is easy to follow, if you are really dedicated. My way was a bit long to enter this world, but after all, I can only say worth it every second.
I borned in a country with no sea. I borned in an ex-communist country, with not so much chance to travel. I borned in a typical middle class family, with no future for dreamers. And still, after all, I had a dream. I remember exactly when I first met the sea. It was the black sea, in Bulgaria and I was 8 years old. We traveled with a very old car, two entire days on the road with my parents who was continuosly talk about the sea.
How much I will love it, how immense and endless and wild and beauty is! I fall asleep, woke up and watch out, ask for every little lake and bigger river: here we are? And my parents were smiling and telling me, the sea is muuuuch much bigger. Then, finally we arrived, and it was everything true, it was enormous, incredibly blue, it has a voice, it has a taste, it has an own caracter... And obviously I fell in love.
I spent that short two weeks mostly underwater with a little swimming glass on my head, and basicly I only get out of the water to eat and sleep. I remember exactly the last day, when I told my mom, I don’t wanna go home, I wanna live close to the sea, and she answered with a worried face "you know we have no sea..."
However, I was a stubborn little girl and I just decided my future on that holiday. Shortly sixteen years past, I were already on my way to Italy with a one way ticket on hand. Of course, before that, many random meeting pushed me on my way:
First of all, I never know that diving is available for all kind of human beings. In my head it was something for soldiers and firefighters, until on my last year in the highschool I met an advertisement in a local newspaper (yes, in the sealess country!) showed "wanna try diving? free pool sessions every Thursday, blablabla...” So with all my surprise, I phoned that number and booked myself to the next one, and my world is just had a complete change in that one hour in the bottom of that pool.
The next year I was already a certified CMAS diver. And so, start my university, start to work and save all my money to go to the nearest sea every summer to do some dives. And finally, became the moment, when I can make my dream come true. Said goodbye to my old city, the family and friends, packed my basic stuffs, and moved to the seaside.
I have had to work hardly to reach the goal, and sometimes some years just passed without getting any closer, but step by step, year by year, course by course, and at the end, I’m a PADI dive instructor with thousands of diving experience, with hundreds of students all around the world, and unforgattable, fantastic memories!
I’ve dived in three different continent, and since I’m a full time instructor I dive almost every day twice. And the weirdest fact: I’m still enjoying every moment! Even on my main base, in Gran Canaria, I still can have surprises! After thousands of dives on the same spot, suddenly I met a new sea creature. In a bory thursday morning I could have a meeting with a dolphin family. Another regular tuesday I have the luck to see angelsharks mating. Just showing my guests a huge school of grunts and capture the moment when a two meter long jack attacks a barracuda and miss it, and other barracudas comes close to the "almost victim” checking him if is all right…
Moments, moments, moments which are usually a national geographic scene for most of the people. And I still have not talked about the teaching! That fantastic moment, when that shy and afraid person who signs the papers on the first meeting, become a diver, a real diver, after just couple of hours spent together! When my student handing me a plastic bag, just picked up from the sea bottom, only because saw me to do the same. When I meet a guy who is a dive instructor now, but I remember to do the intro dive with him, years ago. When I teach an old lady who could be easily my granmother…and so on.
Such a beautiful life, I’m happy to start a new day every time! Trust me: if you wanna be happy, be a dive instructor.
This article above is written by @Hajni Maroti (PADI Instructor #339200), please give respect to her copyright!
This article is not to be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Hajni Maroti.