Richard is officially a PADI certified ADVANCED OPEN WATER DIVER- on his way to Rescue- I started writing this right after I certified him as an Open Water Diver.
Way back when we started dating (almost 9 years ago) I was teaching SCUBA in Los Angeles and thought it would be great to get him certified so he could share in my passion, and we could spend more time together, underwater! I bought him a course and all my co-workers were trying to call dibs on teaching Rich. At the time, I didn’t want to be responsible for teaching a loved one since it can be difficult. Teaching friends, family, especially a significant other can be a total disaster. I’ve heard stories from plenty of instructors about family / friends who are distracted, can’t take the instructor seriously, or the students are easily discouraged / embarrassed when things don’t go right, and my favorite : they are insecure or don’t want to disappoint you as their instructor. All this made me think it would be a bad idea to teach him myself. But vibes weren’t right at the shop, there were some things going on that didn’t sit right with either of us and Rich put off learning to dive, a few months later, I left that job to start my first company.
All these years later, we’ve traveled the world together, including to many world class diving destinations. Instead of inviting Rich to take a class before these vacations I let him know it was all up to him, to let me know when HE wanted to dive. I never wanted to pressure him or anyone else into learning to dive with selfish motives. I knew when the time was right, he would let me know … and we would go diving.
Well, before we moved, Rich had made it clear that once we got here, he wanted to get certified. He had enjoyed snorkeling, skin diving, and free diving in Dominica, Belize, Aruba & California and he knew that the next logical step was SCUBA certification. Right around the corner from our last house in Las Vegas there was a Sports Chalet which was closing up shop, like all the rest of them and having a huge blow out sale. We took the opportunity to find a few choice items for Rich to learn on including a TUSA weight integrated BCD. Lucky for him I have ‘extra’ gear, so he has been diving on my Apeks XTX 200 regulator with my old Cobra 2 computer, lucky guy!
Rich completed his PADI e-learning program and started his confined and open water training with me while I was also teaching teens at Cabrits. He was a standout student, catching on quickly to the concepts presented and applying them underwater. Once certified we started diving for fun right away, and it was just as magical as I imagined. You may have seen some of our VIDEOS where the two of us dive together, or hunt lionfish together, and I love having these mementos of sharing this passion for diving and the underwater world. It’s crazy how long I’ve been working on this blog, but at the same time it makes sense, this isn’t a story of something that’s happened but something that is happening.
Rich is now certified and continuing his dive education at every possible opportunity, whether it’s learning how to service tank valves and visually inspect tanks to repairing and rebuilding regulators or learning CPR, First Aid, AED and Oxygen Administration. I never really considered what would happen after he was certified. Would he stick to recreational diving, and do it with me when I coaxed him into the water ? I can already answer that with a big fat NO. He has taken to diving, dive operations & culture better than I could have ever hoped. I am not his only dive buddy, and I love it. Watching him go off for a dive with one of our friends makes me smile ear to ear with the pride of a teacher watching her student achieve, a parent watching their child grow up, or a partner watching her love share in their passion. I feel all of the above.
Rich has put together 2 blogs about diving which I will be posting after this in hopes that you get his perspective on learning to dive, the transition from skin-diver to scuba diver and his transition into a diver rather than a dive student. Also, while I was at DEMA he went out with one of our instructor friends for his first night dive! Although I was bummed I wasn’t there to experience that first with him, I was just as excited to hear about it after. The thrill in his voice, the way he spoke about a site he knew well and seeing it in a different light. I will let him share the rest of that story with you in an additional blog.