Pleasure to teach skills to newbies

23:30, Oct 11 2012

I mentioned the other week how I wasn't so keen to put on my wetsuit on a cold wintry morning because I have to pre-wet it first. Well last weekend I had the opposite, where I was more than happy to get into it wet as it was such a nice afternoon.

I had received a phone call from Tony, a friend of mine, who had been asked to give another of his friend's sons a few pointers on the basics of free diving with a view to spearfishing in the future. He had asked if I would be interested in coming along and helping out as well. Of course it never takes much to talk me into a dive, fish or hunt, so I willingly said yes and waited for the next call to tell me when.

Well the call came around the middle of last week to see if I thought the weekend was a possibility, so I checked with my darling wife and it didn't seem to clash with anything, and I'm pretty sure I still had some brownie points in credit, so the answer was yes.

The initial plan was to go Saturday afternoon but around Thursday night the forecast wasn't looking that great for Saturday so we pushed it out until Sunday afternoon. As the weekend unfolded I felt happy we had made the correct choice and when Sunday came around it was confirmed, it was a beautiful day to go for a dive.

The subject of our attention was a young man named Will, who was keen to learn and excited about the prospects of going diving with a couple of experienced divers, or at least Tony and myself. Before I go on with the story I must back track just a little bit. The main reason I said yes to the dive was that I see Tony as a typically good man, a man who thinks and acts in good ways. You might think that everyone does that, but they don't. But I have seen the way this man contributes to society and I like it, so if he was willing to put time into helping a young fella get started, then it didn't even require a second thought for me to be involved as well.

Like him, I too get excited when young people want to learn from others around them how to improve themselves without having to make all the very same mistakes that others have before them.


I don't see it as taking the easy way. I see it as being smart and learning from others' mistakes and then learning from your own mistakes, just from a higher level. In my mind, this is the only way society can progress, otherwise we all just make the same mistakes.

Anyway, back to the dive.

Our plan was to find a nice bay which we could be confident that we would have mostly to ourselves just for a bit of peace and without the added risk of boats zooming all around us, and also with something to see and learn from. We found such a bay and we kitted up and had a brief chat about how we would go about the dive.

To digress again, one of the other things that I like and was glad to see was that Tony had given a full safety briefing about where the safety equipment was on board his boat and what to do if anyone was left to call for help or notify others of an emergency. We need to promote this practice more. We all wore our life jackets, which is also a good habit to get into on small craft.

Will and I decided we would spend some time going over the basics of breath hold diving and spent most of our time in water around 4-6m deep just practising duck diving properly, extending the length of our dives and generally just having fun.

I found a few scallops in close and was able to show him what they looked like on the sea floor. Tony had also got some scallops out a bit deeper and we placed some of these in different depths for Will to gather on his own. This was good fun and he was learning quickly. It was good to be able to help someone who didn't already know all the answers; that's one of the greatest things I enjoy about teaching people who want to learn. If they already know all there is to know then I am of little help and will usually make that the last time with them.

Will wasn't one of those; he wanted to learn and we were happy to teach. Any skills I have are there to be shared, I gained them from others so am only too happy to share them with those willing to put the effort in themselves. I have no real secrets, just experiences that can help others who want similar experiences.

After a successful dive, we also had the added bonus of a feed of fresh scallops to take home. A perfect ending to a great afternoon on the water.

Thanks Tony and Will.

The Marlborough Express