The Simple Life Test
Becoming a Divemaster is not just about diving all day every day, there is some actual work involved. In fact, there’s a list of all the skill requirements and exercises that you must pass before submitting your certification application. In four weeks, I’ve had to perform skills in confined water for Scuba Reviews and Discover Scuba Diving customers, swim a timed 100m, 400m, and 800m, assist an Instructor in Open Water, Advanced, and Rescue Diver courses, create a dive site map, write an emergency assistance plan, lead fun divers (without getting lost or tangling my SMB), complete speciality workshops in skin diving, deep diving, and search and recovery, and last but not least, clean the kit room and equipment after every dive.
But the real and final test for becoming a Divemaster is The Snorkel Test. (Disclaimer: The Snorkel Test is a Simple Life Divers ritual. It is not supported as an official PADI Standard… yet). The purpose of the Snorkel Test is, and I quote: “to get Divemaster Trainees ridiculously f***ed off their face.” And that’s pretty much what happened. There were 7 of us finishing our training (me and the boys), so the night started off with a series of drinking games and challenges. We had boat races, a dance off, and sucked flaming Sambuca from our fingers. But don’t worry, our trusty instructors were sure to rehydrate us by giving us shots of tequila in between games.
The final moment was what we had all been dreading since starting the course: The Snorkel Test. Basically, a bucket (roughly a liter) of a mystery liquor concoction is poured into your snorkel and you must drink it all as fast as you can. I learned later that our bucket drinks were filled with vodka, tequila, Sangsom, red bull, Tabasco, vinegar, and I’m sure other random liquids as well. Which makes me wonder if in fact it’s bad that I was only one to not immediately projectile vomit into the bin. Regardless, it was horrible and hilarious at the same time. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone… Except all the other DMTs – You’re next!
Having survived (aka passed) the Snorkel Test, we took the next day off from diving to recover. It was the perfect excuse to finally spend some time on the beach of Koh Nangyuan. We spent five hours on this little white sand island with crystal clear water just off of Koh Tao doing very little than sunbathing and swimming.
With most of my “work” completed and Jeremy officially named an Advanced Open Water Diver (thanks Jo and congratulations Jeremy!), our last week in Koh Tao focused on fun diving. I was on the boat and in the water as much as I could be. By the end of the month, I had dived at a dozen sites around the Koh Tao and logged 64 dives.
I love scuba diving. In fact, love might be an understatement. What I learned from the divers at SimpleLife, however, is that diving is also about the time spent out of the water together. In the 30 days I was there, I don’t think we missed watching a single sunset from the beach front view of O’Chai’s together. Nor was there a single night we ate without good company and lots of laughs. Whether we were playing cards, bowling, hollering at the lady-boy cabaret or just having beers on the beach, I was always surrounded by amazing people with incredible stories and good vibes.
The people I met through SimpleLife have given me yet another reason to love diving and to continue diving the world as much as I can. I am going to miss you all and will remember you forever.