I have started this blog as I am just about to embark on the biggest challenge I have ever faced – my Dive Mistress training.
I love diving so, so much. I love the smell of neoprene, I love my lovely little comfy BCD and my excellent regs that allow me to be an underwater tourist, I love fish, I love coral, I love the amazing efforts of people all over the world to preserve this most mysterious and beautiful environment, I love being dive tired and I love being part of a small set of people who descend beneath the surface of the sea, quarries, rivers, under the ice and into caves and wrecks because its new and exciting. Most of all I love that I am a visitor to this wonderful place, observing but not involved – an Underwater Tourist.
So what is a Dive Mistress? Officially there is no such thing – its actually Dive Master. However, being the independant woman that I am, I see no reason why I should be called a ‘Master’ so at the risk of sounding like a feminist I want to help throw open the oceans to those ladies like myself who love diving but don’t want to be a bloke about it.
A lady diver does need certain qualities. She needs to be quite strong because diving is very physical. Girlfriend those tanks are HEAVY! And getting wetsuits on and off takes effort, not to mention playing havoc with carefully kept nails. However it is very good for you, and so much fun you don’t even realise exercise is happening.
A lady diver needs to be able to get mucky. Unfortunately, unlike in the adverts, diving is in no way glamorous. If you don’t come out of the water with snot all over your face and small fish in your (seriously tangled) hair, you are doing very well indeed. Of course once the small fish are are washed away it is absolutely a diving lady’s perogative – no, our right – to knock dead all those diving males later in the bar by looking like the utter godesses we are.
A diving lady needs to be able to get along well with men, or at least have a low shock factor with regards jokes, burping, farting and peeing over the side of a boat because lots of men dive. The dive master is male, the skipper is male, the instructor, 90% of the people on the boat…
All this can be intimidating especially for new lady divers. Especially when the boys (for that is what they are) start going on about how far they went inside a wreck, who has the brightest torch, how deep they’ve gone and the testosterone just rises and rises…. And all the girls are thinking is “but we saw a beautiful rare turtle and an amazing – who cares that one of you went to 28meters and the other went to 29!?” So the ability to roll one’s eyes at the men is very important indeed.
But mainly a lady diver just needs to like diving. Because diving rocks!
This blog is for all the girl divers out there who like to look at beautiful fish, who can wreck dive with the best of them and who can carry their gear with dignity, all the while remembering that just because we can do these things doesn’t mean we have to burp, fart and pee over the side of the boat. Of course, if you want to burp, fart and pee over the side of the boat, then lady, you go for it.
So”The Underwater Tourist” will be about my progress during my course, plenty of underwater stuff, some conservation musings and news, and lots of pictures.
Please enjoy! X