December 2005

In the beginning of December I flew from Townsville back to Jayne in Sydney. I was about to leave Australia very soon, but before I did that we figured that we would have the time to do a bit of diving around Sydney. So one morning we met up with the Prodive dive boat in Sydney harbour and went out from there. Out at the point where we did the first dive the visibility was not the best. Actually Jayne found that it was the worst she had seen for a long time. But being used to dive in Denmark I am not too spoiled with the visibility in my normal diving, so I did not find that it was that bad at all. The next dive was in Sydney harbour itself, and even though the visibility had not improved much, we were lucky to see both a Weedy Sea Dragon, which is endemic to Australia, and a Red Indian Fish.

Picture 1: Red Indian Fish

Picture 2: Weedy Sea Dragon

Picture 3: Me diving in Sydney Harbour

So all in all the day was not that bad at all. On the day I left Australia summer was coming fast and we had 48 degrees centigrade, but as soon as I landed in Denmark it became very apparent that in the northern hemisphere December means winter with just about zero degrees. And this is where and when I had chosen to do my IDC…

In Denmark we have an aquarium called “Kattegatcenteret”, and here you can see the life we have out in Kattegat. Some years ago a dive instructor, Teddy Vester, came up with the idea of making a dive centre that would be associated with the aquarium and which would use the oceanarium as a confined water training site.

Picture 4: Sunrise at Dive Resort Kattegat

We met up at Kattegatcenteret one early morning. We were four instructor candidates ready for a week’s hard work. Together we rented a cabin for the week, and as it turned out this made it a lot easier and more fun to do the course because we could help each other out if there was something we did not fully understand or if we got stuck with our homework. Our course director was Jesper Kjøller, the editor of the Danish Dive Magazine DYK, and over the next week he would get us through the IDC.

Picture 5: Our course director Jesper Kjøller

Since I had already done the assistant instructor course last year, the tasks that we had to do were not completely unfamiliar, and that was probably a good thing as I only arrived back from Australia a day before the start of the course. We started out going through the skill circuit in the confined water. But since the confined water in this case mend the oceanarium, the water temperature was 12 degrees and the air temperature below zero, so we were all wearing drysuits, which does not exactly make it any easier. Moreover, I had not performed any of the skills since I started the scholarship in April, so after the first round I was not too proud of my performance.

Picture 6: Our class doing confined water briefings

Next in line was the confined water scenarios in which we took turns in being the instructor, divemaster and students. In the beginning the big challenge as a student is to do the one problem that was assigned to you – and master the rest of the skill so you do not make it harder than necessary for the instructor. But slowly as we got to know each other better, and watched the others do the skills, we ended up following the same routines through the skill so we knew exactly when a student was doing a wrong movement.

Picture 7: The Scandinavian coordinator Lars Kirkegaard is scoring us on our confined water performance.

In the class room we had several lectures on different subjects related to teaching, and eventually it was our turn to get up there and make lectures for our friends. None of us really enjoyed this the first time because the way you must do it and the things you must remember to say seem so strange. The first time we had to prepare a lecture it took an eternity, but we would slowly get our minds around the concept and towards the end of the week it was not too much of a big deal.

Picture 8: We are getting ready for our theory presentations

One of the days we had a workshop about the advanced and the rescue course. We had to perform a number of the things that you must go through as an advanced student, and I think we all got renewed respect for the complexity of these skills.
A rescue scenario is part of the instructor exam, and here we had the chance to practice. We had been practicing the scenario the evening before after finishing classes, so we felt quiet prepared to rescue each other – but being the victim is a whole other story when it is snowing, the water is close to freezing and your rescuer repeatedly puts water in your face while squeezing your nose. We survived though and on the last day of the course we all went out to dinner together, all confident that we would be able to pass the instructor examination in January.
For the two guys in the class the course was over by now, but Maria and I stayed one more day to finish off doing the Emergency First Response instructor course, and after a day working with CPR, defibrillator and secondary survey we could happily go home as newly certified first aid instructors.