In September, I arrived in Taormina, Sicily to do my Divemaster with Sea Spirit Diving Resort, not speaking a word of Italian and never having dived in the Mediterranean before. Six weeks later, I left a PADI Professional with experience in cold water diving (well… it felt cold to me!), able to speak approximately five words in Italian and, most importantly, part of the wonderful family of divers at Sea Spirit. Carmelo and Cilla have such a strong passion for diving and an even stronger passion for teaching. This was especially clear in the theory lectures they provided throughout the course, which always went a little bit further than the PADI manual with extra interesting information. These theory lectures were just one aspect of my packed Divemaster schedule, alongside workshops (both in the pool and in open water), skill sessions and opportunities for fun diving in my time off with my fellow Divemaster Candidates.
Alina, a great instructor who is always up for a laugh, oversaw our Divemaster course. During the workshops, we took it in turns to play ‘student’ or ‘Divemaster’. It was then that we discovered the multiple personalities of Alina, from the Open Water diver obsessed with starfish, to an Advanced diver with perfect buoyancy. As a result, workshops improved the Divemaster skills needed in order to lead dives with divers of all experience levels. In particular, my favourite workshop was Search and Recovery, during which you had to demonstrate different knots underwater, alongside various search and recovery techniques for missing objects. This workshop really helped build my confidence as a diver, improving my air consumption and buoyancy. Instead of constantly focusing on my dive technique, it became second nature as I instead had to focus my attention on tying the perfect bowline or counting the kick cycles on a search pattern.
I also think the Divemaster course at Sea Spirit excels in the hands-on experience you gain with customers. The team is small and so everyone helps out with all aspects of the dive – from loading tanks on the boat, to helping customers with their equipment, to cleaning everything back at the Sea Spirit office. Getting to work closely with a great team of professionals, which also included Carmelo Junior, Alfio and Stefania, and being part of someone’s first or hundredth dive experience is so rewarding.
I loved my time at Sea Spirit in Sicily and I’m already looking forward to returning in 2021!