My Scuba Adventure by Jessica Martinez-Burkey

TurtleWhat got me interested in Scuba? I really don’t like to answer that question. I am a Colorado girl born and raised. I ski and snowboard and we live nowhere near an Ocean. I am a mountain girl. The truth is – it was my husband John’s idea to get scuba certified and I really did not have much interest in it at all. I began my scuba adventure trying to do something that I knew my husband loved and I, frankly, could not have cared less about. My confession: I really only got certified to spend more time with him doing something that I knew he enjoyed.

After I got certified I spent the first several dives afraid to take my eyes off of the Divemaster who was leading our dive. My eyes were glued to the Divemaster’s fins. Imagine my surprise when I finally relaxed and looked around – what I found was a whole other world! I was still on this planet, but I felt like I had been entirely transported. When I looked around I saw the most amazing and beautiful DonnaWalllandscapes with hills and caves and swaying plant life; so many vibrant colors and entire ecosystems of fish and marine life. This, I realized, is a part of the same planet, but it is a separate world and I am a mere visitor. I felt awe and wonder at this strange and beautiful underwater environment and I could not wait to explore, but I was also a little fearful and tentative.

Once I relaxed I began to enjoy scuba so much that I always wanted to be in the water exploring. I wanted to see everything! It did not take long for me to realize I needed to work on my skills. I was a guest in this beautiful underwater world and I needed to stop being so clumsy with my fins. I also needed to improve my buoyancy so that I could more easily explore without disturbing or damaging their beautiful home. Learning more about the basics like how to conserve air so that I could have more bottom time, (relax) and ways I could continue diving if my dive computer stopped working, (dive tables) was imperative. John and I decided to start furthering our education and working on our skills so we took classes with the goal of becoming Master Scuba Divers. It was a lot of work, but well worth it when we finally reached our goal and became Master Scuba Divers! My newfound knowledge and skills completely enhanced my dive experience. Diving became so enjoyable to me that I wanted to share it with others. I did not realize how much I wanted to be a part of the journey of others until my husband and I went to a PADI Pro Night at Joe’s Scuba Shack.

We initially went to the PADI “Go Pro” Night because it was a Scuba Party where we could talk about diving with our Scuba friends. Little did we realize a light would turn on in our heads that night and we would connect the dots – John and I could do what we love and help introduce others to have this same amazing and life changing experience through Scuba! That very night we had a plan. We would immediately get to work on our Divemaster certifications. John knew that night he wanted to continue on and become an Open Water Scuba Instructor. I, however, was not sure if I wanted to move past Divemaster. I knew a Divemaster certification would enable me to lead dives with certified divers and also assist a Scuba Instructor with students. My main goal at that time was to get the additional Divemaster certification so that I could introduce people to scuba by conducting Discover Scuba sessions. I began to really enjoy helping the instructors with their students. I became an important part of something new and exciting for the students. It was a surprisingly fulfilling experience for me when I saw fear become accomplishment as students gained confidence.Crab

We had so much fun completing our Divemaster certification with Donna and Joe and working with the Assistant Instructor candidates as well as helping students to have fun and learn new skills that I decided I wanted to move on to the next stage – Assistant Instructor. It was a challenge completing our Assistant Instructor certification and I gained a whole new level of respect for PADI and their complete emphasis on safety through exemplary student training – lead by example and by not deviating from the well-designed PADI system of learning. I thought Assistant Instructor would be my final certification. Who was I kidding? Well, apparently I was only kidding myself because I am very proud to say that I am now an Assistant Instructor. It did not take me long to realize there is no way I am stopping before I become an Open Water Scuba Instructor!

My scuba journey is only just beginning and there is nothing I find more exciting and fulfilling than helping others discover their own scuba adventures.

jessica

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