Terry and his girlfriend travelled around the world diving and working in some of the most exotic places and countries in the world such as: in South East Asia: - the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma and Malaysia. In Africa and the Middle East: - South Africa, Israel, Egypt and Greece. In Central America: - Mexico and Belize.
They truly worked in some beautiful places, the sort of place you would say this is a dream location and their customers who were there on holiday and did not know what it was like to live there permanently. They would turn to them and say “this is a perfect life you are living in such beautiful surroundings. You are so lucky I wish I could live the life that you are living”. The truth of the matter is the person who said that probably wouldn’t last 10 minutes if they had to actually work there rather than be on holiday, because there’s a big difference between the two. They only see the lovely sandy beaches, the warm blue seas, the clear skies, the lovely food and cheap cocktails (when the days diving is done) what they didn’t see was the stupidity that Terry had to put up with each day. One of the main things Terry would have to up with was the questions, whoever came up with the statement “that the only stupid question was the one that you didn’t ask” obviously never worked as a diving instructor/guide, as the questions that one gets asked in these roles is quite amazing. Terry particularly remembers a time when he was working in a small town in Egypt called Nuweiba. While there he had an American woman diving with him who asked so many dumb questions he could not believe she was managing to travel around the world. Her first questions concerned the room she was staying in and moving out and staying on the beach near the site where they would be diving that day. First off she told Terry that she didn’t like where she was staying in the town as it was too noisy at night time and she can sleep, so she asked Terry if ways they were going was quiet. He said yes it is, it is very quiet as it is right on the beach and people only really go there during the daytime to go diving and the night times were spent there by people eating in the restaurants or staying in the chalets (hoshas as they are called locally). On hearing this she then asked “Will I like it there?” As Terry had no idea what she would and would not like he had no way of answering her question. She then asked him did he think that she should check out of her accommodation/room that she was staying in before she went diving. Terry was getting rather confused by all this and he said to her that if she was going to stay at the accommodation where they were going to go diving go diving then she would need to take her bags with her as she would need those later. This seemed to answer her questions so she went and checked out of where she was staying and came back to the dive shop, and they packed her stuff with the dive gear and went off for the drive to the dive sites. Regarding the diving this was another thing that she asked about in question that went “will I like it where we are going diving? Once again this confused Terry as he had no idea what she liked and did not like on a dive site. So he explained to her that it was a very pretty dive site with lots of nice corals and many brightly coloured fish to see and that she probably would like it there. After about 45 minutes driving they made it to the restaurant, accommodation and dive site. On arrival Terry helped the woman check in to a Hoosha on the beach and ordered lunch before going diving. Terry explained to her as the resort was very quiet after the diving was done for the day then it would be best if she ordered her evening meal now so they can prepare it for later and know how many meals to prepare for the evening. At this point she asked Terry what she should eat later, he suggested fish as they catch them fresh during the day and cook them at night the next thing she then asked was “will I like the fish?” Once again Terry was a bit confused and could only reply with “do you normally like fish” to which she replied “yes” so then Terry then replied “well then I guess you will like the fish here, so I would order some now for your dinner tonight”. Once they had eaten lunch they then put their dive gear together, kitted up and walked the short distance down the beach and into the water and went for a dive. As it turned out she did like the dive, lunch, dinner and her night in her new accommodation. So much in fact she stayed for a few more days than planned, which meant Terry saw her a few more times as she was going diving, in which time she asked quite a few more questions, most of which Terry couldn’t answer as a lot were about general travelling around Egypt, which was a subject he wasn’t well versed in, as his only travels had been from the border with Israel down to Nuweiba (a journey of 60 to 100 KM or so). Another point of disgruntlement in Terry’s and probably every other dive professional working in the glamorous industry of diving was the awful way they are treated by dive shop owners. It is like they don’t know or don’t care how much money and time their workers spent becoming diving professionals, and this is always reflected in how much they pay. It’s like they think they are doing the diver a favour by letting them work for them because their business is in such beautiful surroundings, so I pay them very little generally just a small percentage of what they take from the customers, and customers are always haggling for the best deal which they get because business needs to have custom. Also another thing this very rarely provided by a dive shop is a work visa (these are generally needed because the diver doesn’t come from the country they are to work in) as these generally cost a lot of money and time to obtain. Which means the diving professional is always looking over their shoulder for immigration officers to be present and find them working illegally. This is just what happened to Terry’s girlfriend in one country they were working in. She just become a diving instructor and wanted to prove to the shop that she could teach and get new customers to the business. Unfortunately for her was that she talked to a group of people who she thought were potential students to do a diving course as they were dressed up in beachwear and look like that one holiday, she told them her name and that she was working at the shop and could teach them to dive. They in return told her that they were officers from a special unit of immigration and that they wanted to see her passport and was to attend a meeting with them in their office to explain what she was doing work in their country. They took the names a few other divers whose names seemed more European than their countries and asked to see them also and got them to get their passports and told them they would be hearing from the immigration Department very soon to find out what their story was also. Terry was out diving buses was going on but he returned to the shop to find a very distraught girlfriend and others who had been found out. The strange thing was, was that the only people they asked to see had girls names which led everyone to thinking something fishy was going on. They rang up the British Embassy in the country and asked them what they should do. The member of the British embassy also found it quite strange that they only asked for girls and said be careful as this might be some sort of hoax to get the girls alone and that Terry and others should go along with them when they had their meeting to attend to make sure nothing unusual was going to go on. After a few more phone calls the British Embassy had found out that this was a new task force and was above board, but recommended that they should act like angry tourists when going to the meeting, saying they were not working and also having to attend this meeting men there were wasting a day of their holiday (not too angry as this might cause offence, but just like they were annoyed with wasting precious holiday time in such beautiful country). They waited anxiously for the phone call, it came a few days later and it gave them another week before the meeting was scheduled meaning they had time to come up with a cover story. The dive shop owners were quite clever. They would get into a lot of trouble for employing foreigners without proper work visas. They came up with the story and paperwork to say that the divers who had been called in for the meeting were new instructors and didn’t have the confidence to teach so they were paying the shop to teach for them, this made dive shop owners look clever because they were not paying for instructor’s work for them but getting paid by the instructors to do work, they falsified receipts and payments by the instructors to the dive shop. The day of the meeting soon came around and had their stories well versed, they entered the immigration office and acted very put out by their time wasting venture and gave the full story impeccably. The officers took it all in, believing everything and even praising the dive shop owners on their ability to get instructors to pay to work for them. They were allowed to go and carry on as if nothing had happened. They soon got back to the island they were working on and fell back into the routine of working in the shop and out SCUBA diving. The only trouble was they treated everybody who came to the shop as a potential undercover immigration officer and therefore couldn’t relax and enjoy their work. So Terry and his girlfriend soon left and headed to another country to look for more work as divers in hopefully more relaxed surroundings.
Terry and his girlfriend left the Island and went to Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. They stayed there with friends that they had made whilst diving with them. One of them was particularly special to Terry’s girlfriend as he was he first student she had taught since becoming an instructor. They also stayed with a Chinese/Malaysian lady who was very friendly with Terry. For the main reason that she loved to go out diving and Terry would have to take her out some times four dives a day, which is quite a lot.
During his time with her Terry caught a cold. Meaning that his sinuses would block up making it difficult to ‘equalise’ the pressure in them during his descent’s and ascent’s on the dives. But he carried on regardless because in this field of work, if one does not dive then one does not earn anything. Terry carried on like this for a few days as once he was down on a dive then everything he equalised and there was no pain in his sinuses or ears. Everything was going fine until Terry finished what was to be his last dive for a couple of days. The dive was over and they had been diving shallow anyway so they started a nice slow ascent to the surface. This was when Terry’s problems started to come into play. Terry started to suffer from a symptom known as a ‘reverse block’. This is when the pressure is trapped behind the mucus in the diver’s sinuses. Terry got up to the five meter depth point to carry out a three minute’ safety stop’. Whilst there, Terry tried massaging around his nose, forehead and temples. In the hope that he could relieve the pressure build up.
It did not really work. But Terry decided enough was enough for the day and proceeded to the surface. Terry surfaced right next to the dive boat, grabbed hold of it, removed his diving mask and forcefully blew his nose to relieve the pressure and the pain. This action was both detrimental and a relief for him. Firstly detrimental as when he blew his nose, he ’burst his sinuses which gave him a massive snotty nose bleed and the pain went almost instantly. But it was such a shock to his system that Terry almost passed out. Luckily he had a good hold on the dive boat so he could lie back and collect his thoughts on his next plan of action to get back aboard the boat and out of his diving equipment for a bit of peace and quiet for the journey back to base. His lady customer/diver had seen the state that Terry was in and felt slightly guilty for making him have to go out diving to look after her with hi scold/blocked sinus condition. But this did not stop her from clapping, laughing and exclaiming OMG I have ‘broken’ the ‘dive master’ Ha-ha -ha-ha!
It really was a good life working as a dive professional.
Looking back now Terry is quite amazed how many years of his life he wasted being a professional diver?
One thing for sure is that it was not for the money!
Maybe it was the life style?
Remember’ you are so lucky blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!