Just. Go. Diving. (And How Last Night, We Betrayed Our Cornerstone Value)
Apology time. Last night, we made a massive mistake. Well, at least, I made a massive mistake. Grab a chair…
Yesterday, we started a GUE Technical Diver 1 course. For the last two days, we’ve had friends and family from all over North America come into town, and we’ve been excited. Guy came from British Colombia, Andrea came from Seattle, Orie flew all the way from Florida, and our favorite Midwest, “I’m easy”, Cali-boy dive buddy, David, showed up from Orange County. To top it all off, my old friend and Fundamentals partner, Brian (who crushed that course while I flailed my way through it) was back in Alaska to take Tech 1. Like I said, exciting.
Which is why I completely whiffed when I only recognized those folks. Words can’t describe how much we appreciate them, but there were other people in the shop that night that deserved a piece of that pie. Yesterday was an awesome day, but I missed the forest for the Tech 1-trees.
“Just. Go. Diving.” is the cornerstone of Dive Alaska. We love diving, and we love diving in Alaska. We love sharing that with local and visiting divers alike, while showcasing the absolutely stunning underwater world that Alaska has to offer. It’s kinda like our own “hakuna matata” and you’ll find it on the back of all our t-shirts at the shop. It doesn’t discriminate what “type” of diving you’re doing, and there isn’t much talking involved (after all, can’t talk underwater). Just. Go. Diving.
So, let’s take a look at where I dropped the ball. These are all “Sins of Omission” and this is my penance.
- We had an Open Water class start last night as well. While experienced and tested divers launched into Tech 1 in our warehouse, we had six excited students in the classroom, from all different backgrounds, imagining their first breath underwater. If you’re a diver… remember yours? Howza’bout the moment of weightlessness when you felt like you were flying? Or that first moment you truly fell in love with diving… that’s worth shouting from the rooftops.
I had six new potential dive buddies sitting in the classroom across from my office, and I didn’t mention them. I went in, I told a couple diving stories when Alex asked, I could see that all of them had that genuine enthusiasm that comes with approaching diving for the very first time… and I didn’t mention it.
- Alex was alternating teaching said Open Water class with a PADI instructor-candidate. So, while we had six people excited to learn how to dive, we also had an individual in the front of the classroom who is still so excited about diving, he wants to share that enthusiasm and joy with others. Diving isn’t new to him, but he’s still so excited about diving, he’s putting in hard work, time, and energy to learn how to teach people to participate in something that he’s passionate about.
This is one of the best moments in a dive instructor’s career. Picture it: years after you teach someone how to scuba dive, you get to sit in a classroom and watch them in front of their own class, training their own group of new divers… annnnd I didn’t mention it.
- By the same token, while the student in the Tech 1 class deserve all the praise in the world for growing their diving careers, the same recognition should be given to instructors pushing their capabilities as dive trainers, and by extension, growing the pool of dive buddies surrounding themselves.
Dave Watson came all the way from Orange County to Alaska, in the middle of one of the coldest winters in a long time, to intern for Guy’s Tech 1 course. He didn’t have to, but he wants to be the best instructor he can be, so he did… annnnd I didn’t mention it.
First off, having a Tech 1 course and an Open Water course start on the same night, and watching Dive Alaska clip along like it was an every-day occurrence was really cool to see. All the credit in the world goes to the staff at Dive Alaska. Jeremy, Nick, Alex, and Kelsey are all incredible, as are our DM’s and Instructors.
Second… Good Lord, it is still so, so cold here.
And last? We’ve got a really neat group of humans here, and every day, we have the opportunity to share our love of Alaska’s water and the sport of diving with everyone who comes through the door. If you’ve never done scuba before? Awesome, let’s go diving. If you’re a TDI tech diver who loves hunting for bottles? Sweet, let’s go diving (shout-out the Bottle King of Tacoma). Hardcore sidemount diver? Even you, let’s go diving.
If you haven’t caught the drift, we really love diving, and can get pretty excited about it. It was genuinely electric to see so many different people at every level of their diving career, in the same place, getting ‘sum scuba. I’d ask for forgiveness for neglecting to mention that last night, but I’d rather…
Just. Go. Diving.