As I walk to work in the morning, alongside the ocean, I take a moment to appreciate the quiet and to breathe in the fresh sea air. It’s such a privilege to be spending time in such a remote and beautiful place. As I pause to reflect an osprey passes by me, gracefully dipping into the ocean and scooping up a fish, before proceeding to the nearest electric post to enjoy its meal. What a great start to the morning! I continue along the road watching the birds pass me by and iguanas scurry into the bushes! It really is so amazing to be surrounded by all this nature.
I reach the dive center and perform the necessary covid temperature and sanitising tasks, then I am greeted by Hospitality Manager, Dalmain, and his awesome breakfast! With a full tummy and raring to go, it’s 8am and I make my way over to the daily briefing with all the staff, trainees and volunteers to find out what is in store for the day.
Today we all begin the day with a beach clean… it feels like a never-ending task, but we work together and quickly clear the plastic debris that has made its way to the shore from the ocean. It feels really satisfying to do my bit to help.
Next job is to get the tanks topped off, collect all the guest’s equipment and then start loading the boats for the day. I have been tasked with assisting on an advanced open water course today so I have a briefing with my Instructor and we discuss what is needed and how I can assist her with the course.
With all the equipment and everything in place the Instructor and I greet our students for the day and head up to the classroom to go over some theory before the dives. The Instructor does the dive briefing… this dive is fish ID – one of my favourites! We jump on the boat, check everyone has everything, then head off into the blue. I help the students get ready and do buddy checks then I’m the last one into the water to make sure everyone is ok. Together we head down and are greeted straight away by an inquisitive manatee! Everyone stays still and low to the sand, as we were briefed, and the manatee graces us with five minutes of photo-taking and memories, then heads off into the blue again. We spend the rest of the dive on the colourful reef, looking at fish to identify and I help the Instructor with the student’s buoyancy when they get distracted writing on the slate! The dive comes to an end and we all head back to XTC to debrief and look through the ID books to find out what we saw. After swapping the tanks over, enjoying some lunch and with critter successfully identified, we brief again for the second dive…drift!
Everyone heads back to the boat and we check the equipment before hitting the ocean once again. After buddy checking and entering the water, I help the Instructor to keep everyone together as we descend. The current isn’t too strong, but it propels us along nicely. My job is to sit at the back of the group, making sure the students don’t pass me and help if I see any buoyancy issues. Everyone does really well and we manage to hang out with one of the areas’ biggest fish – the Tarpon. As we keep going an eagle ray glides past, followed by a few barracuda and some other southern stingrays. It’s like sitting in the best movie theatre with all these amazing critters just passing us by! Then we cruise past the rocks and see a nurse shark resting on one of the ledges and a turtle sheltering from the current. All-in-all it was an epic dive and the students have complete their drift adventure!
With everyone back on the boat we make our way back to the dive center. We unload the boat and, after a debriefing with the students, we finish washing everything and hanging it up to dry. With covid precautions we have special washing procedures to follow, so all the trainees work together to get everything disinfected, dried and put away. We have a bit of free time this afternoon to go and work on some dive theory in preparation for the exam in a few days, so all the trainees grab their bags and move to the air-conditioned classroom to cool off and swot up on physics.
Before we close up everyone completes an inventory together and makes sure all the equipment is present and correct, before tidying up, having a shower and heading upstairs. The Instructors make sure all of us are debriefed and given feedback on the day, then we “tick” off the completed DM requirements on the white board outside. It’s always very satisfying to see the progress that we are making.
6pm comes and it’s beer o’clock! It’s great to chill in the bar with some dinner and a drink, chatting with the guests and other trainees about the day and the awesome dives! There are regular BBQ nights and buffets scheduled as well. There’s a great vibe in the bar, lounging on the sofas, with the ocean in the background.
We all walk back to the house together checking over the bridge in case the crocs are sitting there again. Not tonight! I chill in my hammock, watching a bit of Netflix, before heading to bed. Roll on tomorrow for another awesome day at XTC!
GoPro @ XTC Dive Center is a PADI 5* Instructor Development Resort and 100% Project AWARE partner located in Xcalak, Mexico. We offer the full range of PADI Professional Training Courses including custom EcoPro and Dive Center Experience workshops. Come and train with us in paradise and leave here ready to teach!