becoming a scuba instructor
Fort Lauderdale Travel Blog› entry 5 of 12 › view all entries
My flight gets in fairly late at night. I figure that thereâ€™ll be a kiosk at the airport with hotel/motel listings, but I figured incorrectly. I arrive and look around, nothing. I decide Iâ€™ll take a cab and ask them for suggestions. While Iâ€™m waiting on a cab, I start talking with a guy about accomodations. Heâ€™s going to a motel: the rate is reasonable, and he says heâ€™s made a reservation in advance, so thereâ€™ll have to be someone in the office.
So we share a cab, and arrive at the motel. Unfortunately, theyâ€™ve just left a note for him that his room is unlocked. There are two beds in the room, so he says Iâ€™m welcome to one for the night. With the alternative being to get another taxi to an expensive hotel which would have a 24 hr front desk, I decide to trust my judgement. There are more good people in the world than bad, and I had approached him asking for motel info, not vice versa, so I figured Iâ€™d be safe enough. We put in our bags, and took a little walk around town, out for a drink, and back to the room. No problems, and we actually end up splitting the room for a few nights, while I look for a room for rent.
I find a room thatâ€™s not far from the school, about a 15 min walk. I have my one bathroom, and share a kitchen with the guy across the hall.
My instructor course begins. The class is really varied in backgrounds and ages, from 18 to 60-something. The majority are in their twenties. Itâ€™s been a long time now, so I donâ€™t remember all the details of the course. Weâ€™d have some classroom time, some pool work at a nearby pool (I remember the lifeguard asked me out on a date!), and a few dives. Theyâ€™re a fun group of people to hang out with. At the end of the course, we have to drive to an exam out of town, the exam is done over two days. There are a few people in our course with cars there, so we make carpooling arrangements. Day one is no problem, but the second day, when weâ€™ll be demonstrating skills in a lake, the guy driving me gets hopelessly lost. We arrive as everyone is already slipping into gear. Hurry to catch up, and get into a cold, murky lake.
The exam is now done (I got 100% on all my academic portions), and time to celebrate! Our school has a party for us out on the dive boat: what a fun night! In the days that follow, a few people leave, others take more courses (specialties). I take a couple specialities, and then wait to see if any job openings come up. A few of us drive down to the Florida Keys: theyâ€™re dropping off resumes (I canâ€™t work in the States, so Iâ€™m just along to enjoy the scenery). We celebrate Halloween down in Key West, what a blast! I get a job interview for a cruise ship in Miami: one of the trainers at the school that Iâ€™ve gotten to be friends with gives me a lift on his motorbike, as he lives in Miami. Donâ€™t get it, they decide to hire back an old staff member. My finances are starting to dwindle, I head out to Fort Meyers to spend a bit of time with a friend of mine from the course. Theyâ€™ve got a guest apartment, which is great, and a pool. Still nothing coming up in terms of job postings, so I have to make a move, before Iâ€™m stuck heading back to Canada for the winter. I decide Iâ€™ll fly some place to look for work.
Cayman seems like the best option for me. Tons of dive shops: there has to be a job somewhere there! So I book a flight, and make reservations for a couple nights at the cheapest place that I could find (canâ€™t remember the name of it, but at $60/night, itâ€™s hardly on the backpacker budget!). My plan is to fly in, rent a car for a few days, and drop my resume every where that I can.
As soon as I arrive, I drop my bags off, change clothes, and start looking. On Day 2, Iâ€™m told about an opening with Red Sail Sports, at their Rum Point operation. So I drive up the meet the manager, and am offered the position. The next step is getting my working visa. Unfortunately, not so easy! I need a police clearance from Canada, and to get it, I either have to send in fingerprints and wait a month (which the job wonâ€™t wait for), or fly all the way back to Canada to get it in person, which takes one day.
In the meantime, Iâ€™ve befriended several other instructors who live in an apartment complex close to the hotel Iâ€™m at. They offer their couch until I can find a place to live. I leave pretty much everything at their place when I fly back to Canada, so that I can load up with more of my stuff to fly back with.