Jillyfish Goes Pro!

We live on such a beautiful planet, and it is wondrous to explore. However, even if you visit every part of every country on the globe, you will miss out on nearly three quarters of it unless you become a scuba diver as more than 70% of this wonderful planet is covered in water. So it was, 8 years ago, I took to the water and did my first PADI course, initially my open water, immediately followed by my Advanced.

Loving the colour scheme!

With my Instructor Hisham El-Sayed

 

A little pick me up from my OW and AOW instructor!

A little pick me up from my OW and AOW instructor!

I was instantly hooked and have continued to scuba dive whenever I can, completing nearly 300 dives since then in 10 different countries. About 4 years ago I was diving in the Whitsunday Islands, Australia, on a fab livaboard with a company called “Wings

My instructor was the guy on the left!

My instructor/guide was the guy on the left!

 

I just love this place!

I just love this place!

My instructor/guide asked me why I didnt take my scuba diving to a professional level. I just laughed at him and said, this is recreational diving – for fun and that I already had a profession. Little did I realise, he had planted a little seed in my brain! Then last year came a turning point in my diving when I was on a trip to Turkey – I was on a boat with loads of introductory divers.  A woman was terrified, (doesnt even even get into a pool normally) so wouldnt get off the boat and even snorkel with any of the instructors or DM’s – I had a nice chat with her, and she agreed to try it with me.  I gained her confidence and she stepped off the boat into the water with me and swam to the shore. On the way she had a panic attack – I cursed myself for even trying fearing a drowning (I did have a “noodle” handy!) so I tried my well used skills for helping a panicking woman in labour, she calmed down and continued. We reached the shore and  she placed her face in the water and swam back with me to the boat snorkelling!  She was ecstatic! So proud of herself – I got such a buzz out of helping someone achieve it! OK, so she didnt dive, but you get my drift! So I decided to take my diving to a professional level. So it is that I’m in Bali, Indonesia, taking my diving to a professional level.

I look like a real Pro eh!!!

I look like a real Pro eh!!!

I have now completed my Dive Master, it has taken me just over 6 weeks and I’m about to start my instructor training. I would like to tell you a little bit about it if you would like to read further. I did plan to go to Egypt and do my professional training with a wonderful dive school called Ocean College  I had enormous help from Jilly Healy, a fab instruct there who gave me loads of information and let me talk it through with her via facebook. Unfortunately, during the planning stage, some idiots decided to bomb a bus of South Korean tourists and threatened to attack other tourists if they did not leave. I decided I wanted to go somewhere a little more politically stable (!!) and knew I was eventually heading to Australia, so Bali was my obvious choice – Crystal Divers came highly recommended. The instructors at Crystal have been fantastic with me. They are so professional and helpful and I am indebted to them for sharing their knowledge and experience

Here is the lovely Robin, he has been such a great source of support for me - thanks Robin!

Here is the lovely Robin, he has been such a great source of support for me – thanks Robin!

Next is Andre who has been a real gem. Best quote from him "Jill, you are too good at being bad....." Hmmmm!

Next is Andre who has been a real gem. Best quote from him “Jill, you are too good at being bad…..” Hmmmm!

The adorable Magnus!

The adorable Magnus! (I told you to smile for the camera!)

The lovely Elsa - a fabulous teacher!

The lovely Else – a fabulous teacher!

Ive always thought it is magical underwater - now with Toto - it literally is!

Ive always thought it is magical underwater – now with Toto – it literally is!

Magic tricks underwater - honest!

Magic tricks underwater – honest!

You can see the lovely Amin here (bottom right), a very experienced, gentle, kind and fun instructor!

You can see the lovely Amin here (bottom right), a very experienced, gentle, kind and fun instructor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crystals is a career development centre, which means that as well as being a busy dive centre for people who travel through and want to go fun diving and those who want to start diving, they are also a centre for people who want to train as dive masters and beyond. There are many dive courses you can take, but Dive Master is the first rung on the professional ladder. There are 2 very experienced Dive Masters here at Crystal – you can see Gusde in the previous photo between Lumi and I, Aan is at the top, and here he is again with a photo I love!

Here is a lesson from Aan in how to pose for an underwater photo!

Here is a lesson from Aan in how to pose for an underwater photo!

Alongside me were 4 other trainees, some of which you have already met if you follow my blog

Here she is again - I miss this lovely FInnish lass!

Here is Lumi again – I miss this lovely FInnish lass!

Craig from Glasgow - I have to translate for him as no one understands him!!

Craig from Glasgow – I have to translate for him as no one understands him!!

Roberto and Craig

Roberto and Craig

You have already met Sonia in other posts - here she is with me in the pool - this is a sign for "student"

You have already met Sonia in other posts – here she is with me in the pool – this is a sign for “student”

We all look after one another - here Lumi is snuggled in my bed one evening when she needed a bit of Mummy Beckett TLC!

We all look after one another – here Lumi is snuggled in my bed one evening when she needed a bit of Mummy Beckett TLC!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It isnt a course as such in terms of set dates and times, and people come and go at different times and study at their own pace, some full time like me and others very part time over many many months. The diving is beautiful around Bali, and as well as making new friends on the surface, I’ve seen many beautiful things under the sea

My favourite - Mantas!

My favourite – Mantas!

Love turtles too

Love turtles too

Morays are also a treat!

Morays are also a treat!

As are cuttle fish

As are cuttle fish

even jelly fish are kinda cool!

even jelly fish are kinda cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I even got to dive with my gorgeous daughter who surprised me with a visit!

The beautiful Francesca Beckett - future DM and Instructor!

The beautiful Francesca Beckett – future DM and Instructor!

 

and of course, Im always happy when Im out on a boat!

and of course, Im always happy when Im out on a boat!

Practicing my Dive Goddess pose!

Practicing my Dive Goddess pose!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is always someone around to talk to, go for dinner with, and we have had some fantastic times

My mate Nicky, superb new instructor who is so supportive, and my new friend!

My mate Nicky, superb new instructor who is so supportive, and my new friend!

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Crap picture of a great night out with Lumi, Arne, Patrick and Nicky

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DSCF8703

 

I guess one of the biggest fears I had about my training was the stamina tests – just the title sends shivers down my spine. There were 5 in total, and you get scored between 1-5, and you have to get a minimum of 15 points to pass. I have a big birthday this year (thanks for thinking it was the big 40, you did…..didnt you?) and I was completing these tests with others who were 20-30 years younger than me, so feeling a little under pressure – not from them, but definitely putting the pressure on myself! I started with the 15 minute tread water skill, the final 2 mins being with your hands above your head. I took this very seriously, and at minute 13 clasped my hands, holding them on top of my head which immediately meant I sunk and had to kick even harder. I found it difficult to breathe as I I had closed off my chest by bringing my arms together, I really didnt think I could make it! Elsa told me all I had to do was hold my hands above the level of my head- thanks for that Elsa – I got a score of 5! Next came the 100 metre tired diver tow – I thought this would be easy. But don’t forget, I was against the clock here and but for the second 50 metres I made such a noise about it, dragging Roberto around the pool in full scuba gear, nearly drowning him along the way. I made such a  noise that it sounded something that Meg Ryan is famous for! I was glad to finish, and scored a 3 in this. Next came a 400 metre swim, I really don’t think I have swam this far without holding onto the side to take a rest, but I managed it, narrowly missing a score of 2, gaining a 1. The 4th skill was equipment exchange – in buddy pairs with only 5 mins to plan – underwater, and using just one single regulator (breathing mouthpiece) between us, we had to swap all our equipment except our clothes (thank goodness for that!), and weight belts. To gain a score of 5 you had to make it look super easy, and Roberto and I approached it in true buddy style and got our top score of 5! Just one stamina test left – and if you have been following you will realise I just needed one point.  This was the 800m swim with mask, snorkel and fins, without using your hands. I got my head down and went for it. Harder than it sounds I will say, but I knew I didnt have to break any Olympic records here, just finish in my own good time to get a 1. I was delighted to gain a score of 3 – yay! There have been many other skills to complete, including surveying a dive site and making an underwater map.

Craig and Roberto looking very professional

Craig and Roberto looking very professional

We have also had to demonstrate we can rescue non-breathing divers (as we had to in our rescue diver course before we started this), show how to set up a dive trip, including safety for a deep dive (setting drop tanks at 5 metres for example), demonstrate our knot skills, give dive briefings, lead dives, demonstrate set up search and recovery skills. Of course, we also have to show we can demonstrate the diver skills people learn on their initial open water skills – doing each skill in a slow deliberate manner in true “Thunderbirds” style.

Lift those fins out of the water!!

Lift those fins out of the water!!

Heres how you breathe!!

Heres how you breathe!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That just leaves the theory, culminating on my last day of being a DMT in 2 exams. On the morning, I opened my manual and felt that al the knowledge had evaporated so I approached the exam tentatively as there is a 75% pass mark. Ive found that my confidence level has varied so much during my training, not sure why, just being a mature student I guess? I neednt have worried, I gained 92% and 95%, I was now a Dive Master. This just left one more challenge – the shot challenge. Lumi had set the limit at 8 shots (each taken with one of the instructors). Roberto and I started and finished our DM together so it was fitting that we took this challenge together too. I managed to set a new record of 14, not something I’m sure I should be proud of!

Got a "bit of a dab on" after 14 shots!

Got a “bit of a dab on” after 14 shots!

My life in Bali has existed within a little bubble and I’m rarely alone, having finished my DM, I decided I needed some time alone, so I decided to take myself back to Gilli Air.  I also wanted to prepare myself for the instructor training which starts very soon. This is a very intense course, culminating in 3 days of exams, I wanted to be prepared and make my way through the work book and get my knowledge level up to scratch. I spent good quality time studying on Gilli Air, a piece of tropical paradise! It wasn’t easy sitting there with my broken heart watching all the couples romantically snuggling up together, but I got through it somehow – treated myself during the evenings to cocktails as I watched the sun set a blistering red and the new moon rising! I decided that all work and no play leaves Jill a dull lass. I also felt that I couldnt be there without seeing what the diving was like, so popped into the water and had a spectacular dive with Oceans 5 seeing 3 sharks, one of them pregnant, 2 turtles, numerous nudibrahchs, moray, scorpian fish, bat fish etc etc etc. It was nice being a guest and being looked after by another dive master I must say! Im now back in Sanur, and about to start my instructor training in the morning. I finished off my respite with a spot of relaxation in a raft

Restful preparation!

Restful preparation!

Once I have finished all my dive training, I am heading to Oz.  I have been looking at flights, they are so expensive……but hang on, why fly there when I can sail to Australia……….another adventure coming up!

 

 

 

 

About Jill Beckett

I hope you enjoy reading this blog, it is written purely for entertainment value! Its just a way of keeping a journal for myself as well as staying in touch with family and friends around the world. I try to "live life to the full", "think out of the box" and any other cliches for making the best of it that you can think of! I started writing this blog in 2011 when I gave up my job in the UK as a midwife ("The Baby Catcher"!) and began circumnavigating Britain in a 45ft yacht and trained as a skipper prior to going to Australia to live for a year. I then returned to the UK for 17 months where my feet became itchy once more and I moved to Bali to take my scuba diving to a professional level ("Jilly Fish") and trained as a Dive Master, then a Dive Instructor. I then sailed from Malaysia, through Indonesia diving along the way eventually making it to Townsville, Queensland, in October 2014, a 4000+mile trip, on a 50ft Catamaran! Following this I spent a wonderful year living in Australia, working on a casual basis as a baby catcher (midwife), and as "Jillyfish (dive Instructor) on the Great Barrier Reef as well as sailing as much as I can on a beautiful 44.7 Beneteau called Shazam. My newest chapter finds me back in the UK, living on the South West Coast in gorgeous Devon! Drop me a message, I would love to hear from you and what you think of my blog! Mwah x
This entry was posted in Dive Master, Life in Bali, Scuba diving. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Jillyfish Goes Pro!

  1. Pingback: Bali: Surprises, Safety and Sanur | Cheskie's Gap Life

  2. Kimberley says:

    Thanks for a delightful blog Jill! I took my dive master in Rhodes and it is great to hear all about it again! I recall the treading water exercise, oh what a joy that was!
    Didn’t leave the tanks at 5m though, something I need to have a go at really .
    I’ve been diving now on and off for over ten years, and it was wonderful to hear about someone else’s lust for it!
    I hope Australia is treating you well. I hope in the future to also take my padi instructor courses (I’m bsac trained by heart), and I look forward to future dives with you.
    Do let me know if you ever want a place to stay back here in Brighton xxx

  3. Tracey Dermody says:

    Hi Jill
    Always knew you were an amazing person from the moment I meet you
    and knew you had ball of steel( so to speak)
    You are an inspiration to people and myself,
    I’ve loving reading about your wonderful adventure
    some trouble (hurdles) along the way, but nothing
    will knock you down for good, keep it up
    take care and continue enjoying life
    Love Tracey xxx

    • Jill Beckett says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely words Tracey. I often think about you, remember how lovely it was to work with you, how in tune you were to a labouring woman’s needs and those of the attending midwife!
      So lovely of you to get in touch, thank you x

  4. Sandra says:

    Fascinating stuff Jill. Kim, my daughter, is also a wonderful instructor and managed to get me snorkelling while we were in Bali. I can understand how that lady felt! Not sure anyone would ever get me scuba diving in open water, I freaked out twice in a swimming pool for goodness sake! I’m a hopeless case!

    It’s fabulous to see the laughter in your eyes and the happiness in your smile. Your broken heart will mend, and it will be ready for someone magical who is able to share the loves in your life.

    Sailing to Australia? Why of course, I can completely see that happening. What a marvellous adventure your life is – you are amazing.

    Arohanui
    Sandra & Barry
    xx

    • Jill Beckett says:

      Thank you for your lovely comments Sandra. I can imagine that Kim is a wonderful instructor, certainly if she has inherited your genes thats for sure! Scuba diving isnt for everyone, but if someone wants to try it but is very fearful, I can imagine it is a great feeling to be the one who has facilitated that.

      Many of the skills we use in midwifery are completely transferrable here – I certainly used techniques which help when a woman is panicking in labour during that small swim in Turkey, for she had a panic attack in the water too!

      I know my broken heart will mend, it is already, but some things (like being alone a beautiful island watching loved up couples!) open the cracks up a little – I will get there.

      Yes, Im going to sail to Australia – another adventure!

      Much love,

      Jill x

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