A post by Niki, one of our diving instructors.
As a scuba diving instructor you are introduced to many extraordinary experiences, including travel, adventure, many wonderful hours underwater and of course the great variety of genuinely real and fun people you meet along the way. These are the people that share these experiences with you and whether they stay in your life for only a couple of days or a whole lot of years, they are the ones who help you through the days where you road gets bumpy and the ones creating precious memories with you.
To ask of an instructor to choose one student in particular is a difficult task, for every course is a different experience and each and every student brings with a different perspective and unique memories. Therefore, I have chosen to tell you more about some of my favourite students in a series of blog posts:
Lucky is a particularly special one in the regard that he became one of my great friends. He is not superman (although he might think he is), but a bit more like Garfield with a jetpack and your fins. Not only did he continue to become a phenomenal diver and Divemaster himself, he was also the lead caster for new weights, the service technician, the executive salesman, the on-site security guard and the leading driver at Geko Divers, which lead to him also being the reason for the many dents in the shop’s bakkie. Above all his professional duties, he also provided for great nights drinking a captain’s drink on the dunes of Sodwana and keeping you company on long drives after final exams.
I met lucky in 2011 on a trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, where we would train a group of adventure gap-year students. The training was done at the ATKV Drakensville resort and Sterkfontein Dam. After completing the initial theory and pool sessions successfully, Lucky and I, including some other guys, couldn’t help accidentally celebrating that night… with the other instructors’ (including Dawie’s) rum and brandy. Needless to say, the next day was a long one for the team!
A couple of days later we arrived at the dam. The weather was dreadful, with showers of rain and heavy wind, and above all, the water temperature was 15ºC. On the last qualifying dive, Lucky decided to go for a swim and magically ending up looking after the buoy-line where it was anchored. After realising he was gone, we went looking for him and found him quietly sitting in the freezing water, looking after a rock…
Another great Lucky-moment was on a deep dive in Mozambique, to Pinnacles in Ponta D’Ouro. It was a fantastic dive, with a hammerhead and a grey shark, including two rays dancing around us in a spiral all the way to the top, accompanying us on our deep stops. Lucky was to stay about 10m above the rest of us to conserve air and for other logistical purposes. After our bottom time was up, we realised that Lucky had drifted down to our depth and with a potato-like expression and crossed eyes it was clear that he was seeing pink elephants! We signaled to him that it is time to ascend, but Lucky was dreaming away his sorrows, rescuing a damsel in distress, but quickly he realised that happy-go-lucky must for the moment become go-happy-Lucky!
Lucky has become a legend. Not only have I had the privilege of teaching and diving with him, but also did we attend the same university for 2 years, where he completed a post-graduate degree in some or other corporate things involving people and money (big people stuff).
What a legend, Lucky! I wish you all the best and cheers to many great memories, both underwater and above!