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Instructor Evaluation at Unica Diving Elba
11 Sep 2018
by Nadine Hipp, Ulrich Hipp & Robin Zöller

Now the diving instructor evaluation is really around the corner! When our second examiner Flo and his friend Edith arrive in Elba at the end of August, we realize that things are getting serious now. The coming week will show if our efforts have been worthwhile and if we ourselves will soon be proud VIT diving instructors.

About two months earlier, in the beginning of July and quite hot, two of us diving instructor candidates, Nadine and Uli, arrived in the small, sleepy little town of Magazzini. In the bay directly in front of Magazzini is the floating diving base Unica Diving Elba by Genny and Werner. It's a motor yacht that has everything on board, from the size 3XS fins to the compressor. Robin, the third instructor candidate, had been on site for two weeks at this time. It was a nice first evening in Magazzini, which we concluded in Italian with tagliata, fritto misto, pizza and good wine in the restaurant Mare. We already knew Genny and Werner from earlier, now we were looking forward to the next time not only as guests but as employees of the dive center. And of course we were looking forward to learning a lot.

There was enough to learn. To be able to drive properly with the tender to pick up the guests from the jetty in Magazzini, for example. Or mooring the ship, that's more complicated than parking a car. We also learned how to mend the tender, Uli had to do it at least once a week. We also needed sailor's knots. Robin did not know until the end how a palstek works, but that was not part of the diving instructor evaluation. Except for the knots, Robin was a huge help. He knew his way around, since he had worked here in the last year. So Nadine and Uli were grateful that Robin could quickly and easily explain what to do. Nadine, meanwhile, became a meticulous bottle filler, she still lacked a “μ” until the bottles were full, and extensive research revealed that a “μ” should be around 2.5 bar - in short, it took about one week to get started as a team, and from the second week, all the tasks were routine, and it started to be really fun.

We did two diving trips daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Mostly we went to Scoglietto, which offers several beautiful dive sites. Much fish is always there, barracuda swarms, groupers, morays and sometimes eagle rays come by. With the guests with diving experience we made guided dives, so we could already collect a lot of experience with guiding. But most of the challenges were the guests, who did a course or a try scuba dive with us. There was everything from the natural talent to the movement legastener. The theoretical basics we taught our pupils during the crossing to the dive sites. So we were often able to demonstrate how to blow out the mask and why Werner has no problems with hair in the mask. At noon between the tripss Genny always made us something good to eat. Incidentally, we miss the food very much. The spaghetti Aglio Olio by Genny are a dream and according to Werner, by the way, she makes that meal too rarely. We can only agree with that, Aglio Olio was far too rare.

And then there were these Swiss guests! We have their vocabulary, partly wanted, partly unintentionally, taken over at some point (certainly most of the time still wrong). The compressed air cylinder was now called “Fläschli”, every yacht was a “Bötli” and all that was good was now “supprrr”. But to express underwater that we found something “supprrr”, a Swiss guest brought us a brilliant idea. He said, it would be very clear, you just have to pretend that you rip off your shirt like the “Supprrrmähn” (Superman) when he changes clothes. Since then, every guest of Unica Diving knows how to show that you can find something “supprrr” under water. A new underwater sign was invented, of course we also found it “supprrr”.

In addition to the whole day, we also had to internalize the diving theory. That's why we had a class at the campsite at least once a week, where Nadine and Uli pitched their three tents. Not infrequently, the learning evenings ended with Robin not coming back to “Bötli” but sleeping in “Hängemättli” (hammock). The weather was only to blame for the first time.

So two months on Elba passed incredibly fast and suddenly there was the evaluation week. We were already a little bit stressed, as someone had a very exact look on our guided dives. Uli took the cake when he jumped as dive guide as the first of the platform into the water, but forgot to put on his fins. Everyone else thought it was funny. On the third day the weather was not good, with hard wind and wave we could not make diving trips. Flo and Werner thought it would be the perfect day for the theory test and our lectures. Well, we wanted to delay the theory, but somehow they were right. So get to the theory test. During question 3, Genny underwent a stress test: "Do you want pesto or lentil soup for lunch?" It did not really matter to us at the moment, we were just somewhere in the classification of personal protective equipment. However, Genny did care, so we debated the advantages and disadvantages of pesto over lentil soup for a while. We all passed the theory and there was then pesto. In the next few days the weather got better and we could show Werner and Flo during the OWD courses what we had learned. Of course, it was never completely perfect, but at least so good that everbody of us passed. And how do you tell someone that he passed the instructor evaluation? According to Flo and Werner under water, of course. During a night dive, which was supposed to be one of our examination dives, Flo and Werner handed the certifications over to us, in a watertight capsule, of course. We would not have expected that.

Thank you for the great time! Thank you very much for your support, above all to Genny, the good soul of Unica Diving Elba.