DIVING, INTERNING, LEARNING ON ALIWAL SHOAL WITH ADC
Let me introduce myself briefly. My name is Courtenay Ford, and I am the new intern at Aliwal Dive Centre and Lodge. My diving adventures started in December, where I did my Open Water with Coral Divers in Sodwana , and I finished my qualifying dives in Kenya and after moving back to Scottburgh, ADC was recommended to me. I approached them and was offered an internship for Dive Master.
Our Head Instructor, Riaan, has said to me, “If you can dive here, you can dive anywhere”, and he was not kidding. Everyday is a school day. Diving the shoal is not for the faint hearted. Riaan explained, to dive in current, you need to keep yourself behind the DM so he can still see you, as well as navigate to slow the dive down. It helps to anchor yourself carefully, keeping your DM in your sights for a few meters, and then letting go to drift for a few, then anchoring yourself again.
Aliwal has a hugely diverse ecosystem and is teeming with marine life. I was quite surprised by the variety of fish I saw when I first started diving here. Now the winter season is coming in, we are seeing all our Ragged Tooth Sharks returning, along with the whales and of course, the annual sardine run. Its been a wonderful and totally amazing opportunity to dive this reef, I’ve been exposed to diving with the Raggies, Reef sharks, the Oceanic black tips, the occasional Guitar shark, dolphins, the most beautiful little Nudibranchs, its really like no where else in the world!
As for being ADC’s latest intern, I don’t think I could have chosen a better place with better people to be around. The amount of knowledge and experience I gain every time I step onto that boat, has no limit, and no substitute. Everybody that is a part of the ADC family has been so wonderful to work with, they are quick and willing to help, as well as be a friend in need, may that be on the sea floor or in the dive centre.
As an intern, I help carry cylinders, wash the cars, boats, and equipment. I help get gear together for clients, and help them kit up when required, as well as helping out with grocery shopping and general chores around the centre.
In order to be a good Dive Master, you need to be confident in all aspects of what you will be doing. There is no better place to learn, than on Aliwal Shoal.