Working in paradise

Another person’s misfortune was my ticket into job at a dream dive destination on a island in the Mozambique Channel.

If you read my introductory article you will know that I am a slave to diving. Warm seawater reefs are my favourite. Once the little monster took total control of my life, I quit my well-paying cushy job which had no job satisfaction and became a PADI Instructor, working for a 5 star IDC in Pretoria for half the pay. I am relatively sure that one of my dream destinations on my bucket dive list was Bazaruto Island.

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On the way to the dive site.

So one morning my boss waltzed in with a “is your passport in date?” question in my direction. Yeeeesss? I answered hesitantly with a frown. Him being all friendly and asking about my passport, I did not need a fortune-teller to predict hard work in my immediate future. But here was the surprise! The Dive master at the Indigo Bay resort (5 star luxury to say the least) has injured himself while climbing onto the dive boat (rookie mistake I would say) and they needed a substitute for a month. Definite yes!

How do you pack for a month on an island? Carefully. Because it is a small chartered plane, you are limited on luggage weight. Just the necessities and one or two more decent pieces of clothing were packed. The all-important dive gear was trimmed to the bone to fit in. With a hollow stomach I set off on my adventure.

Arriving at Indigo Bay’s private airfield, I got treated as a guest. But I could not play the part for too long and after a nice arrival cocktail I was taken to the staff quarters. I was pleasantly surprised by the staff amenities with the layout well thought out. Each person has their own bedroom area, satellite TV and a shared en-suite bathroom. The whole complex is laid out in a U-form with BBQ facilities and a pool. All areas are connected by wooden walkways and a brisk 5 min walk got me to the dive centre on the beach each day.

Indigo Bay is the dive destination for travelers from all over the world. They get treated like royalty (because they pay for it) and experience “Africa” in the only way they know – 5 star. If you know scuba diving, you will know that you need not be too fancy about the whole thing. It is an adventure sport after all. With this being my first experience as Dive Instructor at a luxury resort, it was a steep learning curve on how to treat the rich pampered persons – like they are swaddled in cotton wool. Some have the hidden muddy streak you need for adventure sports, but others are used to the Mediterranean where everything gets done for you. You only have to breathe.

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School of juvenile Coachman.

But this instructor is a little bit more hands off and a bit more get your own hands on. I always assume that if it is my life, I would like to check that everything is in working order before I hit the water – but that is me. Luckily most of the visitors only do one or two dives, because it is quite a trip to get to the site and scuba is work, even if everything is done for you. They would much rather lie on the beach, working on an even brown body.

Luckily you cannot dive the whole day, even if you would like to. Returning in the mid-afternoon from the trip all involved are exhausted and you get to relax after minding the gear and staff. The water sports area has its own bar with a view you only get at tropical sea destinations. Watching the brilliant sunset shading from light pinkish-blue to darker orange and red to the dark indigo of late evening is something I will not forget easily.

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The plus side of this is that I got to meet nice people from all over the world, dive some of the best spots around Bazaruto Island and get paid for it. The smiles on newly qualified divers’ faces are the reason I became an instructor, it never gets old.

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