Welcome to our latest blog post, featuring one of our amazing crew from Lady Elliot Island. This is Andrea, better known as “Andy”, one of our dive instructors who has been with the business for the last twelve months with an unmatched enthusiasm for her job and the Great Barrier Reef!
So, what does a day in the life of a dive instructor look like? Well, let’s dive in from Andy’s perspective!
A general working day for me begins with a six am wakeup in a historic lighthouse keepers’ cottage built in the 1920’s! I then make my way over to the resort for breakfast before getting organised for my first dive of the day at 7am. As a team, we check in our divers and get them geared up and ready to descend into the deep blue. Once everyone is ticked off with their equipment, we load up our dive truck and make our way over to meet up with our boat “Reef Lady”. After entering the water, we descend a mooring line (depending on the dive site) and see what the Southern Great Barrier Reef has to offer! On most dives, we will explore the Manta ray cleaning stations and take in the vibrant and healthy coral reef surrounding Lady Elliot Island. If I see anything particularly interesting, I will tap on my tank with my “tank tapper” to get everyone’s attention and direct them to what I have just seen. Throughout the dive, I check on my diver’s air using hand signals and when time is up, we complete a safety stop before making our way to the surface.
Once we are back at the dive shop the other staff and I will sort and wash gear before I head over to begin a pool session at around 10am. I love taking new guests on their first Scuba session and helping anyone with nerves to re-gain confidence in the water once more. In the pool, we go through a range of underwater signals and procedures to ensure everyone is A-Okay with what they are doing. Once the pool session finishes it is time for lunch with the team before the next dive of the day! Our guests meet at the dive shop for the 1pm dive during which we often head back to the Manta cleaning stations, explore the shallower areas of the reef or search for the hidden treasure chest inside the severance shipwreck. We return from this dive at around 3pm at which time I will generally spend the afternoon helping to wash and sort gear, tidy the dive shop, and dive truck, and speak with customers about their diving or snorkelling abilities and experiences before heading home to relax, snorkel or watch the often-spectacular sunsets.
My favourite aspect of my job is seeing the expressions on people faces when they experience our underwater world here on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. It’s also amazing to watch new divers become comfortable in a completely new and somewhat unknown environment to them!
During my time working on the island, I have also been fortunate to have some incredible wildlife encounters! One of which involved an interaction with a manta ray which passed just over my head as if it was readying itself to give me a high five. The extremely exciting thing about this interaction was that the animal had never been photographed before, so I was able to name it in the Project Manta database. Another amazing experience was a guest that I took diving after multiple bad experiences who was so grateful for their experience at Lady Elliot that they were almost in tears.
There are also a handful of other amazing things I have witnessed, like a juvenile Whale Shark, Humpback whales at “blowhole” dive site, our friendly local dolphin “Bubbles” and when it is “Manta Soup”! Don’t be concerned – this simply means that there were so many Manta rays in the water it was basically a soup of them! Every day I look forward to getting into the water because you never know what you are going to see! Thanks for reading