Hi all, my name is Jörg and I´m from Austria. Let me tell you a bit about my diving experience…
When I first tried scuba diving...
Around 10 years ago, I took my first breath underwater at the red sea in Hurghada, Egypt. Since then I have always wanted to become a Scuba diver.
Unfortunately, my priorities changed when I started a new chapter in my life and began to travel around the world for work. I had almost forgotten about Scuba diving.
I´m a mechanical engineer who has the privilege to travel around the world getting paid doing what I like. I oversee site management and technical support during the installation of complete grinding plants (mainly for cement production). For most projects I have to stay a bit longer in one place, but that gives me the chance to see a bit more of the different countries and cultures. I love to explore, go to different places, see how people live, and I love trying different cuisines. I don´t always like everything but at least I try everything.
Same for Australia. I arrived late October 2019 to work on a project for my Austrian/German company in North Shore, Geelong. Knowing that the project would last for at least 8-10 months, I looked into the possibilities to learn scuba diving before I started my journey. With the option to do the OW-course on the weekends, I went to ADI to have a chat with Steve. I was warmly welcomed as I took my first step into the shop and I did not regret it.
The Beginning of my Scuba Adventure...
We booked in for the OW-course with Ting Ting Lee as my instructor. With a little help from Prue, Divemaster-Assistant Instructor and Aza, Divemaster in Training, they easily handled our group of 10 people starting their dive-journey.
After the course, we were invited to join the club and connect to the Facebook dive buddies group.
Besides the benefits of getting free gear hire at the beginning and a discount on equipment purchased in the shop, you get to be a member of a really active dive club, which I can only agree. Also, the club night every 2nd Friday of the month, where you bring your own drinks and you´re invited to a BBQ and a catch up with all the amazing people the club has to offer. Members from a huge range of different dive levels all come together to have fun and talk about the one thing they all love and have in common.
Now, back to the Facebook dive buddies group I mentioned before, a lot of things are going on there. Arranged dives from the club, e.g. “Great Victorian Fish Count”, “Dive Against Debris” clean up dives, link for boat dives, and people can just post or jump in the posts of others to arrange dives wherever they feel like going out.
Then I met my favourite dive buddy...
After the completion of my OW, I saw a post for a midweek late arvo (yes I also learned the Aussie slang) shore dive at the Ozone Wreck 1925 in Indented Head. Because it´s called a “Wreck” I was not too sure and contacted Ting. “Go for it, go for it. It´s a shallow shore dive…” that´s all she said and so I was in.
I met Rachel, Divemaster-Assistant Instructor who is very passionate about underwater photography. If you´re interested in underwater photography, why not jump on the PADI Digital UW Photographer Course with Rachel. Besides the standard syllabus, she will teach you more skills beyond that and make sure you enjoy and improve your underwater photography.
I´ve not only found a really good buddy in Rachel, we also became friends and I enjoyed every dive with her…hope Rachel thinks the same too.
When I realised I can't stop...
After a few good shore dives, I wanted to improve my skills and decided to do the AOW and the Enriched Air Nitrox. Then Covid19 came, we weren´t able to dive for around 6 weeks. But once the restrictions were eased, I was in the water again.
I was really interested in boat dives and given the number of ship wrecks around here, it didn´t take long before I continued with the Wreck Diver Course. J4 26m Submarine or ex HMAS Canberra are just 2 of many shipwrecks around, some wrecks are deeper…so it was clear for me…I have to do the Deep Diver Course. But first I did the Rescue Diver Course, which was so far the most rewarding course I´ve done. It made me a safer diver, and this is all that counts. Go out, have fun and come back without putting yourself or others at risk. Dive safe. Dive often.
Before my Deep Diver Course, Steve was running the Equipment Specialist Course, which was a classroom only course in which you are prepared for the basic scuba equipment maintenance, care and adjustments you may encounter from day to day. In addition, you learn interesting background information about how your gear works, how it’s repaired and other information that helps you with your equipment investment.
Now it was time for my Deep Diver. It was a really good experience going down to a shipwreck lying on the ground around 39m deep (SS Rotomahana). It was worth it!
Now I set myself a new goal to become a Master Scuba Diver, which is the highest non-professional level rating I can reach. Only 1 more specialty was missing, it was planned to be the Search and Recovery Diver. But instead, I completed the Dive Against Debris Diver first. Our planet Earth is offering a lot to us. It is my choice to make every dive a possible clean-up dive, I try to give something back to Mother Nature and all the creatures living on Earth.
Done, I became a Master Scuba Diver. But that doesn’t mean I will stop now. I´m still interested in continuing my dive education, to improve my skills and become a better diver with every dive I can log.
And I was determined to kick goals...
It has now been a year since I started my OW and I will quickly summarise, what I´ve achieved in this time:
OW, AOW, Enriched Air Nitrox, Wreck Diver, Rescue Diver, Equipment Specialist, Deep Diver, Dive Against Debris Diver, Master Scuba Diver, Search & Recovery.
I´ve done 127 dives so far. 98 shore dives which included 21 night dives…I forgot, I´m totally into night dives…it´s another world after sun sets and it´s dark. 29 boat dives which included 13 wrecks, 7 dives deeper than 30m and 11 dives on Nitrox.
I was encouraged to do my 100th dive naked…so I did a 24 minutes dive in a chilly 14.4°C water.
I won the Autumn Nemo Challenge with the most number of different dive buddies (10), the Winter Warrior with the most dive time (33.4 hours), the Pumpkin Carving Competition with my Terminator Pumpkin. I´ll be back…to compete for the Aquaman title.
Then I tell myself it's never enough...
I´m totally interested in Tec-diving, so I got myself an early x-mas present, sidemount gear it is. Currently working on the basics of sidemount diving and getting used to my new gear, but I can already tell you one thing… I love it.
And of course, the special bunch of people who kept me coming back...
Special Thanks to ADI Stephen & Kathleen Mabbett, my instructor Ting Ting Lee and best buddy Rachel Price. Thanks to Colin Moore aka Heidi, who was on most of my course dives and always gives good and useful tips about everything, including the weather forecast. Thanks to Bruce Annear and Ian Wheatley, Prue Shepherd, Aza Idoumbin, Corinne Telford, Cenzo Occhipinti, Rohan Snell, Evren Velisha and to all my buddies. Dive safe. Dive often.
See ya, Jörg