Finally, all Open water, Advanced, and Rescue course assists done, fun dive lead done, instructors hunted down for those signatures you forgot to get weeks ago, Emergency Action Plan printed off at the last minute, dreaded exams done and the last bit of your paperwork signed off by your mentor….
You’re a PADI Divemaster!
But wait, one more test….
The Snorkel Test!
No one can officially call themselves a Divemaster until they have completed this final task. Just like a cheesy American film with a sorority initiation, the snorkel test is a Divemaster’s rite of passage into the professional diving world. Being at Crystal Dive for over 8 months now, I have watched and laughed at my fair share of snorkel tests but now it was my turn in the hot seat.
Tailored To Your (drinking) Ability!
I am not a big drinker – In fairness Crystal are quite strict and base the strength of the bucket on your feedback – and on a night out one bucket will usually last me a good hour so you can imagine how I was feeling about the prospect of having a one poured into my snorkel and having to down it with one breath whilst trying not to spill any, choke, or make a fool of myself in front of a bar full of people!
Before the event began, we had to make our funnels, this meant cutting the bottom off a large water bottle and attaching it to the snorkel upside down. Depending on the snorkel you also have to block the purge so that it doesn’t leak. This needs to be tested with some water because the person that spills the most is guaranteed to get the warm Chang (I’ll get to that soon).
Now there’s no using one of Crystal’s mask and snorkel so I recommend thoroughly washing yours the day after, unless you want to taste of the contents of you bucket every time you dive for the next week.
So with our customized snorkels we headed into the restaurant to have a briefing with Tina and Manu, the Dive Master Program co-coordinators. They talked us through exactly what was going to happen and confiscated everyone’s bike keys so that no one would attempt to drive at the end of the night.
Group photo done, Crystal Images plays a welcome video and we are cheered into the bar taking our place on the stools in front of the audience. PADI Instructor Luke, the host of the snorkel test, interviewed each of us asking us various questions such as where we were from, how long it had taken us to complete the DMT and who our mentor was. Then we were given our first bit of alcohol of the night, a welcome shot.
The Interview (and the awkward questions!)
Luke then asked us what our favorite part of our DMT was. The most common answer is the Fun Dive Lead. Mine was when, as part of assisting an advance course and under in-direct supervision, I was able to take a student on a dive on my own to do part of his course. We had an awesome dive and I felt like a complete boss, navigated my way like a pro thanks to my Navigation Specialty course and most importantly, no one died! (Only joking!)
Then the most embarrassing part, here came stories of DMTs getting tangled when deploying their SMB for the first time, forgetting to change tanks between dives and only realizing 10 minutes into the dive when they were low on air and DMTs bumping into groups of open water students on the infamous naked dive.
I tried to get away with saying I didn’t really have any embarrassing moments but everybody quickly reminded me that I may have had one or two, including the whole walking into a hole and fracturing my spine incident!
After we had each been interviewed, our mentors came over with our buckets. The contents of the buckets depended on how you did in your DMT. For example if you had missed boats, turned up late for a course or assisting on a course, then your bucket will definitely be a mixture of cheap Thai alcohol, fruit juice, fish sauce, tobacco, chili and maybe one or two eggs.
Of course I got all of the above in my bucket.
Geared up and ready to go, the audience gave us a countdown and on ‘1’ I took a deep breath in. As soon as they heard zero, the mentors began pouring the concoction into our snorkels and we had to down the bucket as fast as we could.
As soon as the bucket was finished we had to put our head on the stool and run around three times and before running down to the sea as fast as we could. We then fully submerged ourselves before running back to our stool being cheered on all the way.
The Dreaded Warm Chang – Downed In One!
Whilst we were doing this, the mentors were examining the floor of the bar to see who spilt the most of their bucket to determine which one of us was going to get the warm Chang. Luke stood behind each of us and asked the audience to cheer for who they thought deserved the dreaded warm Chang.
Goodness knows how, but I didn’t get it!
Once it had been decided that one of the boys would get the Chang, Luke called out for it to be bought out. No the beer hadn’t just been left out of the fridge, one of the instructors came to the front and pulled out the large Chang from between his bag.
The large, warm beer was poured into the boy’s bucket for him to once again, downed in one!
And Our New PADI Divemasters Are….
A final round of applause for the now official Divemasters and Luke lets the audience know that if they are interested in enrolling in the course, that they can speak to Tina or Manu.
After lots of hugs from everyone and a cold beer to get rid of the foul taste in my mouth, I headed home to shower and change ready for a night out with all the gang.
Author: Jade Allchin (PADI DM # 365654)