By Kenzie Rosene, Master Scuba Diver Trainer
Most of you have met the amazing Sheena, one of our instructors and shop staff. If you haven't met her, I'm sad to say you won't because today is her last day at Rockfish Divers. Sheena has been an amazing employee, coworker, and friend, and we are all going to miss her dearly. Sheena always comes to work with some sort of witty story that makes you laugh so hard your stomach hurts, and is always a blast to dive with. She has also done some amazing work keeping the shop running during these weird Covid19 times.
Here's a few of my favourite Sheena moments thus far:
1. Play fighting with her underwater during Divemaster Training exercises. Yes, hair was pulled and rocks were tossed
2. Sitting in the rinse bin with her in our drysuits because we were too lazy to take them off to clean them
3. Her bringing me treats when I was in the shop on a slow day
4. Watching her calm scared divers down and helping them grow more confidence in themselves
5. The general banter that occurs when we are in each others presence that almost always ends in one, or both of us crying laughing.
6. Oh also that one she started her truck and the sound was so loud it scared me and I dropped my ice cream
Best of luck to you Sheena in your new adventures!! Come back soon for a visit!
By Kenzie Rosene, Master Scuba Diver Instructor
So, you want to know what working a Drop In Dive looks like? Well look no further! I'll tell ya right now!
Okay first thing I do in the morning is wake up and brush my teeth. Just kidding, I'm not going to tell you my morning routine. But rest assured I do wake up and brush my teeth!
Drop In Dives begin when I arrive at the shop to greet the participants for the day. My job is to make sure I have checked everyone's certification cards, get paperwork signed, help the shop staff with gathering gear, and assess the level of nervousness in the divers. The Drop Ins are a great way to get more experience with scuba diving, as well as meet people with a wide range of dive expertise. We have people join that are brand new off their Open Water course, all the way to people who have been diving longer than I have been alive. That being said, part of my job is to pair people up to dive together based on comfort level and experience. So while you are mingling and checking over your gear, I am watching you. Insert evil laugh here.
Once we have figured out the best site based on conditions and experience levels, I send out the divers to meet me at the dive site. As the Divemaster, I am usually the last one to leave the shop. I have to pack the safety gear, spare parts gear, and wait for anyone showing up a little bit late. When it is time to head to the dive site, there is almost always music played slightly too loud in the car, along with very out of tune singing. I say almost always because on occasion, I have a diver carpool with me and I'd rather not horrify them with a private concert. Once I am at the site, I go around with my participant roster and check on gear set ups/fix any issues I see. Then comes the briefings, both site specific and general safety. I throw in a couple dad jokes just to make those briefings EXTRA special. I know when a fatherly joke really hits home when I see the people cringe, pity laugh, and avoid eye contact with me. After that, I double check that everyone has a buddy and a dive plan, and then I can get set up too.
When my group and I hop in the water I of course make sure everyone is okay before we start the dive. From there, I lead my divers around the site, help them sort out any issues, and hopefully spot some wicked sea life. Once the dive is over and the safety stop is complete, it's time to hop out of the water, keep my kit set up, and go around with my dive roster again. Why is my kit set up still even though I'm done diving? Just in case someone in the water needs help. I can easily throw my gear on and get to them quick as a bunny. Once everyone has been checked out on my roster, people are free to go about their day. I always return back to the shop to return the safety gear, rinse my gear, and of course, tell the poor sucker stuck in the shop about all the amazing stuff they missed out on! Just kidding, but I do make sure I rub it in a little if I saw an octopus that day.
After all is said and done, I go about my day as usual impatiently waiting for my next diving adventure.
By Kenzie Rosene, Master Scuba Diver Trainer
Well... The last 2 years have certainly been interesting.
Firstly, we just want to welcome you back to Rockfish Divers! It's been a while since we've seen you. How are you? Did you miss us like we missed you? Have you found a way to keep diving during the pandemic? Or did you resort to sitting in your Drysuit in your bathtub? *cough cough* Not that I've done that or anything...
Anyway, it's no shock to anyone that the global dive scene took a major hit during the pandemic. Many shops, including our own, shut down and thousands of dive professionals found themselves without jobs. We knew this was coming for us in Victoria, but we hoped we wouldn't need to close. In March of 2020 we voluntarily closed our doors to protect our staff and customers from any potential spread of the virus. We temporarily said goodbye to our regular patrons, and had to say goodbye to some of our amazing staff. I won't lie to you, Covid19 rocked our world in a bad way. In June of 2020 we were able to open our shop doors, but our normal activities were far from restored. It wasn't until October 2020 that we were able to start teaching Open Water courses again. This was also the month we gained a new instructor, Sheena (we love you Sheena!) In April of 2021 we had to stop teaching in the pool due to Covid19 restrictions tightening up, and we are currently awaiting the go ahead to start pool use again.
Alright I'm done with all the doom and gloom. On to the good stuff!
As soon as RFD opened the shop doors again we were met by all our regular patrons, as well as some eager new ones. In my 5 years of working at the shop I have never seen more of our students come back to continue their education. While our community has always been amazing, I also haven't felt this much support from Victoria's divers before. In the shop's absence, the divers surrounding RFD refused to let Covid19 take diving away from them, and continued to dive within their bubbles (ha, there's a pun there). The positivity radiating from the divers pushed us to keep going, and motivated us to make sure we supported everyone as much as they supported us. We changed our course options and policy's to meet the demand of the people, while also keeping virus transmission possibilities low.
So where are we now? We are back running our charters on the West Shore and Race Rocks, as well as running our new snorkeling/eco tour charters. We have begun teaching Drysuit orientations in the ocean, along with some Refresher courses. We are running more Specialty courses and continuing education courses than we have in a very long time. Our drop in dives are back, including an evening drop in, and we have a new snorkeling drop in on Tuesday nights. As for our Open Water courses, we are about to begin those very shortly!! All in all, we are never going to be the same Rockfish Divers we were two years ago, but we are a new version of ourselves. Dare I say... a better version?
We know this battle with Covid19 is far from over, but we won't let it drag us down. We hope to see you soon, and thank you for sticking with us!
Rockfish Divers is focused on community and educating divers on safety and environmental issues that impact the aquatic ecosystem. If you have an idea for a topic you would like us to feature, please submit it through the link below and stay tuned.