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.