October 21, 2011

Guideology: Ellen

I had some of my most challenging shore dives in Gran Canaria. The Atlantic made our entries and exits like a wobbling and falling stunt from a silent era physical comedy. It was funny for those who watched the scene and humiliating for us. We learnt to adore the sea when we saw its wonders but after some fights against waves and currents we started to respect its strength too.

Some of the dive spots seemed rough for the first sight in Gran Canaria. And there were those which seemed safer and calmer. Our guides from the Dive Academy always took care of us because the situation could be changed faster than we expected. I remember a dive when the boss, the cheerful Ellen led us. The entry was a simple giant stride near Sardina del Norte but when we finished the dive we saw the low tide was coming and the lowest stair seemed a bit high for a comfortable getting out of the water. Ellen said 'Don't worry, I'll exit first' and she raised as easily as a ballet dancer. She stood near the water and with the tank on her back she pulled us one by one. She gave a hand whenever the divers crawled on the rocks while waves were assaulting them.

Sometimes when I see an awkward dive leader I think about our 'human elevator', Ellen. Anybody would be able to lead a dive in a tropical sea near a shallow coral garden where nothing occurs. But a real pro has to be able to solve all the problems. Sometimes they have to use their physical skills- if they have any. Ellen was simply fantastic. She helped us when we booked an accommodation. She found animals like angel shark for us under water. She pulled us from the sea. And anything she did we always saw the smile on her face... This must be a special skill too.

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