The day dawned......calm? Not too much wind but that may change as the day goes on. Last night, it seemed we should have some fun with Chantel around mid day. This morning, all reports show the storm has moved a little farther south and will miss us and come ashore on the island farther west. I guess we dodged a bullet. Over the course of the day we had scattered showers and some rain but nothing that bad.
Did I mention it is the last day of the class? Many of us are already reflecting on the class, the process, the change in the groups, what we have learned and what we take away. More on this later, we still have some unfinished business. Our last group presentation from the staff is on The Role of the PADI Course Director. As the top dog in the food chain, people may give us a bit of look. Some act weary when the "PADI Police" are around, others look up as mentors and still others could most likely care less. That will be a blog post in a few months.
After our final presentation from the PADI staff, it was back to our break out rooms for one final presentation and one final evaluation of another team mate. These have been both easy and hard. Easy when someone runs through their presentation, hits the numbers and makes it easy to score 5's across the board. Hard when they miss something, even harder when they miss something big. Sascha had to give me a 1 (A FAIL) when I missed the distance on the compass run earlier in the week. He then had to give a 1 in the afternoon to another teammate who had some issues with their lift bag. He felt terrible but he had to do it! You don't do anyone any favors by being easy and hurt yourself if you don't agree with 4/6 of the control scores. Needless to say we really did rock the final! It was lunch and then back to the big room for final consultations. PADI Asia was in one room, PADI EMEA (Europe) in another and PADI Americas in a third. You were called in one at a time, had a quick meeting with the staff from that office and they conferred the news that you passes or failed. Needless to say WE ROCKED IT AND ALL PASSED!! You came out to a large applause from the other candidates and waited until all were done. We had some time to kill until the Graduation Banquet that night. It was amazing to see how fast the news took to the digital world. I'm sure CDTC was trending pretty high on Facebook as EVERYONE jumped online and started sharing the news. A few hours later cocktail hour lead into James' slide show with photos of all in action. The winner of the marketing plan was announced, "Sojou" was the winners with the GreenGos getting honorable mention.
One at a time we were called up and received our packet with new cert card and diploma. The party went on until 10:30 when the room was closed down but the party was reconvened to the pool until the wee hours of the morning. Toasts were drunk, cigars lit and the fat lady finally sang!
As we decompressed and tried to make sense of the last 9 days, I was left with two very lasting impressions. First was the world wide market that PADI has. There were 6 candidates from Playa del Carmen, Mexico there. What that means is that Playa has a market, already full with CD's, but needing 6 more!! It is staggering to think of the numbers they move through. But the most important thing I loved about this experience was the exact opposite of what I had been dreading. I am pretty laid back. I'm kind of modest (at least on the outside) and don't like to either toot my own horn or hear others toot theirs. I can care less about what you did to get here, we all did similar things. I assumed I would be surrounded by guys who thought they were the top of the heap and more than happy to let the rest of us know that. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. Whether it was Paul from England, who loved the Guide to Teaching reference during a religious discussion to Martin from the Netherlands who after a few drinks wanted to combine all the guys into one big super group so we wouldn't have to compete with each other, these were incredible people.
And of course the most incredible of all were my team mates, the GreenGos. I think eventually all the groups bonded but not as fast or as hard as us. By the end of the first day, there was already a feel about the group and by day two a few kindred spirits recognized each other and the game was on. Inside jokes about bolt snaps, the profanisaurus, man hands, brain coral, PADI laser pointers, Grogans, lasagna, knocking on the wrong door, brass is ***, the Lake of Constance and the 10,000 wrecks off Belgium were the norm. It wasn't a competition, it wasn't trying to one up each other, it was seeing ideas of one person and pushing them a little farther. We may have flirted with 1's on some of the academic presentations, but that was the challenge of pushing the limits and the joy of getting away with it. Creative subversion that made us love our craft that much more.
James Morgan promised a significant emotional event and he didn't let us down. We are able to teach people to teach people to blow bubbles underwater!! (restated objective) Don't forget to buy some gear and take a class.