Patrick Ramindrasoa, known to us here in Andava as Patty, is an essential member of the expeditions team in Madagascar. He began working full time for expeditions in 2013 as a boat captain, after working as Blue Ventures retainer captain for many years, but through hard work and dedication, he has worked his way up the diving ladder into a dive assistant position and has now achieved the PADI professional rating of DiveMaster!
DiveMaster is the first level of PADI professional diving and is a level of training that aims develops your leadership abilities, allowing you to assist with student divers and supervise various dive activities. Though a fun and rewarding achievement, it also involves many challenges, countless hours of book work and knowledge reviews – and an awful lot of dedication. Not only did Patty complete all the performance requirements above and beyond what is required, he also completed his exams in English, which is his second language, scoring 85% and 88%!
Over the course of the last year, Blue Ventures has had over a dozen volunteers complete their DiveMaster qualification whilst on an expedition in Andavadoaka. They spend many hours completing knowledge reviews, assisting with various courses on site, a graded skill circuit (of skills learned in PADI Open Water), a mapping project of a local dive site, timed swim tests, a 100m timed tired diver tow, underwater gear exchange, guiding dives, leading dive briefings and over-coming problem scenarios seen in PADI Rescue Diver (phew!). Candidates also learn many of the logistics needed to run a dive centre, such as boat and compressor maintenance, gear maintenance, and boat marshalling. All requirements must be completed to a very high standard whilst always maintaining high levels of professionalism and dedication.
We are incredibly proud of Patty’s achievement, as reaching this level of diving is not an easy task. Patty is also trained in benthic identification at a staff level (for underwater surveys) and actively working to advance his science and conservation knowledge. He is always on-time, professional and learning new things. If he’s not on a dive boat, he can be found in our classroom on-site flipping through photos of fish and corals. In the past, he has assisted with many courses, often translating for other staff members who are completing Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver. Patty also often helps with mechanical repairs, as well assists with gear servicing. His energetic spirit, excellent dive skills, boat knowledge and dedication to Blue Ventures and marine conservation make him a remarkable member of the expeditions team.
As a DiveMaster, Patty will help guide local dives, assist instructors with courses on site, assist field scientists with science dives, and teach scuba reviews. He will also continue to perform regular team member requirements, such as driving boats, filling tanks, servicing gear and boat marshalling. Along with advancing his level of science, we hope Patty will soon move on to the PADI level of Assistant Instructor. As a long-time instructor, I can say this is the most rewarding DiveMaster certification I have ever taught and a very well-deserved one at that. Expeditions is thrilled to have another DiveMaster on the team. So, locally we say ‘Arahabina, Patty!!’… Congratulations!