Andrea Ong Pietkiewicz Scubagirl15Like so many born-again divers, I’m somewhat obsessive about the sport. There’s something inexplicably addictive about diving: being underwater feels like freedom. I dabble in yoga whenever I can be bothered, and that sense of oneness and stillness that is the ultimate goal of yoga – one that I have to work really hard at and still not achieve with yoga – comes so naturally and easily to me underwater. That, I suspect, is what brings me back underwater again and again, with a never failing sense of eagerness, anticipation, and every time that sense of Being.

When I first learned to scuba dive, I came across instructors who were attentive, as well as those who were simply clueless. Over time and based on my own learning experience, I’ve come to this teaching philosophy: sweat the small stuff, and the rest will take care of itself.

Ever been distracted by something seemingly inconsequential, say an itch where you can’t reach it? The itch itself is no big deal, but its presence causes you to lose concentration on what you’re supposed to be doing, be it driving, skiing, anything at all. Too often, someone in a diving class with equipment that isn’t donned right or perhaps isn’t right at all: feeling uncomfortable from a mask that’s been strapped on too tightly, feeling cold due to not having a wetsuit on, the list goes on. As an instructor, if I failed to notice and rectify these discomforts, there’ll be no learning going on at all. Like that itch you can’t scratch, all you’ll be concentrating on is how uncomfortable you are.

By the same token, I expect the same level of attention from my students. The skills that I need to impart are all necessary and will make the difference between a safe, enjoyable dive and the opposite. My commitment to my obligations can sometimes comes across as zealotry: and that’s not everyone’s style. It’s something I continue to work on as an instructor: I guess it’s what physicians call bedside manner. I find this balance difficult to strike: coming across with enough authority to ensure I have control over a class / student and with enough conviviality to be engaging. I’m still a work-in-progress….

I’m a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor qualified to teach a variety of specialties; I’m also an Emergency First Response Instructor. I’ve been involved with scuba diving education through AquaSub Scuba Diving Centre since 2003. I’m married to Norbert Pietkiewicz, who owns and operates AquaSub.

  1. Andrea, Nice blog. The stuff about NFLD was a pleasure to read after diving those wrecks myself last week. I also enjoyed your notes on Technical diving. One long dive certainly would beat two short dives anyday i’m sure!

    Toronto, Canada

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