Ah yes...the unpaid internship. Or in my case, the internship I paid for  I had read about these online, and never really understood them until now. Basically they combine all of the fees involved that you would normally pay out of pocket into one lump sum. In my case, that includes accommodations, PADI fees, and a few other things relating to a work experience trip up to the great barrier reef. This has been an interesting few weeks.

On slow days of the internship, the new instructors (Stuart, Jen, and myself) go on "fun dives" to dive sites we pick just to get experience exploring new dive sites and getting to know the ones we'll be teaching at for our teaching experience Abyss also provides. As new instructors, everyone makes mistakes. Apparently we subconsciously decided that we would go ahead and get a few of them out of the way. On our first Fun Dives day, we decided to do ship rock. Now, this is a timed dive site which means we have to be in the water at a certain point so that we're not carried off by the currents. This site also requires a dive flag...that's where the fun begins. We arrived at Lilli Pilli (where we were going to do our other dives), and found out that we didn't have enough tanks for everyone to do 3 dives. With this new information, we decided to spend our first dive at Ship Rock. It was too early to go, so we stopped at a cafe where one of us spilled "cordial" (see: juice) on their panties. This made for interesting conversation as we discussed where she was going to dry them so that they'd be ok after the dive. Anyway, as we were sitting at the cafe waiting for the right time, we get a text asking if we have a dive flag. This is the ONLY site in Sydney that REQUIRES a dive flag. Now that we couldn't dive Ship Rock, we decided to just go back to Lilli Pilli and get this over with. (oh it gets better) Once we arrived at Lilli Pilli we all started putting our gear together. Jen made a joke that, "Well at least everyone has weights!". /FACEPALM...I had forgotten my weights. Everybody did pool together, and we had enough weights to do the dive, but man this was a failure as one of our first dives as instructors. We just did 1 dive, found a small "tinny" (See: Aluminum Dingy"), got a descent 45min dive in, but got out and called it a day. I did finally get feeling in my toes back about an hour later.

The rest of that first week was quite fun. I met up with Crystal whom I met on Sydney Gaymers and downloaded Watch_Dogs. We were supposed to go to the beach on Wednesday (one of my favorite things to do), but everyone canceled for various reasons.  I got my hur did at a nice salon in downtown, got caught up on Game of Thrones, played some Watch_Dogs (so excited that it actually plays on my MacBook Pro), did some more fun dives at Oak Park (a site we teach at), had time to work with one of my first students on her buoyancy. Friday, was on the Customer shore dives (Free, Divemaster-lead dives for customers to get experience) and they were supposed to be at Voodoo (a site we don't get to do often because of the water conditions) but this time it wasn't the water conditions...they were doing road work. (BASTARDS!) It turned out ok though; we did "The Leap" to "Steps" which is a little bit of a drift dive if you time it right. The Leap is called that because you leap off of a 2m (6ft) drop to get into the water . Then you drift with the current down to The Steps. It's SIGNIFICANTLY easier to get out at The Steps, which are called that because of the way the rocks at the site create a step up environment. You could easily do a multi-level dive here. On this dive, I finally got to see the elusive Weedy Sea Dragon; Amazing animal.

The rest of the internship so far has been fun. Finally getting to teach people and experience the joy they get from seeing all of the life underwater. There is a bit of stress that goes with it, making sure you don't forget anything and cover everything that makes their time underwater safe. It's usually pretty easy to tell the students who are going to continue and the ones who are doing it for somebody else. The way Abyss does things is a bit of a short timetable, but they're the only shop I know of who can do an Open Water certification in 2 days. It's nice to learn how dynamic the PADI teaching method is; things have to be done in a certain order, but they can be done all in 1 day (pool sessions only). With the new method PADI is rolling out, it's going to add some skills that might feel funny with the Abyss method, but I'll be interested to see how they adapt it.

Wednesday the 9th, I went to see a show called Leo at the Sydney Opera House with my new friends Andria and Suzanne. It's a show where a guy uses photography and projection to defy gravity. It's a pretty cool show! The opera house was pretty sweet. I didn't know it was broken up into different "houses". I want to go back for the main tour, but that'll have to be while I'm job-hunting. :)

With all of the activity during the IDC, and the pivotal decision-making time, and other people at the intern house, it has been a stressful time. Carl took Stuart, Jen, Lola, David, and I out for a team-building activity day to the Royal National Park. First "challenge" was to cross a river on a stand up paddle board without dropping anything into the water. I got across the river twice (there and back) with no issue. The second time, I tried to adjust my stance and fell into the coldest water i've ever felt. I now know what they were talking about when they say "pins and needles". Next, we tied a pen around our waist with a string and had to squat down and get the pin into a bottle...you might see this one on a promo video I'm working on. Finally, we did a relay race around an island on the stand-up boards which included paddling to a waterfall against the wind, then around the island, picking up the board and running to the other side of the island and repeating. After this bit, we drove up the coast (see pics) and went to Symbio Wildlife Park for pictures with a Koala. Unfortunately they had changed the schedule from what we had expected, and we missed the photo session.  So we stuck around, fed the kangaroos, a sheep ate my whole feed bag...the actual bag, we saw some amphibians, some monkeys, some dingos, and we did go see the koalas. We basically got really close to the lady holding the koala and took some pictures anyway . It really was a fun day.