I'm Back! I hate leaving projects unfinished and I feel like I never properly finished telling my story of Roatan. I've also realized that I plan on traveling a fair amount in the future, and rather than create an entirely new blog for every adventure I go on, why not just keep this one up and running? I am not promising to blog on a regular basis, but when there is a story to tell, I will tell it. These stories will be sparse until I do begin a new adventure, but there just might be a few interesting tidbits in the meantime.

So now I take you back to where I left off: receiving my certification as a PADI Divemaster. I knew I wanted to stay in Roatan, as at that point I was still living in the delusion of perfection. I figured I would just continue my training, and go for my Open Water Scuba Instructor, but didn't want to rush right into it. Why not get some experience as a divemaster first? So for a month I worked at the dive shop, acting as a tour guide of the second largest barrier reef to dive guests from all over the world. My life was a dream come true.

At the end of March, one of my dear friends from my semester of living on a ship came to visit me, and the two of us left for a week to explore Central America. We made our way across mainland Honduras, into Nicaragua where we boarded down an active volcano, over to El Salvador, and finally back to Honduras.

You have probably been wondering why I left my perfect life in paradise so suddenly, one minute in Utopia and the next on a plane back home. I am not going to go into it here for the sake of the people who led to my decision, but I will say that when I returned from my week vacation, the perfection of it all slowly started to shatter, turning my fairy tale into what I can only describe as a toxic environment. I debated leaving before the Instructor Development Course even started, but in the end decided that the course might serve as a bit of a distraction while circumstances blew over.

The IDC was just like being back in college. studying nonstop, but managing to have fun and enjoy life all the same. It was basically a solid two weeks of classroom presentations, pool presentations, and a couple days spent in open water simulating teaching students who were the worst divers on the planet. Two solid weeks of nine-, sometimes ten-hour days followed by going home and studying, preparing presentations, taking practice exams, all in preparation for the Instructor Exam. The IE.

The IE, for lack of a better comparison, is the ACT or SAT of diving. It is a standardized exam, which a PADI proctor is sent out to administer, taken over the course of two days. It consists of a dive theory written exam, the PADI standards written exam, two open water presentations, demonstration-quality skills' presentations, one confined water presentation, a classroom presentation, and a demonstration-quality presentation of rescuing an unconscious diver at the surface. Score high enough marks and you pass. Anything lower and you get to pay the $700 examination fee again next month. The two weeks of nonstop studying suddenly seemed like a mere crash course in diving under such pressure, but at the same time we were trained by the best Course Director around, and taking the exam was actually fun in a weird sense. It was the chance to show the quality of instructors we had the potential to be. It was the final exam after a semester of studying. It was the competition after hours and hours per day spent practicing. It was exciting! And in the end, both I and my two friends who took the IDC with me all passed.

The week that followed was my last week on beautiful Roatan. No one seemed to understand at the time why I was moving on so suddenly, and I didn't really either. Recently though, I found this quote that just about sums it up:

I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance. - Beryl Markham