Upside down into the zodiac?

Have you ever dived from a zodiac? I think they are fantastic, as long as you have a good sailor with them. They drop you at exactly the right spot, pick you up even if it is only 50 meters from the big boat and thus make diving a lot easier. But not everyone is a big fan of it. Getting into the zodiac is sometimes a bit challenging, but coming out of the water isn’t always charming either.

Black-fin barracuda

Now I use that zodiac daily and I have taught thousands of people how to use it best, yet I sometimes get to see something new, including from Margret and Diana. Mother and daughter came to spend a week’s holiday with us and joined us on one of the liveaboard trips. The ladies had American nationality, were more than adequately certified and already hadquite a fewexperience below the belt. Depending on where my trip is going and what conditions we’re diving under, we’ll give everyone a comprehensive briefing on how to handle that zodiac, plus a moment to practice under calm conditions. How to safely get in from the big boat, how to roll back and especially how to get out of the water again the zodiac climbs. Some of these rubber boats have a ladder, but unfortunately you don’t find that everywhere. And so you have to clamber and as an experienced diver you naturally want to do it conveniently, comfortably and also elegantly to some extent. During that briefing we always joke whether you dive into the zodiac like a whale or whether you can neatly place your butt on the edge of the zodiac as a pro. And so that week with Margret and Diana. On the second day we dived along deeply falling walls in a current looking for gray reef and threshes sharks and we were the first group. To make this dive we had jumped from the big boat into the water and planned to drift around the corner to come back by zodiac at the end of the dive.

Under water it was really great, a wonderful drift, a passing fox shark, large schools of barracudas and a fantastic reef. By the time we entered the safety stop I shot a balloon to call the zodiac and when we arrived there two were waiting for us, perfect timing. Everyone went to the zodiacs, including Margret and Diana. Both ladies are of ‘American sizes’ and I already saw the zodiac driver looking and I had to have a laugh. The look on his face… he expected to drag both ladies into the boat by the hand, a really tough job!

Stunning soft corals

Margaret and Diana gave up their camera, weights and BCD and then by surprise also their fins?!? With the technique we use to get into the boat, you as a diver need your fins and so the seaman (who spoke poor English) tried to give the fins back. And then Margret turned and grabbed the line hanging from the outside of the zodiac from behind. That’s all wrong! We always go headfirst into the boat, but before I could say anything, she tipped her head back under the water, WHAT? She whipped her legs up and pulled herself into the zodiac in all her American glory. HUH? How did she do that?

I’ll tell you she was not only fast but it also looked effortless and elegant which is pretty cool when you climb into a boat. The seaman watched flabbergasted and had a big smile on his face. WOW, we hadn’t seen this before! And later that week, when the new technique had been seen by many, Margret explained to us in great detail how she did it. From that moment on, everyone tried out the new technique and we saw everyone enter the zodiac with their legs first. It was great and seamen from other boats looked at us in amazement, hahahaha. Fantastic so you see, you can always learn something new!

Love life… Blow Bubbles…

Anke Westerlaken