We’ve been at this divers’ BnB thing for about three years now.
Neither Nelly nor I are anniversary sorts of people. To the point that it’s one of the reasons we got married on February 29th, so we wouldn’t have to think about anniversaries too often (Though the main reason was that we both thought it was funny). So we don’t really have a day that we think of as “The Day XOC-Ha Began.”
What we do appreciate, what we celebrate, is that we have a surprising number of repeat guests now. More than I would have expected or hoped for. Certainly at this still-early phase of the project.
It’s relieving, as a guide and an instructor, to get people one already knows. The familiarity with a diver’s capability, their limitations, the way they communicate, what types of dives they like, what type of waffles they like, how they take their coffee, and all the other little things… all go towards making it that much easier for Nelly and me to sculpt their vacation into what they’d been looking forward to.
Just as often we get someone completely new. Someone we’d never met before, aren’t even social media friends… a completely unknown entity.
And on that first day - on that first dive - I watch. As carefully as I can, I watch.
I always tell new guided guests that I am willing to be as much or as little of an instructor as they like. If they want lots of feedback, I’m happy to give it up to and including video debriefs. If they have their things set up the way they like them and are not all that interested in input or critique, then (provided there are no actual safety hazards to themselves or the team and they’re not going to destroy swathes of cave with abandon) I’ll keep my opinions to myself.
But I am watching and calculating what sorts of caves will be suitable and (hopefully) enjoyable for this new person or people. I’m crafting a curriculum in my head for that entire first dive.
The days I really love my job, though, are days like yesterday.
Within minutes of that first dive with an unknown recognising, “Great buoyancy, great trim, stable as a table, aware, responsive, communicative, shit totally squared away. So….. this week we’re diving pretty much anywhere accessible in backmount I might be in the mood for.”
You know what is simply the goddamn best? Three years worth of days like that. Three years of days with return guests. Three years worth of living and working in this beautiful place with my beautiful wife. Of getting to share some time with some of the most wonderful people, hearing their stories, and facilitating their time with us; getting to see, appreciate, and enjoy this place with them, through their eyes.
There’s no anniversary date, per se. But if all that ain’t worth celebrating every single day… then nothing is.