Scuba Diving

How it all began

I am a certified scuba diver since 2004. I started with my first underwater experience back in 2002 when my wife and I did a first test dive in Australia. It was wonderful to see this fascinating underwater world and move almost without gravity in all dimensions. So two years later we used our Thailand vacation to do the “Open Water Diver” course. We had two instructors that took the certification really serious. We had to do all of the exercises in the PADI instructor hand book and even more. This was a really valuable experience. It felt very hard back then but now I know they were completely right. As a dive instructor you have the responsibility for your students. You should not let somebody pass before you are not convinced that he or she is a safe diver. It is not only about learning the theory from the books (which of course is important) but as a diver you should feel comfortable under water and you should act responsibly for yourself and your buddy. Nonetheless, I managed to become “OWD” and the journey to the greatest underwater destinations began.

Diving trip Tioman, Malaysia


A long way to become a dive instructor

TG Hermance

As we moved to Geneva we had the lake almost at our front door. I used the opportunity to improve my skills and to become an “Advanced Open Water Diver”. I was still not very experienced with just about 10 dives. As part of the AOWD course I had to do a deep dive which could have been my last dive ever. Our instructor was a tough guy and deep dive for him means really deep. So he decided that we all go down to 33m. Well, with some distance I believe this was not a wise idea. Firstly, we were a relatively large group of students and experienced divers, secondly, it is damn cold at 33m in Lake Geneva and even worse: it is pitch black down there. So we started our descent and at the moment when I hit the ground I suddenly realised that I was out of air. I will never forget this feeling when you are in the dark at 33m below the surface and your regulator does not give you any air supply anymore. F*CK! Luckily I remembered my OWD course where the instructor once switched off my air supply so that I can experience how it feels when the breathing becomes harder and harder. Now I thought this could be another exercise and I should do well if I want to become an advanced diver. So I tried not to panic but do exactly as I learnt it: I tried to locate my buddy (as far as I could see something), signalled the first diver I could find that I was out of air and took his 2nd air supply. Unfortunately, this poor guy was another student and he was close to a panic as well. So we quickly started our ascent, maybe a bit too quickly and our computers gave us a strong warning. But at least I could breath again which was a wonderful feeling. Back at the surface our instructor decided to give us 100% oxygen as a first aid, just in case. Whether it was that treatment or we were just lucky, nobody was injured at the end of the day. But it was close… I learned later that another diver of our group saw that my secondary air supply had a problem and blew off all the air during the descent. But this stupid guy did not say anything during the dive as he thought somebody else will do this but my buddy did not pay attention. This shows how important it is to have well defined buddy system in a group.

In 2013 I felt ready to become a Rescue Diver. This course was a fantastic experience. You had to perform several rescue scenarios including a panic diver, searching for a missed diver and rescuing an unconscious diver from the ground. My instructor at Go Dive created some very realistic scenarios, so convincing that some folks at Hermance beach wanted to call the ambulance. The acquired skills and more so the gained self-confidence are very useful in all diving situations. During one of my last dives one couple of our group was very excited and did not pay attention on their buoyancy. Suddenly the girl started to go up very quickly and could not stop the ascent. I managed to keep her down, made her feel confident and relaxed again and so we could all enjoy the rest of the dive.

My next big goal was to become an PADI professional. But this needs a bit more time and commitment. So I managed to convince my boss at CERN to get 2 months off to do a Dive Master internship in Thailand, almost at the same place I started with diving 12 years before. But I quickly asked myself, why should I limit myself to guiding other divers or assisting instructors? I want to teach others and pass on my passion for diving. So I used my wonderful stay in Thailand to become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. If you are interested, check out my website

At the surface again

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From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.