Dan Norman - Divemaster
Dan is arguably one of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet. He's one of the good guys, he doesn't have a malicious bone in his body and he is a central part of Team InDepth, always putting himself forward to help others and help out on all of the courses, both open water and confined water, as well as EFR training.
He's been working his way through his PADI Divemaster certification and, having had that substantially delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, is now at the finishing line and will finally complete that journey within a matter of days. It really is a case of just finding a date to undertake one last aspect of his course and he'll be a Divemaster!
His instructor, James, would be the first to say that Dan typifies what an excellent DM should be and is, in his view, the finest Divemaster he has ever trained!
"Dan, more so than any other DM I have ever trained, intrinsically understands what it means to be an exceptional Divemaster. He gets that a great DM puts the students first. He understands that he's in the water and part of the team to help others and not for his own gratification and glory. He has no desire to take his ego out and polish it and display it in front of the students or other DMs. He's just a good bloke, who puts others first and can empathise with what students are going through and feeling. He's a valued member of the team and I trust him implicitly."
Dan's scuba diving story started all the way back in 1997, he was in Bali and he got to do a try dive on the wreck of a 'Liberty Ship' just 40 metres off the north coast, from that first scuba dive he was hooked, finding himself returning and repeatedly duck-diving the wreck just to try and get more of it!
Fast forward to late 1997 and early 1998, Dan found himself in a Sydney casino one evening and, as luck would have it, he won, and he won enough to treat himself to a PADI Open Water Course at the local Dive Centre in Coogee.
Dan would have you believe that learning to scuba dive around Sydney was a pretty tough gig! But in all seriousness, it was an epic experience and he even got to see his first ever wobbegong, groupers and even a seahorse!
Whilst in Australia, Dan really got to experience warm water diving, aside from Sydney and the north coast he also went across to New South Wales and even managed a few dives on the Great Barrier Reef! From there he went across to New Zealand, he had a bit of a try spell whilst there, only managing a few dives in the Coromandel.
Returning to the UK in 2014, he decided to join the dive community and signed up to redo his PADI Advanced Open Water Course in Cheltenham. For the first winter, he dived at both NDAC and Cromhall in a two piece wetsuit! He soon learned the error of his ways and quickly invested in a dry suit and undertook the appropriate 'Dry Suit course' too.
Dan then undertook to complete his PADI 'Rescue Diver' Course in 2016 and with that he also completed the prerequisite EFR course as well as the 'Emergency Oxygen Provider' Course. From there it was just a matter of time and a number of further speciality courses, 'Underwater Navigator', 'Search & Recovery Diver', 'Deep diver' and 'Project Aware Diver' until he achieved his 'Master Scuba Diver' certification and was then approached by James to start his Divemaster journey.
Dan also took an active part in the 24 Hour Scuba Dive to help raise awareness for Acquired Brain Injury and much needed funds for the local Gloucestershire branch of Headway - the Brain Injury Charity. He completed his dives whilst wearing a tutu!
Unfortunately, Dan's Divemaster journey was derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, he also had to endure some bitter rivalry from fellow Divemaster candidates that lacked the skills he possessed and consequently tried to sabotage his journey by foul play. Dan took all this in his stride and didn't allow any of it to dampen his enthusiasm for diving, vowing to succeed he soldiered on, never allowing the petty behaviour of others to darken his soul and never having an ill word to say about his detractors. Then the lockdowns happened, and further delays happened, and two bouts of Covid later, including one bout of long covid, all conspiring against him and his journey to achieve Divemaster. Now, in 2023, he is at the stage he thought he'd be in 2020.
"Ah well!" he says, ever philosophical about the twists, turns and bumps that have taken part in his Divemaster journey. He harbours no grudges or ill will towards those that tried to do for him. He's better than they are, and not because he knows it, but because he is a kinder and more genuine individual, a better person and it is that character that makes him such a good Divemaster and team member.
What's next for Dan?
Well, rightly so, he'd like to enjoy his DM status for a while, and he's certainly earned that right. He has also starting his Assistant Instructor course, having already purchased the course pack! He is also undertaking his EFR Instructor course and is planning on helping run a number of those courses for the club.
And then he's planning on fitting some diving into his increasingly busy life in Herefordshire!
“BETTER TO JUST BE REAL. SHOW UP AND DO YOUR JOB AND BE A NICE PERSON.”
— Elisabeth Rohm