Well it quietly happened sometime mid-January, and as I got home from Tutukaka on Thursday, the card, badge, certificate and awesome letter were all there in the letter box!!!
I immediately messaged NEMES1S to let him know it had arrived!
NEMES1S has been an awesome supporter during the trainings providing Encouragement, moral support and crisis management
So here is in a nutshell my MSD experience…..the good, the bad and the totally weird!
Are we there yet?
Planning the MSD and the logistics of it was probably the most time consuming part of experience. I had to look back into past specialties, certificates from PADI and other organizations, and working training schedule with the club. There isn’t much published about equivalent or the MSD itself….and you find that everyone you ask give you a different answer.
I also wanted the specialization to give me something new to learn. I did not want it to be three dives in each and a ticket at the end.
A few weeks later we had a draft schedule, and I was eager to start!
The specialties chosen in the end were Deep, Wreck, Underwater Naturalist, Navigation. You do need 5 and I had done Nitrox a couple of years back.
So it all started on 29th November, a very very memorable date!!
I had to do a further three dives in each specialisation, all with different aims and associated assignment (incl, mapping, surveys etc...). So not just the diving.
I won’t comment in details for each specilaisation as this post will end up being a kilometer long, however if anyone does require further details please feel free to PM me.
- Planning the MSD:
Most training provided something new to actually learn. The more time spend with the instructor detailing what I wanted to get out of each session before the sessions, the more useful they became.
If you are intending to do your MSD or any Advanced Specialisation, choose your instructors wisely!
When doing your MSD, you will most definitely have a wide range of experience in your chosen specialties, so make sure you know what you want to get out of the three dives and classroom sessions associated to them.
One factor in choosing Deep, was insurance purposes. Insurance only insures you to your highest level of Certification, so if you do go deep, it may be that only the Advanced deep ticket may help cover you?
- Where to do your MSD:
New Zealand is a great place to do it. For example a week-end in the Poor Knights, will allow you to work on Deep, Wreck and Naturalist, as the variety of sites available in close proximity can potentially cover most specialties.
Another great way to do it would be on a tropical Island with three dives a day. Then again maybe not for Navigation, as you may want to do the Advanced Nav. somewhere with no viz (long live The Lake
- Scheduling Challenges.
Typically if you choose to do your 5 specialties, this will take a minimum of 15 dives, and a few classrooms sessions. It will be important to find the right dive site for the right specialties.
Also you “only” require 3 dives per specialties, if you already have a certificate listing that specialty, perhaps you did it as part of your PADI Advanced or as a standalone specialty or so called “intro” before… If you haven’t then it’s more likely to be 4, though that’s not correct for all specialties as some specialties may not require any dive.
Also, I found a lot is to the instructor discretion and again what you’d like to get out of it, so it will vary. Take your time, to choose, plan and to enjoy it along the way!
For me the logistical challenges were more exhausting than the dives, as even when in the Knights the instructors could not always fit all the planned training dives, so specialties were taught in between pleasure dives, and spending almost every week end traveling up and down to Tutukaka, staying up late with knowledge reviews, all this mixed up with a heavy work schedule, great week days in Wellington and the Christmas season…was sometimes a physical challenge……
To my surprise I was able to apply for my MSD before finishing Wreck (I still have to do my final dive on the wreck, but it will not count as part of my MSD).
I had the PADI Nitrox certification which I knew counted towards it, but also found that the SRD ended up counting towards the MSD (I had been told it wouldn’t be but PADI sanctioned it without fuss). And whilst working towards the MSD I managed to fit in SRD just for fun the first week of January
- Simply Awesome:
The New skills for sure…
The thrill of some of the learning experiences (Naturalist at Sugar Loaf…..can’t bit that site for this training! ….. And diving the wreck blind folded...)
Last but not least……..The people I have met whilst doing it…I have been very lucky to meet some really lovely and amazing divers whilst training. Whether on the boat, in the classrooms and even at the pool…..and that’s just priceless.
As for the next steps:
Keep diving with the new skills of course and Ice diving training this winter! It’s been a life long ambition, so hope you’ll find me under the ice this winter