Meet The Scuba Leeds Dive Team - Josh Ramsden
Meet the Dive Team - Josh Ramsden, one of our PADI Divemasters, who is about to sit his PADI Instructor Exam in the next couple of weeks – which while we are here we would like to wish you the very best of luck. We asked Josh about his take on diving.
When did you start diving?
I completed my open water with Buddha View dive school in Koh Tao whilst backpacking in Asia seven years ago. I went to university after that so I couldn’t really afford to dive. Once I had found a job after leaving university I started diving again, determined to take it through to the professional level and the rest is history!
What made you start diving?
I did a few try dives whilst on holiday when I was a teenager and after finding out how expensive it was (for a 15 year old at least) it became one of those pie in the sky dreams to one day spend my life in the water. I also had a fear of deep water which I was determined to overcome, not one to do things by halves I decided to find out what was down there. During my third dive on my open water course I came across a Whale Shark and my future career plans were made there & then.
Where/when was your last logged dive?
Haha, you’re going to love this one. Blue Lagoon at 5.5m for 32mins in 6c water. I feel cold just thinking about it. But a dive is a dive! It’s still one I’ll remember as it was the open water section of our PADI IDC programme (IDC stands for Instructor Development Course) but I don’t think that my Blue Lagoon membership card will get much of a workout...
What are your dive goals?
Receiving my PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor qualification is going to be the next big milestone. This should be completed by the end of March. I’m going to be spending my time developing my skills as a teacher at that point. This will be an ongoing learning experience for the rest of my diving career.
Teaching aside, I would really to take my own diving to the technical level. I want to increase both my bottom times and depth range. Photography is another love of mine and one I hope to combine with diving. Technical diving is the perfect accompaniment leaving avenues open to move into safety diving or professional photography where I will need commercial diving qualifications to find a job but technical diving skills on the job.
Diving full time is really the end result I’m looking for. I’m not after a big wage, fancy car (shiny dive kit would be nice though) or a big house. I’d like a life rich in experience and stories to tell the grandchildren, not one sat in an office chair.
What keeps you diving and how do you keep the passion?
Waking up on a Saturday morning and driving half way across the UK to go diving. All of this while some of my other friends are just going to bed. For me, there is something very Zen about diving. You leave the terrestrial world behind when you slip into the blue. A lot of the skill in diving is in breath control, staying relaxed, fluid and most of all being sharp and in the moment. For me diving is meditation.
I am incredibly privileged to have the experiences I’ve had in the water. Even in 60’s scuba diving was still a very niche activity and it is still one of the few things in a shrinking world that still holds that sense of adventure and exploration. Many of my fondest memories are in and around the water and with most of my diving career ahead of me I can’t wait to see where it will take me.
It also gives me a chance to give something back, having studied photography I’m well aware of the power an image can hold. I’m not going to save the oceans with some great scientific discovery but I can take more than my fair share of responsibility through the mediums imagery and teaching. If our oceans do go down the pan at least I can say I didn’t sit back and let it happen.
Whats your favourite dive site?
So far my favourite two are in the Red Sea.... Reef dive has to be Shark & Yolanda Reef, Ras Mohammed National Park, Sharm El Sheikh and wreck dive Chrisoula K, Sha’ab Abu Nuhas, Hurghada,
Whats your favourite piece of equipment?
Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilised age. The Finn Subb 1400 wrist mounted torch.
So...The PADI Instructor Development Centre....tell us about it, and is it all just hard work and no fun?
Well first off there is the social side, I’ve met life long friends through Scuba Leeds. We’re a mixed bunch of dive geeks, each with individual strengths, no one has a big head on their shoulders. This makes for a close knit team and I think we’re really setting standards in the north of England. There’s a lot of role models in this place and more than enough to learn for someone starting out.
If it wasn’t fun or rewarding we wouldn’t be doing it. For students there are lots of personal challenges like mask work, mastering drysuits & the myriad of anxieties that come with your first few dives. Helping a student to overcome these on their own and they always do. This is a great moment for any dive professional.
Seeing it grow from the ground up you feel responsible for the school and it’s divers. They aren’t customers coming through those doors, they are future dive buddies. They’re people you will end up in the pub with waffling about your latest dive trip, poking fun of people who are scared of sharks & making jokes with about peeing in your wetsuit.