Growing old is mandatory, The Secret Life of a Cuttlefish

Welcome to The Secret Life of a Cuttlefish

Scuba diving is a lifestyle! Not only our job, our passion but a great big slice of our life: Let us share that lifestyle here with you ... everything from reflections, scuba diving adventures and amazing adventures under the sea! 

Growing old is mandatory, giving up optional ...

Updated: Jan 24




Take a new challenge at a “certain age” and you’ll be greeted with enthusiastic exclamations of how brave you are, how wonderful , what a fine example …


With sayings like “Life begins at 40” & “Fifty is the new 40” it’s no longer the years behind that count but that exciting project you have on the boil.


With more & more of us discovering scuba in our more golden years, & some of us even going on to turning this awe inspiring activity into a life-changing professional conversion, it’s no wonder that more & more 40 somethings are in search of their first diving job soon after the celebrations of passing their IDC/IE are over … this is where the positivity & encouragement for that courageous life-changing project , sadly, more than often changes to something far less positive.


I tell you this from experience …


Soon after my first discover diving experience I was already dreaming of plunging below the surface, into a before undiscovered kingdom, full-time. The only way to do this, unless you are loaded & a person of leisure, is make scuba diving your profession. A profession which, under the right circumstances, can transport you around the world in pursuit of the marine animals once only discoverable through the eyes of great naturalists such as Attenborough & Ballesta.


A dream ...


Was I dreaming the impossible dream I asked myself? Well, if I listened to the encouraging voices around me the answer was by no means no! So, from running my own small translation business and being my own boss I went back to school; the school of life as much as anything …


How to become a Scuba Diving Instructor when you only started diving a few months earlier?


And how to do so at 50 something? There is no short cut, like everyone else, no matter the age, you start from the beginning.


Now I’m not going to say absolutely everybody was as enthusiastic as my friends at the prospect of having a newbie, let alone a somewhat mature newbie entering into the professional world of diving, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how I was welcomed.


And so the hard work began, at 50 years & 4 months, the first stage of my adventure, a new trainee in a Med dive club. The second stage of my training, and the life lessons not yet learnt, came 4 months later, far away from home, in the French Caribbean. Sounds like a dream? It should have been but there are, as I was about to discover, 2 sides to the dive world … the postcard side with its sandy beaches, palms & clear underwater views of amazing sea creatures in bath-warm waters, and then there’s the reverse side with the underpaid (well non-paid actually), overworked life of a trainee where the rule-breaking can be costly.


Without going into too much detail, as that would be the subject of another story, I spent 8 long months in the Caribbean. Promises that my hard work and dedication; both to my training to reach my personal goal ,and to the club’s clients, would in return pay for the courses I needed to make dive instructor, disappeared leaving me with nothing but the memories captured in the 100s of photos I brought home to France; still without that certificate saying my handwork to become a dive instructor had paid off!


3 thousand pounds later, and a trip back to my native country finally saw the fruits of my labour paid off. In a cold lake of 7 degrees, & the only participant donning a wetsuit, I finally received the handshake which was to signal the start of my dive career - at last! A long journey, somewhat precarious at times, & bloody expensive but I was finally there … or so I imagined.


The celebrations ...


I wouldn’t blame you for asking at this point “What about the celebrations?” The pat on the back for a job well done … They call it “zero to hero” in the dive community …


The celebration never really got started. I had been pre-warned about the “macho mentality” of the scuba circles, knew myself I was up against it with my open & proud attitude to my gay lifestyle let alone my projects to work and travel with my scuba instructor girlfriend but my age … well yes, ageism exists in all workplaces but I couldn’t help reminiscing over the enthusiastic optimism I had experienced at the start of this life-changing quest to be a Scuba Instructor.


The reality ...


But there is was in black & white 300 CVs & 3 months later not a bite on that CV hook! Obviously there were lots of excuses tip-toeing around the age thing but when it boiled down to it the celebration of my bravery to embark on this adventure ended almost as soon as it had begun.


Now you may be screaming at the screen - “come on it has to be a mere coincidence, however having gathered a following of similar women to me, who also went in pursuit of the dream of a new start ,many of them like me have hit a brick wall when it comes to that “dream job” … I have been told that the “dream job” doesn’t exist but at this stage many of us would just like any job - which pays.


ps ...


Did I not mention; we are not good enough to be paid to do this job? That said we can bang out 2 guided dives a day & get to teach if we’re lucky - as long as we do it for free!


Do I regret the decisions I made, the time spent labouring over mastering skills, passing one scuba after another, passing from Open Water Diver through Rescue & Dive Master in order to finally say “I did it, I’m a Scuba Diving Instructor”? No, certainly not but I do wish I had done it 20 years earlier!


The moral of this story is: yes, follow your dreams, there is no age on that but just be careful not to expect others to match your enthusiasm and courage.


Secret Life of a Cuttlefish ...


The title of this blog is “the secret life of a cuttlefish” like this beautiful creature you have to become a master of disguise - and mostly - sadly - you have to learn to disguise your deceit and disenchantment if you are ever to make it in the dive world - a world with a lot of promise & reversely an abundance of prejudice and disappointment!