The Best Insta-Buddy Ever
Anyone that’s ever been on a tourist dive charter boat has at least seen an ‘insta-buddy’, even if they haven’t been one themselves. An insta-buddy simply refers to a recreational diver that shows up for a charter trip without one of their normal diving friends and is looking to buddy up with someone else on the trip for the dives that day.
Although most insta-buddy parings work out just fine, almost any experienced diver has one or two tales about the insta-buddy from hell: that guy (or girl) that really wasn’t prepared to make that dive trip in the first place. Sometimes this results in the other, more prepared diver having to do a bit of baby-sitting. This tends to get a little annoying when they have paid good money to go diving…. NOT to work as a dive master or guide for the day.
About three years ago, my fiancee’ and I decided to meet up with a bunch of people from ScubaBoard for a dive-social & campout weekend in the Florida Panhandle. Someone had organized a charter trip for the group, and Kate and I booked a couple of seats.
When we arrived at the dive shop early that morning to sign in, I noticed that the diver before us had indicated that his certification level was “GUE-F”. This piqued my interest, as I’d never met or been diving with anyone that had done any GUE training, and I wanted to see if any of the internet rumors about ninja-like skills and a not using dive computers were true.
A short while later, we’d figured out who this mystery diver was. For the sake of internet anonymity, I’ll just call him “Ryan” for now.
As it turned out, “Ryan” did not yet have a buddy for the trip, so Kate and I invited him to join us and dive as a three person team.
What followed was some of the most relaxing, enjoyable diving I’d ever experienced. Afterwards Kate and I agreed that he was one of the most solid, fun people we’d ever been in the water with: he seemed to know where everyone was at all times… even when we were right behind him and I knew there was no way he could se us.
What was really odd was that we seemed to know where he was at any given time, but we weren’t exactly sure why we knew. On top of that, his buoyancy and trim control was unlike anything we’d ever seen….. and he was a really fun guy to talk with topside, as well.
Eventually, I asked Ryan about some of these things I noticed during the dive and I learned that most of these things were covered in detail in the class he’d taken: GUE Fundamentals. We became friends, and I always look forward to any chance I have to get back in the water with him.