LOCAL TIME IS 2AM. HOPE YOU HAD A NICE FLIGHT AND WELCOME TO MAJORCA, where the sun is sizzling and it is HOT HOT HOT! Tour reps are clearly not your ideal holiday companions but, luckily, on a normal holiday they are easily avoided. Just dont attend the welcome meeting, do change rooms if needs be, and avoid the temptation to spend hard-earned cash on Barbecues with the Bedouins and so on.
  Diving holidays are another matter. Organising your day on a liveaboard or from a centre, your appointed Dive Guide can make or break the week for which you have been saving for six months. So you need to get to know them a little better.
  There are only certain kinds of people suited to the job, and a few distinct characteristics inevitably emerge. Its worth recognising these early on. This way you can keep as out of the way as possible on a smallish boat, listen attentively to every word or, in some cases, simply stay on the beach! Here are a few of the most notable:

Beach Bum
hspace=5 We have all met him, or at times her. Beach Bum is on a year out, or has dropped out, in the case of the ones with greying dreadlocks. He may be an instructor who just cant be doing with the stress of actually teaching, or maybe he just dragged himself through Divemaster training in return for a life of sunning himself on deck.
  He will happily let you dive solo with your buddy, and favours surface supervision as his form of guiding. His briefings contain such illuminating facts as the reef is like, over there, man and youll see, you know, the usual reef fish. Extra dives, night dives and any trip that involves getting up early really are not his style.
  Beach Bum wears a T-shirt from a dive centre somewhere better, usually on an unpronounceable island and run by this great dude. At nights he is to be found chillin with a sheesha pipe if he works in the Red Sea or maybe something stronger in Thailand and elsewhere. Girls fall for him right, left and centre but he really cant be bothered with the hassle.
  Divewise, hes fine if you are confident. If, however, you think you might need a little guidance from your guide, jump ship now.

Super Instructor
hspace=5 The reciprocal bearing of Beach Bum (and he even knows what that means!), Super Instructor will have you under control the minute you set foot on his boat.
  Up early to check the weather, consult his captain and probably check the oil-levels on the boat too, he will be standing at the stern with a clipboard, ironed PADI polo shirt and compulsory smile by the time you arrive bleary-eyed from the night before.
  His dive briefing will incorporate most of the Divemaster manual, and woe betide you if you drop more than a fingernail below your depth limit.
  If he buddies you, be ready for a 20 minute check while you sweat in your gear.
  Under water, fin like mad so that you can keep up with him, because he will race around the site to get back to his clipboard.
  Forget about lunchtime and sunbathing - they are out of the question. Super Instructor will have everyone gathered around to identify every last coral polyp seen on the most recent dive.
  Just when you think thats over, the PADItastic patter will come into play. Before you know it, you have committed to doing a Specialty Course with him during the carefully calculated surface interval the next day.
  From a safety point of view, you would think you couldnt do much better. Unfortunately, this kind of enthusiasm takes a lot of energy to maintain, so most Super Instructors are fairly new to the game.
  Check him out and you might find that behind the clipboard and fish-books lurks a disturbing lack of experience.

Scuba Chick
hspace=5 The blokey dive groups dream! Blonde, tanned and bikinid, Id guess this is what most of the lads are after. Scuba Chick probably came out six months ago after falling for her very own Beach Bum, but shell tell you shes been diving since she was four, and grew up under a palm tree.
  Her briefings, most likely in fairly broken English, will typically fail to mention such details as depths, directions or no-deco time, but she may well show you copious fish photographs, taken on her fun dives with Beach Bum in between attempts at scuba sex.
  Scuba Chick typically wears... well, not very much. In the water its a different matter entirely as she kits up in vest, shortie, semi-dry, hood and perhaps even a drysuit on top because she feels the cold, poor thing.
  Out of the water, she may well be friendly and chatty, perhaps even flirt a little because its good for business, but before you take it any further, try to visualise her in a city suit without that tan and bleached blondeness and consider whats left.
  Dont expect current checks - she wouldnt want to put all that heavy gear on twice - or wreck dives, because tying lines is just far too masculine. Do expect long surface intervals for sun-worshipping and, if her Beach Bum appears on the boat, dont expect anything much at all from the pair of them.

Shark Boy
hspace=5 Every dive resort has one of these, even in places with few, if any sharks. Shark Boy wears a ragged T-shirt from the Maldives or South Africa, or anywhere with big-toothed monsters in the water, and cut-off jeans frayed around the edges.
  A sharks tooth hangs around his neck on a piece of black leather and he has an interesting scar, which he will show you, suspiciously near where his appendix might have been.
  Shark Boy will spend surface time surveying the horizon with binoculars looking for a fin, and on the mobile to mates who might have seen something. He may well demand that you all get up early, travel miles to some out-of-the-way site and get embarrassingly orgasmic if you are the first boat there and so almost guaranteed a glimpse of whitetip.
  Expect a week of look out into the blue and maybe next time, as you make dive after dive in midwater miles from a reef, screwing up your eyes to decide whether that object in the distance is a hammerhead or a bin-bag. Chances are hes never seen anything bigger than a mackerel.

Peter Pan
hspace=5 He made his money in the computer industry and received a hefty golden handshake, left his wife (or more likely she left him) and adopted the lifestyle of a dive guide because he thought it alternative.
  The other guides hate him because he has too much cash and quite often does the job for love alone, but they dont let him know that, as he regularly takes them out to dinner and buys the drinks.
  Peter Pan is amazed at how easy he finds it to make friends these days!
  He has paid his favourite Scuba Chick for one-to-one tuition to get him up to the level of Divemaster and thinks he now knows everything. He has every scuba gadget known to man and is loaded down with fish books from every continent, but when it comes to actual knowledge - well, try him!
  Ladies, beware of Peter Pan. He likes to think the Scuba Chicks have their eye on him but usually they dont, so he is quite a predator. He loves it when they give him the nickname Silver Fox, and offers to let them all try his fab new dive gear.
  With a hint of Super Instructor about him, Peter Pan is well-organised, as long as everything goes to plan. But turn a current in the wrong direction and hes out of puff, red in the face and as stressed as he was as MD of BoringBlokesInSuits.com.

Deep Dave
hspace=5 Youll recognise him by the shaved head, tekkie T-shirt and the fact that his equipment is three times more complex-looking than anyone elses. He may well bring along his rebreather, modified of course, for a 15 metre, 20 minute reef dive, just so you know that he would rather be at the bottom of an undiscovered canyon, or really just anywhere at more than 100m, on air.
  His briefings include a dive plan for every ten seconds of your route, a map carefully inked with technical drawing instruments and a print-out from his downloadable computer of the last time he came to this site (but we wont be going that deep today). Fish Dont ask, he saw a brown one once in Stoney Cove.
  Under water, Deep Dave will be far too busy swapping regulators, practising swimming with only one fin on and consulting one of his three computers to bother you - until you reach your safety-stop time, at which point he will waggle his fingers and get most upset if you dont manage to stay at bang on 5m for at least 10 minutes.

So dont say we didnt warn you. And beware, just as some fish change colour or even sex, dive guides are fully able to switch from one category to another across your week with them. Best advice - take your own. At least you know their ups and downsides. Or just fall in love, then you wont much care into which category they fall, for a week at least!