15 Jul

So you think you’re as tough as a Tulamben porter?

Best Dive Job Blog | Tulamben Porters

One of the fun parts of diving is that sensation of being weightless underwater.  Nothing beats that feeling when, after achieving neutral buoyancy, we can just glide through the water effortlessly. It’s like we are light as a feather and all that gear we’ve got strapped to our backs just disappears. That is of course until we reach the surface and the hard cold reality of kilo upon kilo of weights and equipment brings us back down to earth (quite literally).

As a Divemaster trainee, the heavy reality of gravity is that much more painful because it usually falls on us to carry tanks and haul equipment at dive sites and around the shop. However, this is not the case in Tulamben where we dive the USAT Liberty wreck.  At this site, all tanks and equipment must be hauled a fair distance from the parking lot to the dive setup area on the beach.

You can imagine the wave of relief when I was first introduced to our  Tulamben porters. The porters are locals (mostly women) who earn a living transporting divers’ equipment and tanks along the rocky path to the beach. Eager divers can be quite an impatient bunch so getting as many tanks and bags to the shore as quickly as possible is pretty important, and these ladies never disappoint! While I struggle around the shop to haul two tanks 10 meters away, these ladies haul three full kits (tanks included) the long walk to the shore… ON THEIR HEADS!! No joke.

These women put pretty much every “tough guy” I know to shame as they easily boost bags, coolers full of water, kit bags and full tanks on their heads and tread down to shore as if they were transporting buckets of feathers. I’ve heard that the porters make quite a good wage, as you can see from the photo below, they definitely earn their keep.

All in a day's work for the Tulamben Porters
All in a day’s work for the Tulamben Porters

Recently a few of our DM trainees decided to try carrying the kit bags back into the shop “Tulamben Style” it was an epic fail as you can see.

Here we see Divemaster Abbey's attempt at transporting gear Tulamben style.
Here we see Divemaster Abbey’s attempt at transporting gear Tulamben style.

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