Live large. That’s the motto of Terry Thompson, a divemaster and jack-of-all-trades who has travelled the world exploring the wonders of the deep.
He’s been a fixture on the islands off and on for some 20 years, currently making his home in Little Cayman.
‘People talk about buried treasure but the real treasure on this island is the people who live here,’ he said.
Terry works as a bartender/dive instructor at Southern Cross Club and operates his own spa, Island Moon Massage, at the dive resort.
He’s also a photographer, boat captain, chef and landscaper. Before heading to the Caribbean in 1986, he spent a dozen years working as a social worker in his native Canada.
He can now add author to the list.
Terry has written a collection of short stories based on his adventures as a divemaster, Diary of Dirtbag Divemaster: Tales of Disbelief from a Rider of the Coral Reef.
The self-published title – a blend of fact and fiction – focuses on the escapades of six dive instructors working at a resort on a small Caribbean island.
It’s a tongue-in-cheek, insider’s look at the ups and downs of the dive community and the challenges of keeping everything running smoothly behind the scenes.
‘I wrote the book just to give people an idea what it’s like to be a dive instructor and what it takes to make a resort work.’
Taking a large group of people of all ages and skill levels on a dive boat, for one, can be demanding.
‘You hear people say it would be great to get paid to go diving but there’s a lot more to it than that.’
The book evolved from Terry’s daily jottings of funny incidents that took place over the years taking people out on dive excursions.
‘The pile of paper just got bigger and bigger.’ At the encouragement of friends, Terry decided to publish his writings.
‘Everybody’s got a book in them, or so they say.’ And, as he remembers comedian-writer Steve Martin once saying: ‘If you don’t write it down, no one will read it.’
So far, the response has been good as both residents and visitors can relate to the tales.
‘It’s for people to have a laugh and maybe remind (visitors) about what they’ve done here.’
Diary of a Dirtbag Divemaster is available at a variety of locations including the Book Nook, Divers Supply and Red Sail Sports.