Getting up for work every morning is a source of pride for most people because it’s symbolic of one’s social status. To have a job to get up for means you are doing okay in life. It may not be the job you’d be doing if you had bothered to do your Chemistry homework when you were at school, but it allows you to put food on the table, clothes on your back and beer in your belly without being forced to visit the job centre every week to explain why you’ve had 25 interviews in the last month, none of which have yielded a single offer.
Those that are not lucky enough to be employed must take the time to consider what job they would like to do in the future because putting food on the table, clothes on your back and beer in your belly is far more difficult when you’re forced to visit the job centre every week to explain why you’ve had 25 interviews in the last month, none of which have yielded a single offer – especially the beer part!
Have you therefore ever considered becoming a pearl diver?
The pay can be surprisingly high if you’re half decent at it and you’ll get to spend most of the day wearing Speedos.
If holding your breath for immeasurably long periods whilst rooting around on the sea bed sounds like it could be a blast, here’s what you’ll need to do to become successful:
1. Have lungs like – well, an aqualung….
Just to clarify before you get too excited about becoming a pearl diver, the guys that get to wear all the cool breathing apparatus and look like they’re straight out of a Bond movie are not pearl divers but scuba divers. As a pearl diver you’ll need to be able to free dive down into the water with a basket or bag to collect oysters with little more than your last breath and a nose plug for assistance.
2. Know the underwater terrain
For obvious reasons, pearl diving is slightly less straight forward than normal diving work due to the limited time (or rather – breath) there is available. You therefore don’t really want to be diving 10 metres down into the abyss without knowing where to look for oysters or you’ll find that the job becomes infinitely more tricky. Your aim is to try to scrape off the best oysters before the old currant buns start telling you via an intense burning sensation, that it’s time to return to the surface for some much-needed air.
3. Don’t have a mortal fear of sharks or the bends
……because there’s a significant chance that you may encounter both whilst working as a pearl diver – although hopefully not at the same time or you really will be in trouble!
4. Have the right tools
You’ll need the following before you’re able to gather enough pearls to make a pretty necklace that gets worn by ladies that lunch:
- An oyster knife
- A hundredweight of Pearl oysters, mussels or clams
5. Be prepared to work in the winter months
Winter harvesting is quite common because an oyster’s metabolism slows down and the slower nacre deposits will result in a much better luster on the pearl. Whilst this is a desirable outcome, unfortunately you may find that your summer Speedos no longer constitute the appropriate attire……
6. Know how to harvest the pearls
This is done as follows:
- Pull the pearl oysters, clams or mussels out of the water – usually they will have been captured on a net.
- Slide your knife between the shells and gently pull the oyster, clam or mussel open.
- Put a plug into the clam to keep it open.
- Cut the oyster and use your tweezers to remove the pearl.
- Remove the plug and allow the oyster enough time to recover before grafting with the oyster again.
- Apologise to the oyster and ask it to get back to work producing more pearls as quickly as is oysterly possible!