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“Dear Diary” Scuba with The Dive Shop. Week 1

November 5, 2009

The Dive Shop, Bountiful Utah

“Dear Diary”  Scuba with The Dive Shop.  Week 1

How freaking cool is Scuba Diving?!  I think it is normal to stare at a massive body of water and speculate on what is under that life giving liquid. The amazing power and majesty of the open water is a whole new universe.  If you have ever been to the ocean or even just gazed at pictures of it, you’ve noticed it tends to inspire wonder in each of us for the mysteries that reside just below the surface. To that underwater world that covers most of the planet, we as humans are restricted from due to these blasted lungs of ours.

What is so freaking cool about scuba diving is that it gives us humans the ability to travel underwater just like merpeople.  I don’t know what Arial’s problem was with living under the sea in the movie The Little Mermaid.  That crab Sebastian had me convinced with his delightful song accompanied by the Underwater Symphony Orchestra: “What do they got?  A lot of sand. We got a whole crustacean band! Each little clam here knows how to jam here, under the sea!” This toe-tappin’ song as well as many other things has always fueled a passion inside me for underwater exploration.

With the fire burning desire inside of me to only be quenched by the submersion into a hundred feet of water, I turned to the best means of certification for Scuba diving I could find along the Wasatch.  My research led me to THE DIVE SHOP located in Bountiful, Utah. 429 West 500 South.  We took the basic and introductory class Open Water Diving.  Here’s how we fared.

Mike.  Dear Diary.  Week 1.

We all met at The Dive Shop in Bountiful, where we signed some essential wavers, and such.  Met Bob, our main instructor for the class and began to get acquainted with our scuba equipment as well as Bob’s silly, dry humored, yet gregarious personality.  Some basic and essential instructions were given to us and some brief class time to really hammer home safety before we were to head to the shallow end of the pool at a nearby recreation center.  We all met at the pool side to assemble our equipment and put it all on. The ten pound weight belt, Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) vest, scuba tank with all essential attachments-so we don’t drown of course-and then the fins and mask.

We all quickly learned that the equipment ain’t light. It’s dang heavy so getting into the water is a welcome relief.  That first day in the pool we would go from standing on our feet to dropping to our knees, submerging ourselves under water for our exercises.  There was really nothing to be afraid of while getting comfortable with the idea of breathing underwater.  If you got a little anxious, just stand up.  First we went over simple things like clearing the mask. This is just allowing your mask to flood then clearing it out with air from your nose.  Clearing the mask really becomes quite a useful thing to do.  Next we got comfortable with taking out our regulator (breathing device, mouthpiece) underwater then just putting it back in the mouth to continue breathing.  After we very slowly scooted on our butts into the deep end, all-the-while clearing our ears, we repeated the same exercises 12 feet underwater.  Once we got the A-okay, we were told through hand signals to swim around for a bit.

All in all it was actually very fun.  We all got a pretty cold and chattery with the teeth but quite enjoyed learning to scuba that first day.  I suppose the best part was that in learning the way we did helped everyone in our group who seemed uncomfortable with it to feel much better about the foreign practice of breathing under the water.  After the pool we returned to the class where we went over more essential safety practices and underwater perception.

Scuba 101

Quiet down! Bob has the floor.

Noel.  Week 1

Oh boy do I love water!  I love splashing around in it, jumping in it, showering in it, and even drinking it.  But never did I have scuba diving on my list of “Things To Do.”  I don’t have hydrophobia (fear of water) but in all my water-loving activities I tend to stay where I can stand up, easily swim to the edge, 10 min shower or less, and drink only one glass at a time.  I’m a poor swimmer, I don’t float, I sink, and once breathed in a little water when I was snorkeling in a very calm ocean and I thought I was a goner.  Thanks to a buddy of mine-Mike in fact-I caught my breath and cooled my jets.

Meeting at The Dive Shop was no big deal.  Getting together all our gear was no big deal.  Getting some vital instructions and some not-so-vital corny jokes from Bob was no big deal.  Heading to the pool and suiting up with all the gear was no big deal.  Getting into the shallow end of the pool was no big deal.  Checking the regulator (mouthpiece you breath from) for breathable air was no big deal.  Dropping down and taking that first breath under water was a huge deal!  I’m breathing under water!  I’m really excited but also calm.  I’m breathing normally.  I can turn my head and see everyone else in the class.  I tried to communicate, “We’re breathing under water!” but you have to use hand-signals under water and I only know like three.  None of which even remotely say anything about breathing under water.

Even the underwater exercises posed no threat, including taking the regulator out of your mouth, slowly exhaling-because the #1 rule of scuba is NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH-and putting that regulator back in you mouth.  No threat because even though I didn’t have much confidence in myself, I could see in Bob’s eyes that he had confidence in me.  Bob’s instruction was simple, clear, and demonstrated by himself each time.

Scuba 2

Getting geared up at pool side

When we edged down to the deep end I had a hard time clearing my ears.  I wasn’t quite over a cold and I think that had something to do with it.  Yawning and moving my jaw back and forth helped out.  It really boosted my underwater confidence when we were encouraged to swim around.  It was very strange to me that I started to feel comfortable in my totally aquatic environment.

I reluctantly got out of the water and headed back to The Dive Shop where we wrapped up with some interesting stories and instructions such as:

-Sound moves through water 4 times faster than through air.

-Objects under water appear 25% larger due to the magnifying effect of the mask.

-The first color to be absorbed  underwater is RED.

After the first day of class I was surprisingly worn out and very excited for next class.

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