Monday, June 26, 2006

Open Water Weekend

The night before my first ever open water dive, I fell asleep immediately, despite nervousness and excitement.  Being prone to anxiety dreams, I was pleased to note that my only dreams of diving centered around getting the wetsuit put on correctly.  Then I dreamed that I swam out alone into the ocean just a small way and floated a bit before coming back and thought it felt pretty OK.  Then I had a lengthy anxiety dream about double scheduling a dinner date with my mom and an outing of some sort with Dag and a bunch of high school friends.  I couldn't find the restaurant mom was at and the group of friends was following me but I really wanted to just have dinner alone with mom.  I woke up and kept sressing about how to solve it and had to tell myself "it's not real - you do not have to think about this!"
Continental breakfast - sugar, carbs and caffeine - sigh.  I had an apple then a bunch of nuts from my personal stash on the way to the beach.  By 10am, the first group, of which I was not a part, entered the water and began practicing their skills. 

Suiting up

The weather was absolutely gorgeous, even at 9am so it was nice to sit on the beach and wait our turn. 

Waiting to dive

I was shocked by how tight and claustrophobic the wetsuit felt, especially that infernal hood! 

Geared up and cranky

I, of course, was happy to have its warmth in the water, but it was like some kind of torture device on the surface.  And the pressure of the inflated BC on my ribs made it difficult to breathe even at the surface.  I felt so confident in the days and hours prior to the dive, that I was surprised to have a baby panic attack once we got down about 20 feet.  This happened because I couldn't control my extremeties or direction of my body and the sea floor below us was crawling with crabs and flounder and poor defenseless starfish that I felt very strongly about not stepping upon.  But since visibility is so poor, we basically go at negative bouyancy and crawl along the floor on our knuckles, dragging our fins and octopus behind us.  It bugged me a BUNCH.  But once I got the knuckle crawl down, I stopped being so flustered and could do a better job at not destroying the wildlife.
I was really woozy and tired after that.  The second dive was much better.  Since I already knew how to navigate, I didn't worry so much and could just swim around and look at stuff.
Because the weather was so nice I never got cold between dives and surprisingly, not during dives either.  It pains me, but I'm sure I have that awful hood to thank for it.
By that evening, I had developed a major crick in my neck so that I could not actually turn my head, an echo inside my head because my left ear was still full of water, and a migraine.  I popped a codeine during the video showing after dinner that evening and slept like a baby.
The second day I had slight trouble getting my breathing under control at the beginning of the second dive.  I am still getting used to the wetsuit and gear so my butt descends first leaving my legs flopping about above my head until I start to tip over to one side.  This is so frustrating I start to breathe weird and my left ear won't clear so I get all worked up worried that everyone is going to swim off before I get myself under control.  But they don't.  And I do get myself under control and then have lots of fun looking at stuff.  On the first dive of the second day, I spotted a wolf eel hiding nearby but couldn't get anyone's attention.  They saw it when it got freaked out and swam off ahead, though.  The last dive was short as my buddy was getting cold, but that was fine.  I was ready to stop carrying tanks around and to get out of the torture suit.  Despite what it must sound like, I am totally looking forward to the warm water diving we have planned!  Visibility will be good and I won't have to wear a hood and someone will be employed to carry the gear!  And whatever I have to pay for that, it will be worth it!
So now I am a certified Scuba Diver!  Hooray!

Students & Teacher


Jen said...

congratulations, you certified Scuba diver, you!

DM said...

Very cool! Congrats.