This past week-end I went on a Friday to Sunday trip to get certified for the first level of Scuba Diving with the ANDI program. This I did through Scuba Sciences in Phoenix, AZ. Since this was the only time I could get off work, just a couple of days around Thanksgiving 2010, I had to do it. I was aware that the water around Catalina Island, CA was cold and I hate being cold, but I had no choice. In the very back of my mind I thought that if I can do this, I can do anything.
Being certified for scuba entails classroom as well as pool skills work with basic learning about the physics and practical information about pressure, effects of water temperature and pressure on the body, equipment, etc. I also had to pass a multiple choice written test.
Just to let you know, I don’t like being cold.
And to make a longer story short, the next morning after we embarked gear and all on the boat, the Pacific Star we got into our gear about 8:00 am L.A. time ( an hour earlier than AZ time this part of the year). I’m only about 100 lbs in weight myself, but with the 80 cubic ft air tank, the second tank for emergency out -of-air, and the weights I needed to sink, as I am rather buoyant, especially with the wet suit I rented to go over my “skin” I was carrying another 100 lbs. I had to be strapped in and needed help standing up and walked to the entry place off the side of the boat towards the stern.
The water the entire time was 59 to 61 degrees. I prefer 85 to 90! All the certification students including me jumped several feet into the water. I still didn’t have enough ankle weights so had to fight to keep my legs down and the weights I was carrying were off balance with the extra tank and I kept rolling to my right side.
We went down a rope hanging from the dive buoy with our dive buddy – this is definitely a team sport – and I had little difficulty clearing my ears. It was cold but I focused on what I had to do. Even at the bottom at 30 feet (the pool at the school was only about 8 feet deep) I still need help righting myself as the weight load gave me a difficult time. We hung onto each other’s gear to stay together and went through our mask-clearing and regulator purging exercises one-by-one. I
I don’t have my dive log book back yet from Leo the instructor for this certification dive, so I don’t remember how long that first dive was, but my recollection says 45 minutes. The ascent back up the rope under the buoy was uneventful and I was able to clear my ears with ease using the Valsalva technique (holding my nose and blowing gently).
There were two more dives that day, in-between which we worked on our log books describing the dives and figuring how long the next one could be due to the nitrogen we absorbed from the pressure. Getting into the cold, wet gear was not much fun.
My buddy and I did not get to do our take off and replace our buoyancy control with tanks devices that third dive because it got dark, so we had to do that the next morning. We all got into our gear fast that next day – it was cold! – and the weight solution was to remove the extra tank from my gear and the weight re-arranged so that I would be even. Also I was loaned heavier ankle weights to keep my lets down.
Wow! What a difference it makes to be evenly weighted!
Before I jumped in I looked down and didn’t want to go into the cold, but I had to get certified and had no choice. Besides, I had self-confidence that I could.
So I jumped in and found to my delight that I could control my movements, keep my legs down, and didn’t list to my right. But as I went down the rope I had to stop and go back up because I couldn’t clear my left ear. Back at the boat someone had swimmer’s ear drops and applied them after pulling back my hood enough to reach my ear.
Then I went down again with one of the instructors successfully, did the remove and replace the gear at the bottom with some help – someone needs to help hold you down and help swing it around to place on your lap so you don’t float up. Once the gear was on my lap I took as long as I needed to get it ready to swing over my hear and fasten up. Since the regulator was in my mouth and I was breathing all the time I just did what I had to do.
Then my instructor took me on a short tour, part of the certification exercises, and I was finished. I enjoyed seeing a few fish and a small manta ray and swam through kelp.
Back at the top on the boat I got out of my gear as fast as I could to get into a short hot shower and then get dressed. I had completed the certification exercises.
So, if I can do that I can do anything. What about you? Have you done something that you knew if you could do it you could do anything? What was it?
Anyway, hope your Thanksgiving was as satisfying as mine -
Wendy Weber, the Singing Network Marketer