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New divers down May 7, 2007

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.
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Over the past couple of weekends, I’ve been taking diving lessons along with Laura’s sister, Sheryl. We’ve had a really good time. The instructor has put us through quite a few drills in the swimming pool to hone our skills for the open water.

During the course we had to

  • assemble our scuba equipment blindfolded
  • take off all our equipment at the bottom of the pool, swim to the surface, swim back down to the bottom, and put it all back on again
  • jump in the pool with all our equipment in our hands and put it on while sinking to the bottom

The final day of pool activity included swimming in a large circle around the pool blindfolded while other people messed with your gear. The “sharks” would reach down and turn off your air supply, take off one of your fins, place a tangled rope or other obstacles in your way, or even add additional weight to your back. The purpose of the drill was to build your confidence in a safe environment so that if you encountered something similar in the real world you could think back to yourself “Hey, I’ve done this blindfolded. I can handle this situation.”

For example, many divers get entangled in fishing line while diving. These exercises were designed to help give us the skills and confidence to react calmly and appropriately. I hope that I’ll never need that skill, but I’m glad to have gone through the exercises just in case.

This past weekend, we went to Panama City Beach for our open water check out dives. We had two dives on Saturday, both along the jetties near the pass. The jetties are home to interesting fish, snails, anemones, and crabs. I wish I had an underwater camera with me.

On Sunday, we ventured out to the deep water. Our first dive was to a World War II era mine-sweeper, the USS Strength. It sits in 76 feet of water and provides shelter for a lot of fish and other sea life. We jumped right in encircled the sunken vessel, taking in all the sites we could. It was great.

The second dive of the day was to a sunken bridge span. It sits almost eighty feet below the surface and we could swim in and out through the trusses like an underwater jungle-gym.

After completing those four dives in two days, we are officially certified open water divers! I cannot wait to go again!

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