Posted by: Anna | July 11, 2010

Studying 2 hours a day

In classic me fashion, I gave Tommy scuba classes a while ago (a year?), but we never did them because we couldn’t make the scheduling work. Tommy and I have finally started our scuba lessons this week / weekend. I feel like a bad wife, as far as gifts go – I think of a good idea, but then it takes a while to come to fruition. (For example, see changing my name – Tommy’s first anniversary gift. I’m almost finished!).

First step is to buy your personal gear (fins, snorkel, boots, and mask). They give you the textbook to take home before class. The book is 250 pages long, and you are supposed to read it and do the quizzes before starting class.  So that took several hours. I’m glad I did though, because I’m a worrier. When you get to class, it’s a combination of videos and confined water swims for the first few sessions. Since you actually can die, I feel better that I tried to thoroughly learn how to not die. 🙂

I am nervous about scuba – swimming in the ocean makes me a little nervous. It doesn’t help that the book features pictures of sharks and panicking divers..really? Is that necessary? But I’m excited about going under the sea. The Red Sea. The Great Barrier Reef. Other options include New Zealand, India, South Africa, ?

Our class has 9 people – two other married couples (both older), an Australian guy, a younger guy, and a college age girl. I feel like I’m the worst one – athletic pursuits have never been my arena, and I get intimidated when I try them. Our first night in the pool, we had to swim 6 laps without stopping (not that bad) and then tread water for 10 minutes – not fun. Then we learned how to get all of our gear on.   It is pretty cool to be able to breathe under water. I thought the regulator (that’s the part you breathe through) would feel like a snorkel, but it’s much more secure feeling than that and doesn’t get full of water. I have trouble equalizing my ears in the pool, which makes me feel stressed for the open water because we’ll be going much deeper.

My big challenge is that for the emergency ascent you have to breathe out continuously while swimming up 20 feet (no breathing in). This is in case you run out of air and you can’t find an alternate air source. We practiced by swimming across the pool while breathing out. I couldn’t do it on two tries, and then our instructor moved on. I felt stupid – it’s not really hard, and most everyone else could do it. I would just get nervous and breathe in anyway!

Tommy is loving it. I am less sold, if you can’t tell. Gear is heavy and awkward, and there’s a lot to think about. It seems like a stressful way to have fun to me. But maybe that’s just the learning part, or the fact that I’m a weanie, or that I am thinking too much about doing it all right and not enjoying it. My slogan for today is “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

We go back to the pool today for practice time. Our open water check out is next weekend. You have to pass several skills in order to be a certified open water diver.  So today’s goal for me is to have fun, and figure out how to do that emergency ascent. Our instructor showed us his break dancing moves underwater, which I’m going to try out today. Headspin here I come

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