Posted by: Anna | July 17, 2010

Scuba Certification, Or Our “Trip” to Terrell, Texas

It’s almost 5, and we are finally home from the open water portion of scuba classes. We did our open water at Clear Springs Scuba Park in Terrell. It is a scuba-only mini-lake. The bottom has all sorts of interesting things intentionally sunken for your viewing pleasure, if catfish alone are not enough to entice you to don 50 pounds of equipment, pay nearly $500 (per person), and give up two weekends of your life. If you can’t tell, I’m a little tired.

Here's a shot of Clear Springs. We did have a totally gorgeous day to do our open water swim, as you can see.

Last night was our friend Amber’s birthday celebration, and as good friends do, we stayed out late to celebrate. Thankfully, I served as driver so I feel pretty good today. However, we did get home last night a little after 2 AM, and we had to be at Clear Springs at 8 AM. So we had to get up at 6:15 AM since it’s about an hour drive and we needed breakfast. Ug.

But we were up and ready and out the door on time. In Terrell, we spotted this fine establishment. It has all of your morning needs covered.

After we arrived and set up our gear, our instructor Mike went over the day with us. We split into two smaller  groups for the first dive. Tommy and I were in the second group. Here’s Tommy waiting.

Hopefully he won’t post some horrible picture of me in retaliation. But let’s be honest, there’s probably an unflattering picture of me coming soon just to keep it all even.

Since Tommy has had some crazy poison ivy on his legs this week, he opted for the mini-short wetsuit (known as a jacket, I think). But it's the first time I've seen Tommy in short shorts. A good look, don't you think?

Getting ready to jump in.

The first skill we have to demonstrate is switching between breathing through our regulator and breathing through our snorkel while swimming out to the bowie over our actual diving site. Now, why would you even have a snorkel if you have a tank of air on your back? I asked the same question. It’s to conserve your air when swimming on the surface out to a bowie or other destination. Mike tells us to stick with our buddy. I try, but my buddy swims very diligently in a perfect circle, instead of to the bouy. Once I realize he’s not staying with me, I put my head above water and watch him. He was so disappointed to realize after all of that kicking he was in the exact same spot! But we got that all figured out and arrived at the bouy.

On that swim to the bouy...

I had trouble at the pool equalizing my ears (sort of gently popping them to relieve the pressure – kind of like flying, but reversed). But we got to descend at our own rate, and mine was slow!! Mike was giving me a hard time about it after he realized I had a sense of humor about my turtle speed of descent. Eventually even I arrived at the bottom. We successfully did our skills under water and came back up. Then it’s time to haul the gear back up onto the dock (which is hard – it’s heavy!) and back to our pavilion.

Mike reviews our next dive with us, which includes compass navigation, both at the surface and underwater. Gear back on, back into the water we go. The surface compass navigation is basically follow your compass out at a set degree, then reverse and come back to your original spot. I did not realize how different a dive compass is from a standard compass – the bevel is not fixed. This was covered in class but I didn’t really understand. So I follow my compass and swim in a perfect circle around everyone else, unknowingly, while they watch and wonder. I pop up disappointed to realize I have not succeeded. Tommy quickly does his surface navigation by the compass. He explains to me how it really works, and I am off to swim in a straight line instead of a circle (which would actually be much more difficult to do by compass…just saying. Perhaps I am actually advanced).

We do the rest of the dive down to see two sunken boats on the floor of the lake – some of the oddities sunken for our enjoyment. Tomorrow we have been promised a giant metal shark and an airplane. Definitely moving into the big leagues. A shark and an airplane is much cooler than two very similar boats.

A group of us decide to go have lunch in Terrell at a Mexican restaurant.

We actually had a group. They're just not in the picture.

Then it’s back to town to Lone Star Scuba to get our tanks refilled. Since everyone else from our class is there, it takes a little while. We check out this awesome frozen yogurt place across the parking lot called yogurTime (at Preston & LBJ). I have heard about these places, but not seen. You take a cup, fill it yourself from an amazing wall of delicious flavors, including bubble gum and taro (I did not have either) as well as pistachio (mmm). Then you add your own toppings, and they weigh it. You pay be the ounce. Cool!

Back to the lake tomorrow for just fun dives. I’m ready to chill in bed with a movie for a while now.

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