Friday, October 24, 2014

Scuba Diving!!

So...scuba diving...something I have wanted to do since I was 12 years old.  Really.  At first, I was too poor to learn, then stuff kept getting in the way of my learning.  Every time I went to some exotic locale that had scuba diving (Thailand, Costa Rica, Bali), it was so dang expensive for lessons, plus, who wants to spend 4 or 5 days of their island vacation in a classroom setting watching videos and stuff? Not this gal!

So, here I am, in the UAE, a desert, right? Yes and no.  UAE is surrounded by other desert countries on 3 sides, but the fourth side is the Persian Gulf. And there is actually a lot of water in Abu Dhabi. Almost every street corner boasts huge fountains of sparkling water.  My theory is that water was worth more than gold for so long, that now that the country is richer than all of USA's founding fathers put together, they want to flaunt that wealth.  And what better way to do that then having sparkling fountains of splashing water in a desert?

Anyway, I digress.  So, being in the desert, scuba diving was actually the furthest thing from my mind.  I've been thinking more along the lines of desert camping.  But low and behold, I saw a facebook group for scuba diving! And there was a great deal for ADEC teachers! So of course, having an apartment almost completely devoid of furniture, and having no bath towels and no cabinets, what do I do? Purchase scuba diving lessons for me and the kid with my first paycheck! Don't tell me I don't have a healthy set of priorities!

So, training: We had to watch 5 videos, which was about 3 1/2, 4 hours (extremely boring!) then take a test, then there is 2 pool dives, another test on all 5 chapters of the book, and 4 open ocean dives to complete to become certified. I was excited for the pool dives but very nervous as well.  I've been snorkeling, and I don't like it.  There is constant water in your mouth with the snorkel and that feeling is just too weird.  But I had higher hopes for scuba diving.

Pool at One to One hotel, our classroom

So at the pool, our instructor tells us all about the very intimidating equipment; we put it together 3 times in a row, and then we got to put it on.  Have you ever tried to put on; a weight belt of 5 kilos, a BCD (buoyancy control device) vest tied to a tank of oxygen weighing at least that much or more, plus fins?! Then try to walk 4 feet to the pool?! It's almost impossible, I can tell you that!
My scuba gear is all packed up but it was a lot and heavy!

Once in the pool, we went over a few hand signals and things, then we put on our masks, let the air out of our bcd's and sank to the bottom ! Where we proceeded to stay for about 2 hours! Yes, 2 hours at the bottom of the pool! The pool was at a hotel so I know the guests were like, what the heck is going on there!

I was really worried about my mask and the breathing regulator getting water inside, but that didn't happen.  What did happen was me not sinking to the bottom of the pool!  Now, I am not being self deprecating at all, but I told the instructor (Poaula from Germany) that I would need a lot of weights because, and this is a proven fact of physics, f.a.t. floats! She was like, don't worry all will be fine. As I'm floundering around under water like a beached whale, unable to fully make it to the bottom yet not at the top either, I thought, see, I told you! I mean, I literally felt like a beached whale! I kept tipping over to the side, spinning around on my back. The air tank would bump the bottom of the pool and send me tipping the other way. I was waving one arm around to regain my balance, while the other arm is jerking on my bcd to keep me from tipping too far over, trying to keep my knees pointed down so I can kneel on the bottom of the pool and trying to signal to Poaula that I need more weights! All while continuing to breath slowly and deeply cus that's the first rule of scuba diving! She finally grabs my bcd and puts more weights in the pockets.  Yay, no more tippy tipster! I'm even feeling less beached whale and more yay, I got this! I'm even managing to kneel at the bottom of the pool; until my kid knocks me in the head with her fin!  Back to tippy tipster! Sigh.

First day down, still, not an enjoyable experience! But, determination will out!

Second day with Poaula, she had the weight thing down, luckily! So, I put my locks in a lower pony tail, put my mask and regulator on and lower myself into the pool.  But this time, somethings wrong! Immediately, as I start squeezing my nose to regulate my inner air spaces so my ears won't pop and my lungs explode (real fact! it could happen!), water starts to slowly seep into the mask and a layer of water is under my nose! And, the further I sink in the water, the more water flows into my mask, until my eyes are burning from the chlorine. And, if you have ever tried to breathe, you know that if your mouth is open, you are still breathing thru your nose as well.  So as I am breathing thru my mouth, there is water bubbling under my nose! Now, I know, in my head, that oxygen is obviously still getting into my lungs and not water, but having that bubbling under my nose is driving me crazy! I try to clear my mask under water like they taught us, and the water just keeps on pouring in. Then I finally resurface to empty my mask and try again.  Worse this time! Water is pouring in faster than a college student can collect beads on mardi gras! I finally figure out the lower pony tail is the culprit, I fix my hair, but there is still water coming into the mask. Sigh, I just decide to go with it and for the entire hour and half lesson, I'm breathing thru water in my nose.

So, second day of scuba, not the best either.  I can only hope that once I'm in the open ocean I will love it!

Ciao for now!

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