Learning To Dive

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I had a couple of roommates in college (in the early 80's) that were divers, and it sounded like fun, but not enough to actually go do it back then. I had other things to worry about. :-) SO I stuck it in the back of my mind that I'd have to go do that someday.

Someday came recently (in the early 00's) when a friend of ours, Rebecca, wanted to get certified. Her husband, Mike, is a surfer (that's him with the broken leg - that's another story), and for various reasons (not the leg) wasn't able to take the class with her. She called my wife and asked her if she wanted to take the class with her and be dive buddies and stuff. Well, my wife doesn't get along well with boats, so she declined, but remembering the first paragraph above, suggested Rebecca ask me.

Well, she did, and I was so enthusiastic that I wonder if it was just a passing fancy on her part that suddenly I forced her into doing! ;-) But the gauntlet was tossed, so off we went. She had already been researching dive schools, and had come up with Dolphin Scuba in Sacramento. It had a good reputation, so off we went for info.

The choices for class were varied, and listing them here would be too boring even for me, so cutting to the chase we signed up for a two week class, 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday, then a weekend of dives at Lake Folsom. Two dives per day at the lake, which is what's required for the PADI Open Water Certification.

This was an accelerated class, so there was homework involved. Bookwork and video tapes. We watched 'em all and did all the homework. We also had to get what they refer to as "personal items" as far as gear. You need to have your own mask, snorkel, fins, and boots. I guess it's better not to rent or share those things. Anyway, next was waiting like 3 weeks for class. :-) I hate waiting. But classtime finally got there.

The classroom stuff was basically going over what we'd learned from the book and videos, to make sure we actually new it. Stuff on air compression, basic how-to's, and what we'll actually do in the pool. We did about half the first class in the classroom, and all classroom on the third night. The rest was pool, which is for a later story.

The second week of class we were supposed to rent the gear for the openwater dives. No big deal, except for trying on the wet suit. I tried on an Extra Large, and it was a [major pain] to get into. They're supposed to be tight so not a lot of water exchanges place in there and saps heat. But the rental guy said it was too loose, and I should try a Large. I thougth he was nuts, but figured he knew better than I did how they're supposed to fit.

So I squeezed my bigger-than-a-large carcass into this suit, and they all blessed it as fitting like it's supposed to. I felt like I'd been wrapped in a big rubber suit, with my arms sticking straight out and unable to move my legs. Well, no, not that bad, but it was tight. Apparently not too tight, though. More on that later (insert ominous music here).

The third night of class we had to take a test - we'd been taking tests all along, but this one counted. I forget how many you could miss, something like 10 or 12. Between us, Rebecca and I missed 3. I won't tell you who missed two and who only missed one, cuz that would be bragging. ;-) But the ones we missed were either worded funny or we read them wrong. Neither of us had any lack of comprehension.

Ok, the one I missed I just plane got wrong, ok?

Anyway, off to the pool, where we learned just how fast we could go through 2000 psi of air.

Next: The Pool Dives

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