Open Water Dives 1 & 2

Saturday, May 1, 2004, at Folsom Lake, specifically Browns Ravine. A little inlet that is 20 or so feet deep, and other than really bad visibility, a good place to dive. Oh, except that there's absolutely nothing in there but dirt...

We were supposed to be there at 9:00am, and got there horribly early. 8:30, I think, but it felt horribly early. We weren't first, though. :-) A couple of the other guys from class were there. There were going to be others there that we didn't know, and some of our classmates had gone off to Hawaii to do their open water dives. Weeners.

Eventually everyone shows up, and we go over what we're going to do. The first dive isn't much more than go underwater and see what it's like. Which is good, I doubt anyone on their first dive is in a mind set to do any of the tasks. It's just time to look around! I think we did one thing, drop the reg or something simple. But mostly it was just to look around.

They took us in small groups, so the instructors didn't have an impossible task in keeping us all alive. We went out in a group of 4 with the instructor and went down. Didn't do much, but got to 20 feet. And a lake bottom isn't like a dirt road. It's silty, so any movement kicks up a gob of very fine wet dirt into the water, reducing the visibility to almost nothing. They tell us when we get to someplace with 10 feet of visibility we'll think it's great!

So we come up from dive one, and Rebecca has blood in her mask. Not much, but she got a bloody nose. I told her she had blood in her mask, and she replied "You do, too!" I yanked off my mask and checked my nose, but didn't find any blood... I checked again, and seemed fine, and the conversation eventually rolled around to her bloody mask. She seemed surprised, and said "_I_ had blood in my mask?" The instructor said yes, but that it's not that uncommon, and as long as she felt ok she could go on. She looked at me and said "Is that what you were trying to tell me?" I said yes, and she lauged. I asked her what she meant when she said I had blood, too, if she didn't realize what I was saying, and she said she thought I said she had a booger in her mask... Great, I thought, I was swimming around with a little visitor in my facemask, and everybody knew it but me. Wheeee! :-)

Since clearing your mask is basically blowing air out your nose so it displaces the water in your mask, "diving nuggets" aren't all that uncommon, either. Rah. I'll have to figure out how to keep kleenex dry in a wet suit...

Dive #2, about an hour later. This time we had a set of tasks to go through, like the mask clearing and hovering and whatever. We got through it, though I think half the class wasn't looking forward to taking the mask off and putting it back on and clearing it step. But we made it. Then we were to go up to the surface and do a set of tasks there, as well. Like removing the BCD and putting it back on, tired diver tow, things like that.

Rebecca and I got up to the surface and swam over to the surface-task-dude. I was tired, but we'd been swimming and I had this massive weight on my back and I'm a fat old guy, so I didn't think anything of it. By the time we got into the second surface task, I was breathing pretty heavily, and starting to think I might need to take a break before I hyperventelated. Well, it was too late, I was too far gone by then, and got to do the remove the gear thing in a big hurry to get my danged suit open enough for me to breathe! I was tyring to do the paper-bag-over-the-mouth thing with my hands, but I don't think it was that successful. The instructor got my suit open enough for me to get my breathing back under control, and I was able to finish the class.

But when we took the tanks back to the store to get them refilled, I exchanged the Large suit for an extra-large, and the next day didn't have any problems breathing OR being cold. And the larget suit was more comfortable in the water and out. I was still the same old fat guy carrying around wight, but was fine, so I still think it was the suit being too tight that brought it all on.

So Saturday passed, and we were both tired and worn out, but doing ok. We washed all the stuff, got the tanks refilled, and rested waiting for the big day we'd get certified!

Next: Open Water Dives 3 and 4

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