So on to Sunday. Back out to the same place, where our first activity was to learn
how to use the compasses we all bought. We stood in the parking lot and navigated to,
well, the other side of the parking lot. Or at least 20 feet from where we started.
Then we went back. A compass isn't that tough to use. :-) Then the task was to navigate
out to a tarp that had been set up, by setting the dial on the compass to point to it,
then swim along that line.
Initially we did this on the surface (dive 3). The tarp had dive flags on it, so we
could see where we were going, but we were to keep our heads underwater and swim at
or just below the surface. Not a big deal, 'cept we had to look up to see how far we
were from it. Then some more exercises, like the emergency ascent, where we go up
without breathing in. That's a fascinating feeling, you exhale all the way up. But
since the air is compressed at depth and expands as you rise, you can exhale all the
way up. Which makes perfect sense, but it's a weird feeling.
We swam back from that and found my wife and son on the shore, watching. It's not real
exciting watching a scuba class, since it's mostly underwater, but she did get the picture
of us on this page. We were tired by the end of dive 3, so rested for another hour
(keeping track of our dive time and nitrogen levels in our blood), and headed back for
The first thing we had to do was follow the same line with our compasses along the
bottom, where we couldn't look up. An instructor followed each team, but let them do
the navigating. The first duo that set out missed it by just enough (remember, the vis
was just a couple of feet, if that) to go on past it a good bit, but we think they got
moved by the current. There wasn't much current, but it didn't take much to miss a 10
foot tarp you can't see. The second duo missed it on the other side, overcompensating
for the current. We, I'll have you know, went right to it and nailed it. :-) A minor
feat, but a feat nontheless.
Then the last of the things we had to do as part of the test (all of which, by the way,
were the same things we'd done in the pool). Followed by an underwater navigation back
to shore. We missed that one a little bit, but not much, and we were done. Rebecca had
another bloody nose, and was really worn out, but we were certified! Hoot!
Now on to planning our first instructorless dive! We'll probably go to Monterey, because
it's supposed to be a good spot to dive. Some of the classes do their certification there.
And there will be more to see, the bottom of Lake Folsom has been compared to the surface
of the moon. But more boring.