Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Bubbles and Ear Troubles

My husband Tim and I got our gear together and met up with J.D. Emerson from BC Xtreme Sports at the Danville YWCA for our confined water classes. Joining J.D. were two of his instructors, Mike Bennet, and Shad Newman. Not long after we arrived, we were suited up in our diving gear and began to learn the necessary skills for our first open water dive. With three instructors and two students, there was lots of one-on-one instruction which made for much easier learning.

The skills that we learned weren't all that difficult. We learned to clear a full mask while under water, how to share air with a dive buddy that was out of air, and how to do a fin pivot (a little more challenging). We also had to take off our BDC and put it back on while submerged. I had only one small incident at the pool. I was having difficulty equalizing my left ear. I tried several times before my ear actually cleared and was able to decend to the full 12 feet of the pool. A little more on that later...

After about an hour and a half, we left the YWCA and were finally on our way to the J.M.R. Quarry in Blanch, NC. The quarry was beautiful, the water clear, and several catfish came up to the dock in hopes of being fed.

We donned our scuba gear and got into the water for our first of four open water dives before certification. Our fist dive was a "fun dive". The only purpose was to look around and enjoy the scenery. We saw many different species of fish as well as directional signs, an airplane hull, and there was even a Suzuki motorcycle that sat on the bottom of the quarry. I just had to hop on for a ride :P

I really enjoyed this dive and now know that scuba is something that I want to do for a very long time to come!

***I want to send out a special thank you to Shad for taking these pics for me. Didn't he do an amazing job? And he was even using a disposable waterproof camera from Wal-Mart! I'm pretty impressed with how they turned out!***

Our first dive lasted 28 minutes and we surfaced for an hour to enjoy a couple of hot dogs and fill out our diver's logs. (Great hot dogs by the way, J.D. Thanks!).

After an hour's surface interval, we began our second dive of the day. This time entry was a bit different. We did a giant step forward off the dock. I was a little worried about this because of the problems my back gives me, but I was able to do it without incident!

On the way to the bottom of the quarry, though, I had trouble with my ear again. I tried and tried but was still unable to equalize my left ear. As I was trying to do that, my weight belt started sliding off of my waist and before I knew it, it was around my knees and impossible to recover. The weight belt finally slid completely off of me and floated to the bottom of the quarry, as I, having no weight to keep me down, began to float to the top. Mike, one of the instructors, dove down to the bottom to recover my weights (SORRY MIKE !!!).

This incident ended my dive for the day, and unfortunately it ended it for Saturday as well. My left ear was ultimately diagnosed as infected Sunday and it will now be two weeks before I can complete the third and fourth dives to get my certification. I will be updating when I do get certified!

I have to tell you though, despite having trouble with my ear, I had one of the best times of my life my first time diving. I can't wait until my ear has cleared up to finish up my certification and to begin a LONG journey under the sea.

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