“I am learning to scuba dive for a vacation in Mexico.”
“I am taking this class so that I can dive during a trip to the Philippines.”
“My family goes to the Caribbean every winter, so I want to be able to dive there with my sister and Dad who are already certified.”
Everyone in my Open Water Course with Boston Scuba had exciting reasons to learn to dive and big plans to head to exotic, tropical locations for their check-out dives. Most of them professed that they’d never want to swim, even in Boston’s water, because of the cold temperatures and limited visibility.
I was the last one reached in the circle as we went around explaining our reason for attending the introductory class, “I am learning to dive for a trip through the Northwest Passage,” I said and looked out into a room of surprised faces.
In order to prepare for the start of the Sedna Epic Expedition through the Northwest Passage next summer, I will be taking as many scuba diving classes as I can get my hands on. The first course for beginners is the “Open Water Course,” which trains you in two classroom sessions, two confined water dives, and two open water dives.
At my Dad’s recommendation, the night before the class, I was careful to watch several episodes of “Sea Hunt” to supplement my education.
After a classroom session and a swim test to make sure we weren’t going to drown by accident while learning to scuba dive, our teacher had us assemble and disassemble our scuba gear several times for practice. Finally, all sweating in our wet suits, we put on the full accouterments one last time. The set ups weighed about forty pounds.
It was a relief to finally step into the pool water.
They say you will never forget your first breaths underwater. Mine were in the pool of a Middle School in East Boston renowned for its “band aid fish” and underwater hairband collection.
We started by going through a handful of skills. After practicing snorkel/regulator exchange and clearing out masks underwater, the teacher had us experiment with buoyancy until we all had achieved neutral buoyancy and were floating in the water, rising and falling with each breath. It was incredible.
During our second day of confined water diving, we practiced cramp removal, the tired dive tow, getting into the water without the help of a ladder and a few other skills.
The Padi book we had all read in preparation for our Open Water Diving Certification had described Scuba Diving as being like flying. I was skeptical. I’ve been swimming before. How different would this be? But soon enough we were all swimming around like otters – floating upside down, flipping around, sitting cross legged, hovering in the middle of the pool – what fun they must have!
Next stop? The ocean!