It may be the lamest of the Van Halen albums (well, ok, maybe III was) but it’s a great title for a scuba related blog post!
I completed my PADI Open Water certification yesterday and saw a shark, and a puffer fish, and a moray eel… It was awesome. I can easily see why people get hooked on diving. Although in terms of my hobbies or interests I think it’s going to remain on the back burner. Between shooting and cycling and motors and cooking and writing… I can imagine making a special trip to dive the Great Barrier Reef because that would be like visiting the pyramids or Great Wall of China. But aside from that, I don’t think I’ll ever plan a vacation specifically for diving; I’ll simply go diving if it’s available where I am.
It wasn’t without issues. I have a lot of trouble equalizing on the way down, had to descend very slowly and suspect it was due to impacted ear wax. I’m not deaf now, but my hearing is still occluded and I’m having to use ear drops. I used so little air and impressed my diving instructor the first day that he had told the instructor I had the second day. (If I say it, it’s bragging. When somebody else says it, it’s true.) Unfortunately, I had some issues with tank-inflating the bladders on my buoyancy vest: I was weighted so heavily I kept sinking, couldn’t establish neutral buoyancy, and had to constantly tread water instead of floating. I burned through my air tank so fast I was disappointed and had to manually inflate my vest at the surface.
Still, seeing starfish and nudibranchs and sea urchins… It was incredible. I’ve never really trusted the idea of letting something else “breathe for me”, but after seeing the cutaways and diagrams of how regulators work I have complete faith in them. The safety and training from the Dive Masters was superb. The only thing preventing a lot of people from enjoying diving is getting mentally worked up about it. But if I can swim and dive with just a regulator, no mask, than anyone can. It’s scary, but conquering your fears is incredible. And swimming to the surface from 9 meters only exhaling as the air expanded out of my lungs was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done