Ok. So we had gotten in the water. Our instructor told us to put our fins on. Once he thought we had he went on to explain about…. but wait! He is the lone female all but falling in the water struggling with her damn fins. After showing me and (thankfully someone else) an easier way to do things we learned about inflating and deflating our vests. Next we learned to clear our masks if we got water in them. (I got a lot of water up my nose from this one.). Then how to use our air and how to find our mouthpiece if we somehow lose it (say it gets kicked or hit away by a floundering classmate…). Then we get to practice all this underwater.
I have a hell of a time purging my mask. As it turns out it is too big. So water was constantly sneaking in and I couldn’t get a good seal. (Mom got my stuff for me as a surprise so guessed at sizes.) Worse was remembering to let the air out of my vest so I could sink. Once I had that down I found myself being gently rolled over (usually backwards). I am constantly struggling to right myself and then show that I can do the mask purge. Then for the dreaded moment. I have to pull the air from my mouth underwater so I can “find” it again. The first few tries I hurriedly pull it out then frantically try to find it to put it back in. My brain kept screaming “You have no air you idiot! You’re going to drown!” I finally do it the right way and surface.
Once everyone has done it we are told to swim around underwater for a few minutes to get the feel of things. Sounds easy enough. Except I keep forgetting to hold my hose up as I push the button to deflate my vest. And I can’t seem to get used to breathing under water. I freak and force myself to stay under then I flounder to the surface. And I try again. My instructor see me having issues and comes to help. He gets me calmed (ha ha) and we go for a swim together. Just to the pier and back. Now something cool happened while I was under water. A fish swam with me. Didn’t seem spooked or anything (and with all of us moving around in the water you’d think it would keep wildlife away). In that moment I forgot my issues and thought, “How cool is this!”
Once the fish disappeared I wondered how far out I’d gone since I didn’t remember seeing and pier legs. So I surface and of damn! A bit too far. So I submerge again and head back toward the group. Not sure where I am I pop up randomly to see where everyone else is. Our instructor gets us all together again. We are going diving. He gives us our diving buddy, tells us in what order to follow him and we head down.
It was all quite beautiful despite my struggles to stay underwater. Up until I couldn’t get my left ear to pop. My right one did no problem. My left just kept filling with pressure and getting painful. My instructor kept checking on us and I signaled my problem and we all resurfaced. On the way up my ear finally popped. One of the other guys had the same problem with the same ear. We were told to head back toward shore and practice while everyone else continued the dive.
Well I dinked around half-heartedly because I was seriously thinking this whole thing was a bad idea for me. Finally the rest of the class came back and we headed in. Everyone was able to get their fins off. But me. So I said screw it and tried to head in anyway. No joy. I ended up kneeling in the water trying to get the damn things off. Finally my instructor heads out. Just as I am getting them off. Completely dispirited I head for my car to strip my gear off. Once that is done I ask my instructor to help with my tank because I don’t think I’m doing it right (I wasn’t). I finish putting everything back in my bin and load up my Jeep. Instead of getting the free food that the other divers had brought (diving really does burn enough energy to make you very hungry) I headed back to the shop.
I only got lost once and it really wasn’t lost I just turned right instead of left. Once back at the shop I thought about just going home and calling it quits. Then I got a text from a good friend telling me he’d had a stroke. My heart sank even further.
One by one everyone started to arrive. We spent time unloading gear and putting it away before we headed to the classroom. All the guys were really supportive trying to make sure I stayed. We ran through the rest of the chapter and rehashed what we covered in the water for the next hour or so. Exhausted we all headed home.
I couldn’t go to bed right away (Stella has two accidents) so I didn’t get to bed til much later than I should’ve. We’ll see how tonight goes. It can’t get any worse. Right?