Practice, Practice, Practice!

This is me practicing my mask removal & replace skill for my PADI Open Water qualification. Yes, I’m a wuss…I hold my nose until I’m comfortable with a) breathing through my regulator without my mask in place (those bubbles feel a little strange coursing over your uncovered face and eyes!) and b) psyching myself up a little to let go and trust that I won’t breathe in through my nose.

When I’m comfortable breathing in through my mouth and then move onto finding my nose piece and pushing the strap over the front of the mask so it doesn’t get tangled when I put the mask back on,  I must admit that I go a little ‘zen’!

Next weekend, I’ll be practicing this skill wearing my neoprene hood and gloves – we’ll be wearing drysuits at Capenwray at the end of the month as it’s going to be a little chilly! One thing I can’t prepare myself for is the shock of cold water on my unprotected face when I have to remove my mask during one of the qualification dives, but if I get the mechanics of this skill to be second-nature, the cold will be just be the motivation I need to get a wiggle on and get the mask on and cleared in record time! 🙂

I also had a go at the pesky detach and reattach of the BCD hose skill…

Pesky as it took me a while to get the knack of what to do again… pull back the spring-cuff to detach it, then pull it back again to get it onto the connection but then pushing forwards to get the ‘click’ to show it’s connected properly.  My fingers were a tad sore – the video is my fourth attempt…

Next week, it’ll be practicing that skill with my neoprene gloves on as we’re gluttons for punishment and have decided to do our Drysuit Specialty (yes that’s spelt right…PADI are American…) after we pass our Open Water. We’ll already have done our Open Water qualification dives in drysuits so just a few more skills to demonstrate!

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Adventures in Scuba Diving Part 2

So Saturday comes, and finds us at Robin Hood Watersports for the first half of our PADI Open Water Course – the ‘confined’ element ie done in a pool.  Part classroom, part practical, these two days let you get to grips with all the skills you need to complete your Open Water Certification – the second half of which is done in true ‘open water’ at a old quarry at Capernwray near Carnforth.

By the end of the two days, we would have covered (this isn’t an exhaustive list by the way…) :

  • How to set up and breakdown your kit
  • Breathing underwater
  • How to purge your regulator
  • Regulator removal and recovery
  • Clearing of a half and fully flooded mask
  • Sharing air with your buddy via your spare regulator
  • Swimming with your buddy while they’re using your spare regulator
  • Swimming underwater without a mask
  • Fin pivots
  • Neutral buoyancy
  • Hovering
  • Removing your weights whilst at the surface and underwater
  • Removing your BCD and putting it back on, both at the surface and underwater
  • Safe Ascending and Descending
  • plus many other skills and techniques!

My biggest worries were around filling and clearing my mask – or more specifically, breathing underwater with either my mask full of water or indeed, without my mask at all.

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