(Final) Practice, Practice, Practice…!

Ok so I’m a bit of a worrier, a fretter, an exam/test hater…

(OK OK…I can hear the ‘oh REALLY?? I never would have said THAT!’ comments from here! 🙂 )

So for the past few weeks since completing the confined part of our PADI Open Water course, we’ve been practicing like little demons at Robin Hood Watersports.  They actually don’t mind slightly manic, worrywarts (yes that’s a real word!) spending lots of time in their pool.  (Did I mention they’re a fantastic group of folks? 🙂 )

I’m pleased to say that my mask removal / replacement has become a lot easier (hoooray!!!) and regulator recovery, free flowing regulator, taking kit on and off at the surface, out-of-air simulations, detaching and reattaching our inflator hose etc all appear to be under control!

Buoyancy…now that’s a different story –  I FLOAT… BIG time…I could be a human life raft… so trying to find that ‘sweet spot’ between sinking like a stone when I breathe out from all the addtiional weight I carry in my BCD pockets, and rising to the top when I breathe in normally is proving elusive.  Oh and my feet float. Alot.  Add floaty fins and my feet – well they’re constantly not where I want them to be in the water!  But hey!  I’ll get there… just hope I can hover long enough at Capernwray to get a ‘pass’ on that skill 🙂

So this Saturday sees us at our last practice session before our Open Water qualification next weekend.  We’ll be adding our neoprene hoods and gloves into the mix.  Did I tell you we’ll be doing our qualification in DRYSUITS??? (A flooded quarry in Carnforth… in March… we’ve gotta be INSANE!)  So that’s a few final practices of the inflator hose bit with neoprene gloves on, and of course more mask practices but this time adding in the fact that you need to get your neoprene-clad fingers under your neoprene wetsuit hood edge so you can make sure your mask seals to your face properly…!  Should be interesting!

Our trip to the Maldives is certainly helping me keep me focussed – I’m going on that holiday as a qualified PADI Open Water Diver even if I have to redo some of my skills several times during the particular dive i have to do them in (in a quarry, in a drysuit…in March…)  I apologise in advance to anyone else reading this that might be in my group that day – hopefully I won’t keep you guys hanging around in the too long while I finish off!

There will of course be one (ok maybe two) more watches of the PADI DVD before next weekend…

Ok Ok… comment away…under your breath please… (At least I’ll have an idea why my ears are burning!)

Worrywart Finister signing off 😉

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!

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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Adventures in Scuba Diving Part 1

We’re lucky enough to be going back to the Maldives in May, and wanted to get our masks, snorkels and fins sorted so off we trotted to Robin Hood Watersports at Heckmondwike.

We’d done a try-dive with a local company here in Morley before our first trip to the Maldives back in 2001, but I got a terrible pain in my ear when descending which put the fear of god in me, so that brought my foray into the world of scuba diving to an abrupt end.  Since then I’d been very nervous of trying it again, happy with floating over the deep rather than being ‘in’ it.  Mike hadn’t had any problems with the trial, he really enjoyed it in fact, but we’re the type of couple that when we do things, we do them together, so Mike didn’t take it any further.

However, that all changed when we got chatting to Damian and his wife Sally.   Within less than half an hour, it became obvious Damian is PASSIONATE about diving – not just doing it,  but teaching it – and it’s infectious.

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