We are leaving for our cruise in less than 2 days!!! I am so excited but am definitely feeling the last-minute rush! I know everything will come together though. We have a ride to the airport (thanks, Christine!) and have arranged for Allie to be fed. Mail is stopped, laundry is in the last stages, luggage is pulled out, items have been gathered so as not to be forgotten. We are definitely in trip mode! So, all you faithful blog readers can think of us as we're fully enjoying ourselves over the next week and look forward to the next post! Have a wonderful week, everybody!!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Well, we did it!! We finished our two "fun dives" today and have spent a total of 101 minutes under water!! The deepest we got was 60 feet down (that's the limit SSI would let us go in this class). We saw lots of starfish (orange, purple, red, 5-arm, sunstars, etc), lots of rock crabs, a couple of kelp crabs, some little snails, a group of crabs tearing apart a fish-that was COOL, and an octopus! The octopus was hiding so we only saw a leg and an eye, but it was definitely there! It was very strange to think about all that water between me and the surface, but it was fun. I didn't get nearly as cold today, although my fingers were somewhat numb by the time we were done with our second dive. Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post, learning to dive is totally worth the time and effort! It really is beautiful under the ocean, and we miss so much by just staying at the surface (the book we read likened it to going to the circus but only looking at the outside of the tent). Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of us with all our gear on, but one of the DiveCons did, so hopefully I can get those from her and get 'em posted. We looked like some kind of weird superhero...is there an Aquaman already? If not, there should be and that's what all cold-water divers should use as their mascot! :) Our certification cards will be coming in the mail (I'm assuming), and then everything will be ship-shape. Yay for diving!!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Class is finished, test is taken (100%!!), paperwork is turned in, and one open-water dive is done! We are definitely in the home stretch of getting certified! We have done all the skills we need to do, and tomorrow brings just two "fun dives" plus 2 little things that we didn't fit in today.
Let me tell you, that water is COLD!! The wetsuit really does an amazing job keeping you warm, but the water is still in direct contact with your face, and, at the end of our second dive today, I was actually taking water into the regulator with each breath because my lips were too numb to keep a tight seal! The outside temperature was around 39 degrees, and the water temp. was 41 degrees! It actually did spit some snow, and then, about an hour after we got out of the water, it started hailing:
Crazy, crazy weather! But, I've been told that if I can dive in these conditions, I can dive anywhere. It was pretty cool seeing all the stuff just sitting at the bottom of Puget Sound (a rusted-out VW Bug, a boat frame, a dishwasher-I think, starfish, crabs, fish-though not that many where we were, etc). I've heard from several people that diving in the Pacific Northwest is actually some of the best diving anywhere, so that's pretty cool. I still think I'd rather be floating lazily along in just a dive-skin looking at tropical fish and coral reefs rather than be held back by a huge wetsuit and all this extra gear that's necessary for cold-water diving. Maybe we'll move to Hawaii...:) Anyway, all this to say, cold-water diving is not nearly as bad as I was picturing it, and I would definitely encourage anyone interested to find a class and sign up! Oh, and make sure you find a class where the instructors (or at least one of them) have a sense of humor and can make the whole process fun. It's so nice to have someone experienced who can take your mind off of any anxieties you might have. You end up just doing what needs to be done without really thinking about it because your instructor is sticking his tongue out at you the whole time or making you play patty-cake with him (all underwater of course). Things like that are what make the class...:) One more day of diving and I will be a Level 1 diver! (Don't get too excited, that's just 5 dives and the levels go all the way up to 5,000 dives!)
Sunday, April 13, 2008
We passed the pool tests!!! The swim test was actually really easy (8 laps just sounds like a lot, it's really not that bad). I tried for the first lap to do the "real" swimming by using the breaststroke, but man, that takes a LOT of energy! So, about 1/4 of the way into my 2nd lap, I turned over and just backstroked the rest of the way. I probably could have kept going several more laps easily. Then we were able to tread water for 10 minutes (the instructors brought a couple of balls over so it wasn't like we were just floating there with nothing to do!). Then we just did a whole bunch of skills the rest of the time. We learned what to do if our regulators come out of our mouths (lean to the right, sweep your arm around and find the regulator, put it in your mouth and purge by either 1) blowing out if you still have enough air, or 2)push the purge valve on the regulator to clear the water out), how to clear water from our masks, which will come in handy whether we're snorkling or diving (press the top of the mask against your forhead and lift the bottom part of the mask away from your nose and blow until all the water is gone), and how to breathe in the water without the mask on (it's harder than you might imagine!). We did all these skills in the shallow end and then moved to the deep end (about 12 ft). Then today, we practiced more of that, and also added 1)ditching the weight belt, 2)emergency ascents (both swimming and bouyant), and 3)buddy breathing/buddy tow. So, I'm feeling pretty comfortable with everything at this point, but the rest test will be next weekend when we do our open water dives...assuming we actually get to go next weekend. The forcast is calling for snow, and apparently we'll have to reschedule if that actually happens. Anyway, it's all going really well. I got cold about half-way through our time yesterday and went ahead and put my wetsuit on. It helped a TON and today I just started out with it and everything was great. Tyler got cold about half-way through each day, but they didn't give the guys wetsuits for the pool, so he just had to get movin' to get warm :) So, we're half-way done!! Just one more week and we'll be certified!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
So, we're heading to the pool in about 2 hours, but I wanted to post this link to a story they gave us to read. It is really hilarious and made me laugh out loud several times. Hope you enjoy seeing in print what we're going to experience in real life! :)
Friday, April 11, 2008
Well, we had our second class and things are looking good! I'm still a little nervous about everything, but I think it'll be fun. Last night, we learned how to dress a diver...so, without further ado, here is how to dress a diver for warm-water diving (for the pool, in our case):
This is what I will wear under the wetsuit:
This is the shorty wetsuit for the pool:
Then you add the weight belt:
Then you add the BC/Air Tank:
Then you add fins (you're actually supposed to have your boots on already, but I forgot :D):
Then you add the mask and snorkle:
Now we're ready to dive!! I'll take some more pictures when we get our cold-water wetsuits! It's hard enough to move in this little one...it's hard to imagine having ANY dexterity in the 7MM Farmer John/Jane! Plus, we'll be wearing 5MM gloves and a hood!! Saturday will bring the first pool session and with it, our first real test. We have to swim 200 meters without stopping in order to pass the course, as well as tread water for 10 minutes with no floatation devices. We can use any swim style we want and it's not timed, so hopefully it won't be a big deal. Anyway, more posts as things progress!
P.S. All that gear is HEAVY!!!! I'm looking forward to being weightless in the water as opposed to just adding about 50 pounds and walking around!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Last night was our first class in the series of 4. We basically talked about the Total Diving System and what makes that up. We talked about proper placement of the snorkle on the mask (near the back of the strap where it starts to split) and the coldness of the water (45-50 degress) and dry suits vs. wet suits. It was a pretty dry night (no pun intended), but it's hard to liven up "This is the mask. This is the snorkle." etc. There was also quite a bit of paperwork that needed to be filled out which took a lot of time. Thursday, we're getting fitted with our BC's and weights for the pool this weekend. I'll keep you updated, but one down at least! :)