SCUBA is hard!
I thought it was going to be hard for different reasons than it is. I knew I’d have issues with the whole ‘lack of control’ bit, the being in an environment where you screw up and things are exponentially worse than when you’re in a place where even if you fell from a height and shattered a bone or 5 and on landing couldn’t draw breath you still have a more than decent chance of making it through. I knew about the secondary air supply and how to get it, or at least how to make sure you are near someone that can see you need it and make it happen. I’ve read about diving adventures gone wrong and decompression chambers in remote locations… gorgeous, warm and most beautiful locations!
What I didn’t know, and didn’t even guess at, was that your face has the channels that drive water straight into your mask and up your nose! That didn’t happen when I was snorkeling! Turns out there are multitudes of places this can happen (Google is not always your friend people), but in my specific case I THINK I’ve figured out its my lips. When you get old, or at least when a woman gets old (I honestly don’t know whether this happens to men and am NOT Googling to find out sorry) you get lines above your lips that channel straight to your nostrils when you blow (or “purge”) or pout or purse your lips… And then there are your laugh lines, which is slightly disastrous if you have the inclination to smile at people to indicate you’re okay. And it hurts! Not necessarily the first time, but after a while it’s really quite painful. And then there’s the whole swapping mouth pieces and purging and swapping back… I’m struggling with this a lot.
Anyway – to start. We all got to the pool in good time and met up for a coffee before hand, which was lovely! Kilbirnie pool has a cafe – they’re not quick but they are good and have a decent range of food. None of us really wanted to eat because we really didn’t know what was coming up. So the four of us (Duane’s kids are going to do this in the holidays – we’re doing this on my kids mutual day off – retail sucks for weekends.) went and met Elliot and Dani.
We got our gear sorted and in to our wetsuits and started in the small pool – slightly frustrating for the giant as even on his knees his head was out of the water but good for the rest of us. I was almost immediately behind – I really hate being special! But had the nose issues pretty much from the start. And Elliot immediately knew that all was not right even though I was signalling okay madly hoping that I could just move on.
Elliot and Dani were fantastic in their persistence and patience and we had a good first session really – the worst part was trying to be on your knees in the water! That’s really hard on muscles that are rarely used in actual life. I also had the problem where I couldn’t sink. I’m a champion floater but for whatever reason I could not go down. Issue when diving
Dani weighted me down muchly and off we went, it was good. Honestly don’t remember lots about the first part of being underwater except that breathing wasn’t the freaky thing I thought it would be and that trying to balance was insane. And then we were out and into the 2 & 5 metre lanes. Awesome!
We did the buddy alternate breathing thing – swapping out your regulator for your buddy’s alternate – and the taking out your regulator and blowing bubbles, swapping it for your snorkel etc and then the filling up your mask with water and emptying it while still under. Did it! Absolutely hated it! And that’s where I ended really.
By this stage my nose was becoming a real issue. Dani and Elliot got me to try several masks and some were more successful than others. In the end Elliot took the others for lessons while Dani tried to sort me out.
Honestly at this stage I was nearly in tears – of all the things I thought that would stop me diving it was not my stupid nose or the wrinkles that went into them. Or the fact that after a while I was in absolute panic mode every time I went down and my nostrils started to fill. Insane!
So I sat the rest of it out – floated on the surface with my mask and snorkel watching under water and trying VERY hard not to make eye contact so I wouldn’t smile accidentally.
But… I was not going to bloody give up at this stage of the freaking game!
The others had been steaming on – it was awesome 🙂 Duane had the remnants of a cold and had sinus issues, but had kept on keeping on and they were all very stoked with their time in the pool. Not sure if I mentioned this but both Elliot and Dani were VERY cool – so patient and absolutely clear in their explanations and expectations.
Elliot suggested I go see Dave and get him to help me get a mask that fits properly and that would make a huge difference. And I did. The next day went to Island Bay and got myself a mask and snorkel with Dave’s guidance and then was like yeah and how do I know it works.
So my girl and I went to the pool – a couple of times actually. And spent time underwater smiling, pouting and taking the snorkel out and putting it back in… anything we could think of to feel more comfortable with this stuff underwater. And it worked! It made such a difference – thank you chick!
Oh – and the other thing! It freaking hurts! Your whole body hurts – my theory is that you’re constantly in motion and water resistance is high and so after a couple of hours you’ve actually done a huge amount of exercise that you don’t feel until you get out of the water. Worst is shoulders and neck, though thighs are a close second 😀 And the result of that is that Duane and I have both started exercising, though in different ways. I did ask Kane if he had hurt after but apparently not. Pretty sure he’s comfortable lying to me, but I suspect his gym body is used to pain. I do know that my kids went home and had a nap straight after the pool. Duane and I went home and logged into work and bitched about how sore and absolutely tired we are…
So this is my new friend which I am using every day (so far) and actually loving.
This diving thing is a terrible idea