I’ve completed the first part of scuba diving lessons. (Imagine a Snoopy dance here.) My family and I are taking a trip to the Caribbean soon, and we want to dive there. I learned to dive as a teenager, but needed a refresher course, so my husband, son and I recruited two other friends and have been taking lessons. The lessons consist of classroom work and then several hours practicing in a swimming pool, good for practice because of the lack of sharks. The pool part is mainly learning how to deal with potential problems, much like pilots go through simulator training. The biggest disaster, of course, would be running out of air, so diving equipment consists of two regulators (the part you breathe through), one for you, and one for your dive buddy if they need it.
To train for sharing air, the instructor turned off my tank while we were underwater, so I could feel what it was like to try to breathe without air. You can’t do it. It wasn’t a great feeling. I had to signal to my dive buddy I needed air, by making a slashing motion across my throat, wait for him to unhook his spare regulator, and give it to me so I could get it in my mouth. I still couldn’t take a breath yet, because the next step is to clear the regulator of water by pushing a button on it, and then finally, air! At least this is better than the diving I did as a teenager. Back then, the equipment didn’t come with spare regulators, so we had to practice sharing air off one regulator. This consisted of rather panicked people at the bottom of the swimming pool passing a regulator back and forth, never quickly enough to make anyone happy.
Now that we’ve passed the first part of the course, we can do the rest of the training on our trip. We’ll have to demonstrate some skills in open water, and then we’re off to explore.