Yesterday, I got to make up open water dives 2, 3, and 4 to complete my PADI Open Water Diver certification through Scuba Monkey Dive Center. I met my instructor at 8 am at Troy Springs State Park, and we waited a little bit for another girl who was also supposed to finish some make up dives to finish getting certified but she never showed. I do hope she is okay. It did make the day somewhat easier and quicker for me, though, since it meant that it was just me and my instructor. At about 8:30, we started putting our BCD kits together. It’s been almost a month since I last put together a BCD kit, but I was still able to do it. I would love to own my own BCD kit someday soon as I start diving more frequently. We walked down to the water and began our first dive of the day around 9-9:30 am. We worked a little bit on buoyancy, something I had a lot of trouble with during my first open water dive last month, and then went over to a shallow area to do some required SCUBA skills I still needed to practice doing in open water. I was able to practice finding my regulator if it were to have gotten knocked out of my mouth for whatever reason and we practiced buddy breathing again. This time we practiced the buddy breathing by offering our secondary air supply hose and surfacing. We also worked on my favorite skill (note the sarcasm): mask flooding and clearing. I was okay with clearing the mask after putting a little bit of water in, but flooding it completely was difficult. I had trouble actually getting myself to remove the mask completely to flood it, which is necessary to complete this skill. At this point, we decided to surface and take a break out of the water so I could warm up a bit. We practiced the tired diver tow while we were heading out of the water so we could get that skill out of the way before we finished dive one for the day. My instructor also used the break to adjust the amount of weights I had in my BCD kit from 12 lbs to 8 lbs.
After a thirty minute break, we got back in the water and swam over to our line using our compasses. I can now read and use a compass! When we got to our line we floated for a few minutes since we needed a few other divers to get off our line. Why there were other divers on our line, I don’t know but we were able to do finish the last of the surface skills I needed to do while we waited for them to go away. We borrowed a safety sausage from a fellow diver completing a rescue diver course, and I practiced blowing it up and then refolding it. We also did cramp release, which was simply a stretch to relieve cramps and switching from snorkel to regulator a few times at the surface. We also did the removal and replacing of our BCD kits at the surface. Once we finished these last few surface skills, we were able to use our line again and worked on buoyancy. Once I seemed to have some control over that, we swam back over the shallow area we’d been using to do the underwater skills , reading our compass during the swim, and I finally finished flooding and clearing my mask. Yay!! We decided to take another little break at this point and got something to drink. (Coffee and soda, apparently. Because water is overrated as a drink goes…LOL.)
For our last and final dive of the day, we simply worked on buoyancy control at different depths. I also worked on my kicking, keeping my legs straight with my knees locked. We swam around in a circle a few times, and I got to see a little baby turtle swimming on the bottom at one point. When we got to our lowest depth of 60 ft, my instructor purposely put a little water in my mask to see if I would remain calm in an emergency. I did, and when I wasn’t able to clear my mask completely, I signaled that we needed to ascend and we did, calmly and slowly. This was the point at which we finished our dive, and I recorded the proper information in my divers log book. He also took my picture next a fence that will go on my PADI Open Water Diver card I’ll get to put in my wallet once I receive it in the mail. I cannot wait.
I am so looking forward to future diving encounters, and so thankful my instructor was super patient with me in completing all of the skills. Now who wants to go diving? I know a great place we can rent our equipment from!
And if you haven’t already, check out my upcoming trip to Africa, where I’ll be diving with whale sharks this September – http://bit.ly/1MLWW67