Showing up at the first day of scuba class and not knowing what the heck is going on*, I walked into class expecting to swim.  Before going, I questioned Dear Friend who had gone through the class two years prior…”No problem, just show up and be ready to scuba!  You’ll have great fun!”

I walk in to find out that, not only do we not swim yet, but the first hour-plus a classroom lesson, I had homework due! 

Crap.  Not a good way to start.

Next thing I noticed was that there were only two students…myself and a 15-year-old who I automatically hated because he’d already done the homework…little bastard.  Having only two students can be a good thing or a bad thing…

Good thing is that you get a lot of personalized attention from the instructor in helping you learn the fine art of scuba diving.

Bad thing is that you get a lot of personalized attention from the instructor in pointing out all the mistakes—including not doing your homework—in the fine art of scuba diving.

Oh well…

To make things more fun, there are two… count ‘em… two instructors in the class for the two students.  Actually, the other instructor is getting his qualification to instruct on his own and has to teach classes while observed by a certificated instructor.  Again, lots of personalized attention. 

After going through two chapters of lessons, the instructor says, “Let’s swim!” 

Now we’re talking!

We head on out to the pool where the instructor announces… “Okay, first we do 200 yards of laps and tread water for 10 minutes.”  Huh?**  My visions of floating peacefully underwater with scuba gear drift away like the random band aids and hair chunks left in the pool by the last group. 

Now, I do like the water, but I’m not a strong swimmer.  Carefully eyeing the wall to find the nearest defibrillator unit, I ask the instructor and the 15-year-old if they’ve brought books, because this will take awhile. 

But, I finished the laps (“Pick an apple, put it in your pocket, pick an apple, put it in your pocket…”) without my heart or lungs exploding*** and, after noisily sucking air for a few minutes, went to the deep end of the pool to tread water.  This went amazingly well since I could basically float most of the time. 

Now, expecting to get my first scuba experience, I was a bit disappointed that we spent the remainder of the time learning how to snorkel… breathing through a tube sticking out of the water.  But, a necessary prerequisite skill to scuba, so we made some fun out of it.

We ended up with a quick lesson on how to exit the water.  The instructor taught us the “Beach the Whale” method… work up some speed and head to the side of the pool.  Have enough speed that you can basically propel yourself, stomach first, onto the pool side.  Yep, it did make us look a bit like Shamu at SeaWorld.


Although I had a slightly depressing day otherwise, I found myself quite exhilarated by the experience.  I could see new adventures poised in front of me for the taking.  I could see new and exotic places to visit.  I could see my pocketbook dwindling.  But…

This is going to be fun!


*actually, of late, a too common definition of my mental state

 **confronting Dear Friend on this oversight of sharing knowledge on what to expect, I merely got a wicked chuckle from her and a “Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that…”.  Paybacks, Dear Friend, paybacks…

 ***and, amazingly, only a half lap behind the 15-year-old… I rock! (as in “…sink like a…”)


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12 Responses to “Snorkel”

  1. daisyfae Says:

    i’m nervous about being anywhere near a beach while sporting a wetsuit… visions of kindhearted souls continually dragging my lumpy-ass back into the water make me cringe…

  2. nursemyra Says:

    too funny gnukid 🙂

  3. Rob Says:

    I did a one day intro to SCUBA thing a few years back. Similar thing in that aside from the wife and I the class was filled with pre-teens and teens. Dissimilar in that we went right to the pool, geared up, had in pool instruction and then set loose to gracefully float about the deep end of the pool.

    No laps, no treading water. It was great!

  4. silverstar98121 Says:

    Yeah, I bet you were treading water. I believe you mentioned before that you have a little avoirdupois. As one who does also, and has earned the sobriquet “bubble butt”, I’m willing to bet you can just sit still in the deep end. I know I can. But then, of course, I have “water wings.” But if you can finish only a half lap behind a fifteen year old, you do rock.

  5. Dolce Says:

    It’s so woth it though. Scuba is incredible, Mr Gnu. Seriously.

  6. UncleKeith Says:

    Why don’t you catch up to the little teacher’s pet after class and give him a severe beat down? Tell him if he tries to embarrass you again he can expect more of the same.

  7. leavingevangeline Says:

    Hahah to Uncle Keith!

    Okay, so I was onboard until the “beached whale” thing. I would rather die than beach myself like a whale…all the connotations you know.

    I’m a genteel southern lady. Would Blanche Dubois beach herself?? Nope.

    P.S. You had me laughing out loud. You are a funny man!

  8. Kym Says:

    I keep trying to figure out a small detail. Where I come from scuba diving is an ocean going event. Uh….Ohio, not a coastal state. Where are you going to use this new skill once you’ve mastered it?

  9. thegnukid Says:

    daisyfae – be thankful Queegqueg isn’t lurking about…

    nursemyra – you can’t make this stuff up. real life is better and funnier than the made up stuff.

    rob – actually, that was the intent. this school offers the same, but i was busy the weekend they offered the free intro. but i knew what i wanted and (ready?) dove right in…

    silverstar – yeah, okay…guilty! what i ended up doing was trying to breathe “just so” so that i could gently bob in the water without my face going under. got to be a challenging game.

    dolce – counting on it! then counting on making an adventure trip or three (with many saved pennies required, to be sure)… i hear tell SA has some good scuba diving.

    uncle keith – patience, master, patience… i will bide my time until a couple lessons from now where we do ‘buddy air share’. i usually go first, so when it’s his turn next? see if he can catch me and my alternate air regulator… HA!

    evangeline – Frankly, my dear, i don’t give a damn… ooo, wait, that’s not Blanche Dubois… STELLA!! almost… getting close. tell you what, though, you look stunning lounging on the boat while i dive and bring you pearls, ‘kay?

    kym – ahh, the mysteries of The Wilds to be revealed? you are almost right about Ohio not being coastal (though not sure if Lake Erie counts as ‘coast’, though it’s all across our northern border. folks around here dive rivers and quarries to look at very brown fish in brown water. me? i intend to travel some, assuming i can afford it. more on that soon…

  10. nursemyra Says:

    your posting is still intermittent. still having trouble with your internet connection?

  11. thegnukid Says:

    nm – no, i’m intermittent, not the internet… [shrug]

  12. leavingevangeline Says:

    Lounging is one of my best skills! Let me know when my services are needed!

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