Posts Tagged ‘scuba debt’

Last Scuba Class

December 2, 2008

Finished the coursework for scuba this weekend.  Yep, those of you who certified are likely raising eyebrows at how quickly it went.  This was one of the advantages to only having only two students.  If they had the typical class size (10-15), I would not yet be done.  The instructor is required to get through a specific list of skills.  Each skill must be verbalized by the instructor, demonstrated by the instructor, then observed as each student individually shows they can actually accomplish the skill.  Do overs are often required.  Doing so twice instead of ten times is just quicker.

Classes are just the coursework, part book study (more on this in a bit) and part the water skills (sounds kinky).  To actually be certified and get your scuba card, you have to dive in ‘open water’, not the pool.  Open water has a definition I’m not clear on, but diving in a quarry counts.  And, as was so accurately pointed out by my readers, Ohio tends to be a tad chilly in December.  But, being the always-looking-out-for-a-buck astute business people they are at the dive school, excursions are offered in the winter to warmer climes to finish the actual certification.  Such an opportunity was available this coming weekend. 

Even at my decrepit tender age of mumblety-one, I continue to learn stuff about myself.  As I did with getting my commercial pilot’s license, I am confirming here—When I start a training task, I like to get it finished quickly.  Sort of antithesis to my professional ability to procrastinate, but still.  I’m not sure if that’s to hurry getting the certificate so I can use it… or to hurry to get the damn training (and attendant stress of ‘passing’) behind me.  So I asked the instructors if they could finish up the coursework in time for me to go on the certification trip… “Sure, if you’re willing to stay an extra hour…”.  Done deal. 

The book study part was first in this last day of training.  And <foreboding music swells> the FINAL EXAM.  Now, as mentioned before, I stress myself out a bit with tests.  The instructors tried to calm any fears by saying the final test would be questions directly from the books homework test questions.  This is a good thing.  Well, I say ‘good thing’, though I had trouble with some of those questions because they were obtuse… for example, “<blank> and <blank> are essential to safe diving” – – Cheese and Crackers?  Bathing Suits and Water?  Gin and Tonic?  Then, I checked with Dear Friend* who had taken the test a few years back.  She told me that she studied, but not obsessively, and got an 88%.  This worried me (being the worrier) because Dear Friend is one smart cookie**.  So, if she studied and got an 88, I felt I needed to REALLY study to match that. 

So I studied, though not as “REALLY” as I would have liked (there’s that old procrastinator again).

…and got a 94%!!  Easily resisted the urge to text Dear Friend to do the annoying text dance of victory.  Easily, because it was much more fun to do it in person (yeah, I can be a twit)!

Then, into the pool.  We had to squeeze three training sessions into the next couple hours.  Water skills were repetitively and redundantly duplicated over and over to ensure we learned them.  Problems?  A few… 

           One skill was replacing a removed weight belt.  You’re supposed to go horizontal in the water with the weight belt at your right hip, then do a roll to wrap it around yourself.  Sounds simple.  Me?  Not so simple.  First, I had trouble staying horizontal.  Not sure if there’s lead in my feet or what, but they tended to sink me to the vertical quickly.  And I had to do the skill like they wanted (task masters!), so repeated until I could stay horizontal.  Next, I had directional challenges and death rolled the wrong direction, leaving the belt on me backwards and continuing to roll like a spastic alligator in a death roll.  Had to repeat that skill quite a few times, leaving me sucking air.

          Another skill is the “buddy breathing”… simulate being out of air and have to share the regulator mouthpiece with your buddy.  With equipment nowadays, there’s a backup regulator to breathe from, so you’re not swapping it back and forth.  But, for simplicity, they teach you to share your primary with your buddy.  I had to actively resist the urge to playfully flee when my buddy reached for my mouthpiece.  Figured the instructors would look unkindly at me deserting my buddy.  Then, started thinking about the fact that I have no clue where this kid’s mouth has been, what disease he might be harboring, or what other foul stuff may go on.  Yeah, this is all about survival, but in training mode my mind wandered… not a pleasant journey.

Problems conquered, the instructors cleared me through the training and signed off my form!  Now it’s off on the certification trip (so, dear reader(s?), I will be out of touch for the weekend).  Things there, I’m sure, will go well and then I’ll be certified and ready to really SCUBA… more to come on this weekend’s adventure, but for now I’ll repeat what is becoming more of a reality for me – –

This is gonna be FUN!


*Dear Friend may deny it, but she stresses over tests as well, so I felt she’d be a good indicator of how I should approach my studying.

 **…or has many people, me included, totally  fooled on this.