Monday, October 10, 2011

Swim with the fishes

Harper Pier in Port Orchard, Wa.  Photo by MC3 Devin Wray.

Last Sunday, Wray and I and completed the basic NAUI scuba course.  We're now certified to dive at depths of up to 60 feet.  How do I feel?  OUTSTANDING.  I'm sure most of you have things you've always wanted to try...things you're pretty sure you'd love.  That's scuba diving to me.

The lead instructor shot a video of me performing a diver rescue on Wray.   Watch the video here.    I'm searching for his air pressure gauge, which has become stuck under his tank.  Checking to see if the unconscious diver has any air left is the first step.  The next step is to kick off the bottom, propelling both divers to the surface.

Adrian before our epic 20ft dive at Point Whitney, Wa.  Photo by me.

The classes are taught by a local dive shop, Sound Dive Center in Bremerton.  They go through MWR, so we get a discount on the 3-week course.  Cost for a civilian is $300, for military it's $275.  Because they're used to teaching Navy folks, the instructors were willing to adapt to our sometimes-complicated work schedules.

Adrian was our instructor, and our group of six was very happy with him.  I'd say he's just the right mix of stern expertise and love for the sport.  He was always on point when it came to the safety of each diver.

Bea gives EM3 Johnathan Villalobos a shot of no-fog liquid for their masks.  Photo by me.

 The course schedule goes like this:

Three weeks of classes/pool time, on Monday and Wednesday.
The final week, two open-water dives on Saturday, and two on Sunday.

The first was at Point Whitney, across the water from Bangor Trident Base.  Standing on the shore, I realized kiddy pool time was over.  This was the real thing.

Bea was the assistant instructor, and kept a close eye on everyone.  She made sure no one did anything stupid, like shoot to the surface too fast and explode their lungs.
Wray was SUPER psyched to be there.  Photo by EM3 Jonathan Villalobos.

If you look at the photo of Bea, you'll see she's wearing a different suit than us.  It's a dry suit, which requires additional training to use.  If you're wearing it, no water ever touches you.  Wray and I are wearing wetsuits.  When you get in the water, it's supposed to leak in, to be warmed by your body heat.

Are you getting an idea of how horrible it is to inch into that frigid water?

DRY suit  =  good
WET suit =  bad

I squealed like a little girl as the water trickled down my back.

Warm and happy.  Photo by Bea.

In between the first and second dives, I was glued to my jeep.  The engines's on and the heat's blasting.  I spent 5 years in South Florida, you know? 

Adrian tosses Wray his t-shirt.  Photo by me.

After demonstrating the necessary skills, including rescuing an unconscious diver, Wray and I graduated!  The Harper Pier dive took us to about 30ft depth.  Back at Sound Dive Center, Adrian held a debriefing with the group.  Each diver was given an assessment of his performance.  Then we got t-shirts!

I was born to wear a diver t-shirt.  Photo by MCSN Andy Jandik.

I've signed up for the advanced course, which means diving to depths of 100+ feet, night diving, and training in underwater navigation.  I'm looking forward to working with Adrian again.

Pilot's license is next. 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats!! Now get back to Florida and dive some of those caves, carefully.