It wasn’t the tropics, it wasn’t a beautiful reef with all kinds of colorful coral and fish, or sharks. It was just a swimming pool that was only four feet deep. But it was our first scuba experience. It was pretty cool. Sandy and Kenneth has done Snuba before, but no one had ever done scuba before. We all stayed underwater for about 45 minutes and used all of the equipment that you use when you are in the ocean. The whole point of the experience was to see if you liked scuba diving, give you an introduction to it and be able to decide about whether or not you want to pursue your open water certification.
My brother and his family were kind enough to give us a gift certificate to the Colorado Scuba Diving Academy, based in Fort Collins. The first 30 minutes were an orientation to scuba. How to avoid the risks of scuba diving (some of which can still happen in 4 feet of water). What happens to your body when scuba diving? Pretty much, here’s what you need to know to be able to do this safely today. There are inherent risks with scuba diving, so they obviously wanted us to be able to avoid those risks even in a pool. Most of it, I’ll admit is hazy to me right now, but the point was to ensure that you could scuba safely that day. Once we move forward with our open water certification, I’m sure the instruction will be much more in depth because it’s geared toward a lifetime of the activity.
After the safety orientation, we were suited up with all of our gear for the next 45 minutes. Swim fins, boots to protect your heels from the fins, a vest that your tank would be mounted to, the tank, breathing regulator, and a mask. Headed over to the pool, where the instructor and his assistant set up the tanks, and then we donned the rest of the gear. Once we jumped in, he showed us how to clear the breathing regulator and pretty much turned us loose.
Even in the pool there was a sense of freedom that came with being able to swim underwater for 45 minutes without ever coming to the surface. You went from one end of the pool to the next and side to side. I think at one point I let myself lay on the bottom of the pool for five minutes. I never did move, just lay there and breathed…underwater! It’s kind of funny that kid who grew up in Florida has to go to Colorado to learn to scuba! Once the session was over, I looked over at Matthew and he had the biggest grin on his face. He just looked at me, and said, “When can I do this for the rest of my life?” I imagine once he’s old enough…in about six short weeks, we’ll start to have some conversations about getting our open water certification and then the advanced open water (which allows you to dive on your own) certifications. I guess first we’ll see about getting him his driver’s license!
Several people told me when they first tried scuba, they felt claustrophobic. I can see where that might be the case, but at least in the discover scuba, I didn’t feel it. I wonder if once I am 30 feet down and the water is a little darker if that might happen. I won’t really know I guess until we reach that point and start the open water certifications.
Sandy and Kenneth, when we went to Hawaii, did a SNUBA experience. SNUBA is where you are tethered to a compressor that is at the surface, you can swim around underwater for thirty minutes or so. They were both impressed with experience, but it does have some limitations, like depth and distance, that scuba takes away. I see the pictures or videos of people diving on reefs with all the wildlife and I know that this opens the door just a bit to being able to do that too.