Monday, June 8, 2015

Scuba Certification: Part One

Happy MONDAY! I feel a little bit bad saying that, as so many of my friends are working their normal 9-5 (and then some) jobs, and I'm doing whatever I please, but then again, many of my friends are jetsetting across the world, so I guess we've got all parts of the spectrum represented here. But soon I'll be jetsetting myself - to Cozumel, Mexico for five days in paradise. Not only are we doing the typical Mexico adventures - parasailing, ziplining, and swimming with dolphins - what we are going there to do is finish our PADI Scuba Certification. Remember when I posted about conquering a longtime fear of mine? Well, it's finally here. And I could not be more excited.

My scuba buddy + a photobomber
Never, never, never, never, never, never (the same number of 'nevers' that goes before the holding your breath rule) did I think I would be in this position. About to embark on a scuba diving trip. Because for as long as I can remember, though I am an avid swimmer, and I certainly have a thrillseeker in me, scuba diving has always been something that has scared me, and it has always been something that I said I would never do. That's a lot of absolutes, huh? Well, evidently my mind isn't a hard one to change, because I'm halfway to my Open Water Certification.

I'll try and make this as short and sweet as I possibly can, because unless you're in the 5% of people who scuba dive, you probably don't care much about the process. But I'll take you through my mind's process. I spent much of Saturday and Sunday out in Sugar Land at the Sugar Land Dive Center - we were in the classroom in the morning, and in the pool in the afternoon. And though I had done my part in reading the manual and watching the DVD, come Friday evening, I was still nervous as all getout. The thought of being underwater for such a long period of time is something that I never really wanted to mess with, but it didn't take me long to realize that a scuba certification opens up a whole new world. And I'm not one to miss out on seeing something that others can see. FOMO, you know? Anyway, after our lunch break, I put on my bathing suit, along with a brave face, and learned how to rig up my BCD. One of the first things we learned is that they're pretty durable little (and that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one, because they weigh about 40 pounds with the tank) things, and one of the first things that I learned is to have faith in my equipment. When I expressed that my biggest fear was breathing underwater, our incredible Course Director, Rob, - more to come on him - was patient with me and quick to help me come to the conclusion that I can absolutely trust the tank of air I've got on my back, and the regulator I've got in my mouth. And once I had that in my head, there wasn't a whole lot cooler than being able to hang out underwater and watch rockstar Rob demonstrate some of the more basic scuba skills.

And once we had mastered those - though I still don't love having to clear water out of my mask - we took these skills to the deep end of the pool. We learned how to do a controlled descent, we learned how to become buoyant - though that's something that will certainly take more practice - and after swimming around a little bit, we acted like little kids and shot torpedos around to one another. And while we were doing that, my regulator was knocked out of my mouth. A situation that would have once panicked me, but I had been taught better than that. To remain calm, to blow little bubbles, to put the regulator back in my mouth, to clear it, and keep on keeping on. How far I had come in just a couple of hours.

Without going into too much detail, Sunday was much of the same. A morning classroom session (ending with a final exam - who would have guessed that weeks after giving my own final exam, I'd be taking one!), followed by an afternoon pool session. And I just can't say enough about the people at Sugar Land Dive Center. They have been so encouraging throughout this entire process, and I have to give a special shout out to our fearless leader, Rob. Our instructor who has been diving since he was 14 years old. Who has some unbelievable stories to tell. Who helped me to conquer a fear, by teaching me how to safely breathe underwater. Who stayed patient, who made me do things I didn't really want to do, and who most of all, made something that has forever frightened me, comfortable and fun. I came home absolutely raving about my time in the pool. Am I still a little nervous? Of course I am. But I think it's only natural.  

And while I know salt water is going to be a whole lot different than fresh water, I know that I'm up for the experience. Because I've learned to trust my equipment, and I've learned to remain calm, and most importantly, I've learned to have fun. Because there's a whole new world to be explored down there, and I can't even fathom all of the beauty there is to see.

Be on the lookout for a fitnessandfroyo original recipe or two coming later this week!

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