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Lesson 1

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Why Scuba? 
 
I am interested in trying scuba diving because I think it will be amazing to see all the underwater creatures. I am also looking forward to experiencing the weightlessness and seeing how my body responds. Hopefully, I will be able to use this as an excuse to visit the Caribbean, too!

This will be my first time swimming in close to 20 years and my first time getting into a pool in nearly a decade.

I am not very worried about trying this especially because scuba diving is said to be very safe. Bud Bracken, the diving instructor, said that it is actually safer than bowling. I do wonder about how mobile I will be. I am going to look into gloves that have webbing between the fingers. However, I am unsure how well they work since I am not able to extend my fingers. Eventually, I may go on to get an advanced diving certification so that I would be able to use underwater propulsion vehicles.

I'm going to need help getting in and out of the water as well as putting on all the scuba gear. I'm not really sure how changing after I go diving will work, but I think with a little help it shouldn't be too difficult.

Lesson One, September 17th at New Holland

My first experience scuba diving was awesome. Breathing underwater is a very unique sensation, especially the first time!


Bud, the instructor, Bob, his brother, Gail, Bob's wife, and my Dad helped me during this first lesson. Before I got into the water I had to read the first of five sections of the instruction manual, watch a video, discuss what I had read and watched with Bud, and take a quiz. All this preparation is definitely worthwhile because it helps familiarize you with all of the equipment and explains the different objectives you will work on in the water.


Bud provided all of the equipment, which included a wetsuit, a mask, a buoyancy control device or BCD (a vest that helps you float), a cylinder (the tank of air), and a regulator (this includes the mouthpiece that you breathe out of). There are a variety of wetsuits, masks, and BCDs so there is some trial and error when it comes to picking out what works best for each person.


After I took the quiz Bud got all of the equipment that he, Bob, Gail, and I would use. He then gave me a brief overview and tested the cylinder and regulator. Next I had to get into the wetsuit. I wore bike shorts so that they would not bunch as the snug wetsuit was put on. In order to get into the wetsuit a couple people helped me get onto two mats that were on the floor. Then a couple people helped me put it on.


The next step involved getting situated beside the pool and strapping on the rest of the gear. Once everybody was suited up I got in position seated on the poolside with my feet in the water. With two people in the water and one person behind me, I put my hands over the mouthpiece, leaned forward leading with my right shoulder, and SPLASH! I was in the water.


I spent the next two hours learning how to clear water out of my mouthpiece, retrieve my regulator, clear water out of my mask, and use an alternate air supply (a breathing hose and mouthpiece attached to another diver’s cylinder) while staying submerged. I also got to do a little bit of swimming. At this point I am FAR from graceful underwater. This will improve as we figure out which equipment works best for me and use weights to help me stay more horizontal, right now my hips are asymmetrical and my feet float. I am sure my swimming will also improve as I become stronger and more comfortable with the equipment.


Most everything went really well. Next time I am going to do a few things differently. I plan on using the restroom BEFORE I put on the bike shorts, I am going to try staying in my chair while getting into the wetsuit, and I will put on my dry shorts while I am situated on the ground  poolside rather than once I am back in my chair.


I highly recommend giving this a try to anyone who might be interested. Bud is a very patient and calm instructor. He also has tons of experience. Like many other situations you need to be able to tell everybody what you need assistance with. You do not need to be able to swim in order to do this. I am not sure exactly what kind of functionality you need to do this so if you're interested please contact Bud Bracken at Bud@DiveBuddys.com.

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Check back to see Keith's next lesson.