Monday, August 10, 2009

Under da Sea!

Well, so maybe it's more like Under the Swimming Pool.

I've always wanted to take proper scuba classes since I did a resort dive during a visit to Cozumel. A resort dive is basically where you get a 30 minutes crash course hitting the hot spots of scuba. Then, you go an do a dive that may be 30 feet underwater...tops. All while you are being led around by your "dive master" who has to babysit you because in 30 minutes, you can't possibly know what the hell you are doing underwater. Our "dive master" Pedro spent move of the dive staring at my chest. The other guy could have ran out of air, and I'm fairly confident that Pedro wouldn't have noticed.

At any rate, as crude a dive as it was, I was hooked on the whole idea of venturing underwater. I've been blathering about taking classes since then, but then life would always get in the way, and my plans would go back on the list of crap I wanted to do, whenever I would get around to doing it.

Recently, my friend and coworker Stewie and myself decided to pull the trigger and take scuba classes. She finally put foot to ass and now we are in the midst of learning what could be the most expensive hobby I have ever decided to take up.

First night, I was expecting it to be strictly classroom stuff, but found out at the last minute that we would be venturing in the pool. I was forced to shave my legs, which wasn't overly terrible when you compare it to the fact I'd been eating baked beans all weekend. I'm sure the bubbles and the smell would distract from the fact that you look like the missing link.

We strapped on 1000lbs of gear and ventured into the pool. Now, when I say I'm not a mouth-breather, I'm not making a statement that I don't belong in the unwashed hippy demographic. I breathe in and out of my nose...usually. Scuba demands you become a mouth breather because your nose is holed up on some mask that fogs up every two minutes because chlorinated water and diving masks are not on speaking terms.

Mask on my face, I pop the regulator in my mouth and submerge. I immediately have a small panic attack and am hyperventilating underwater. Apparently, I'm not alone as my entire class is producing copious amounts of air bubbles. The instructor observes that we are using our air at an alarming rate.

The second night is strictly pool time, and I do much better with the breathing. However, the water is cooler for some reason, and everyone is blue by the time the class ends, some 3 hours later. We learn the art of jumping into the water from the side of the pool while packing a bazillion pounds of gear. It doesn't help that we carry some extra weight to weigh us down because some of us are more buoyant than others.

Boobs float. Who knew!

I also discovered that I have the talent that enables me to jump out of my fins and leave them on the side of the pool.

The instructor (cute but unfortunately married) is somewhat of a hardass. I can appreciate it, though. Scuba is one of those things that if you miss the smallest detail, you drown. He gets annoyed when our attention strays, so I try not to piss him off. I get the impression that the guy has a fury you don't ever want to be the lucky recipient of. Sort of like mine.

Right now, I'm looking for a wetsuit that won't make me look like 20lbs of sausage stuffed into a 10lb neoprene wrapper. It's a daunting task as most wetsuits are designed for women who still have to wear training bras...even into their middle age. The world is not kind to women with large sweater kittens, unless you are a porn star. From what I understand, they prefer to spend most of their time writhing around on a beach naked, rather than going underwater to look at brightly colored fish.

Now, we are almost halfway done with our classes. Stewie and I are already talking about open-water dives, possible adventures we can go on. I'm trying to talk my mother into taking classes, and I think she wants to. I'm trying to talk all my other friends into taking classes. More than one dive buddy is never a bad thing.

Come dive with me! I promise I won't eat any baked beans before we go.


me said...

Sounds like fun!! LOL at the floating boobies ~

Melinda said...

That sounds like so much fun! I'm glad you're able to free up some time to do something you enjoy.

kate said...

I want to go scuba diving so badly! I remember taking a sort of intro-to-scuba class in a pool once and I had the same "oh, holy shit!" panic attack when I first went under because, for some reason, my body rejected the idea of mouth breathing, too.

Faith said...

My dad was certified in scuba yeeeaaaars ago. One of my favorite pitures of him is from the day he received the certification, running up the beach toward my mom in his full wetsuit regalia and flippers. It's so awesome!

Hound Doggy said...

I've been certified for years. If nobody has told you yet...spit in the mask and it stops the fog. You can also buy anti-fog stuff but spit is cheaper.

The best place to dive IMO is Aruba. I've been there twice and if I ever need to leave the country in a hurry...that's where I will go.
Also good is Tobago.

Of course different places have different things to see.
My neatest see was in Aruba...a sea horse.

Another bit of advice, if you choose to accept it, is keep a good detailed log of your dives....include the stuff you see and any interesting stuff that happens.
Years later it's a blast to check it out again.

Bill the Painter said...

That's one nice set of ummm goggles you have there!

You're doing something I've always wanted to do, I just haven't found the right person to do it with.

It's a great hobby, I wonder if my buddy is your instructor.