Open Water Dive Training – Day 1

I'm back from the first of two days of the open water dive training. I'm doing these dive's at Dutch Springs, an old quarry turned into a scuba diver's mecca (well, close enough). The weather was pretty miserable — rain, light winds, and initial air temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, much was learned and the dives were fun!

We did three dives on two tanks of air. And, not surprisingly, there was one soft jab at my decision to select sea snips over a dive knife. Oh well, you can't win sometimes.

The first dive was more about getting comfortable in the water than anything else. Of course, just getting in requires practicing some skills like gearing up, buoyancy control, descending, swimming, and, of course, ascending.

In dive 2 we did what you might call actual skills like taking your respirator out and putting it back in along with clearing your mask. Both of these tripped up a couple of folks and in their panic they immediately surfaced. Not too dangerous given that we were only 25 feet down, but surfacing is not the first thing you want to do when something goes awry. As long as you have air, you can take a moment to calm yourself, think about what's happening, and decide how best to respond.

At the end of dive 2 we got out of the water in part to exchange air tanks. With the temperature as low as it was, being out of the water was the most uncomfortable part of the day. I shivered throughout the entire time. And yes, getting back in for dive 3 was relatively pleasant as I was able to warm up once my wet suit's thermal properties kicked in.

Dive 3 was similar to dive 2. Again we were at 25 feet doing some skills including the fin pivot. For some reason I couldn't do this on my fins. I was able to use my lungs to control my buoyancy, but I had to be on me knees are I'd start to flip over (maybe my weights were unbalanced?). We also tried using our partner's alternate respirator which is a good skill to have. The dive included following some lines to some wreckage (old fire truck, small boat) which was fun.

After the third dive we debriefed and filled in our log books. At this point I had achieved the PADI Scuba Diver rating — sufficient to do dives with a PADI Divemaster up to 40 feet. One more dive and I'll be fully open water certified.

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