Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Travel Journal: PADI Open Water Certification Course

I was a little nervous about checking out scuba diving. Angelo has been excited about it for years. It seems like something everyone should experience. Breathing underwater! Super nuts. Utila Honduras is one of the least expensive places in the whole world to learn. And, it seems very safe (compared to some other even cheaper places which maybe don't take the education as seriously). We picked Utila Dive Center because it was a great price and had excellent reviews.

Our first day we checked in, met our group, and went through what the class would entail. Over the course of 3 days, we watched a lot of education videos and took a few exams on the material while also doing some confined (in shallow water over a tarp right by the dock) dives. The class portion is mostly about how to calculate the max depth you should descend to considering the mixture of oxygen and nitrogen you're breathing using the machine. It also provides a lot of information on the equipment and how it works. I found the most important parts to be the hand signals you use to communicate underwater and, of course, what to do in emergency situations.

By far the biggest challenge for me was flooding or removing and then replacing the mask underwater...

It's strange how scary it is because you have the breathing machine in your mouth. You don't need your nose to breathe and you can open your eyes to see in an emergency (I can't normally because I would lose my contact lenses but still, if shit were going down I could). Even so, being underwater in complete silence with your eyes tight shut and your nose pinched is super woah scary for me. Plus there's this immediate anxiety to get the mask back on and clear it as fast as possible. I think I'm supposed to lose that anxiety...I didn't. But, what I did do was flood or remove it without any trouble multiple times. Still hard though. Luckily, when actually diving that's not something you should ever have to worry about doing. I'm glad I feel confident I could though. Overall, the class is easy and fun. We had an incredible instructor too. He was thorough with important things and made it all feel very safe. I knew if I was having trouble I could say so and not be embarrassed. Good stuff. 

I want to buy my own mask, snorkel, and fins but I can't right now. There is absolutely no room in that backpack. Someday though! Now I get to add two things to my life list: 1. Dive the underwater sculptures in Cancun and 2. Dive the Great Barrier Reef (before global warming kills is off completely). 

Yay for diving!