underwater adventures

So yesterday I went SCUBA diving for the first time. A friend of mine was a diving instructor and keeps looking around for a buddy she could go diving with these days. Apparently I fit the bill for her latest victim potential swim buddy so today I dropped by her place with my dog, intending to leave her with her own dogs, but winding up bringing her along.

Bit by bit I’ve been seeing more of the area around San Diego: for a southern California native, I actually know very little south of Pendleton, so it’s been an experience. This time I got to poke around a bit in Bonita, which is a nice little horsey-set suburbia a little east and south of the main city. Her friend had a swimming pool, and it was here I got to go suit up and breathe underwater.

When we arrived, Dana greeted her friend’s dog, a young GSD, and the two of them raced around and around and around the pool until Dana dove in at one point but then promptly swam for the steps to get out. I should have heeded this warning. I’m sure some of you are going to die laughing, but this was fucking cold. Turns out the water temperature here was 10 degrees colder than the ocean would have been at 55 degrees. BRRRRR!

Fortunately we used something called dry-suits (instead of wet-suits; clever, that) which are basically space shuttle moon walking suits you step into, dislocate three shoulders and an elbow to wangle your way into. My friend’s looked like one of the uniforms from Star Trek:TNG in it, mine was just yellow and black. These things even have valves (I kid you not): one to let air into the suit and another to expel air. I had on thermal underwear and wool socks for this. (Yes, please keep laughing at me, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds.) The fun part was getting into the pool and crouching down & squeezing the suit to get the air out. This results in feeling like you’ve put on a plastic bag and dunked yourself in the water: the suit tightens all around you. There’s actually an amazing amount of water compression on you in the water. You just don’t feel it when you’re wearing just a bathing suit.

Anyway, we went over the basics of the mask, the respirator, the dive gauge (though we didn’t use it for a freaking nine foot deep pool, of course. All the while, Dana’s cruising around the edge of the pool, trying to figure out why Mom keeps ducking under the water and not coming up all that quickly. She actually fell in at one point (swimming promptly for the steps, once more — smart dog, that) and after that kept up her surveillance without overbalancing. It took a while to get enough weights on me so that I stopped floating up to the surface. Put that way, that’s sort of disturbing, actually.

Once I was properly weighted down, we let ourselves sink down so that we were hovering just above the bottom of the swimming pool and made our way down to the deepest part. My main objective actually was to try and clear my ears — which I tend to have a problem with. It wasn’t too bad, I think breathing makes quite a bit of difference.

And about that, yes it was freaking weird to be laying at the bottom of a pool, in a white “cell” that looked just like an interrogation room of some kind, BREATHING AIR UNDER WATER. Cold too; did I mention how cold the water was? I might not have felt the pain in my ears just because they were numb from the cold. Wow. Ultimately we got out, peeled all the stuff off (the prep and post work is pretty significant, you don’t just hop into the water, that’s for sure), and enjoyed cups of hot cappuchino afterward.

Lots of fun! I should have taken a camera with me: I know I looked pretty silly padding about in a extra-terrestrial moon walk jump suit ๐Ÿ™‚

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4 Responses to underwater adventures

  1. kethry says:

    I’d have more sympathy if it wasn’t -8*C outside (17.6*F before you ask)…. ๐Ÿ˜€ suck it up, sugar!!

    seriously though – sounds like fun! Are you going to continue with it? go in the big blue yonder with it?

    • admin says:

      Heh ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember, water leaches more heat from you than air does. I was looking pretty blue by the time we finished. Lots of fun though.

      Dunno if I will continue with it — next chance won’t be for a couple months anyway. We’ve got the holidays and then my friend will be in France for a couple months for work related reasons. But that could be just in time for nice warm weather! ๐Ÿ˜‰