May 14, 2007
Okay, so you've not been diving in a while. The weather's getting warm, the days are getting longer, and your dive gear is getting dusty ... AND ... You are getting rusty!!!
It's time to get wet, folks! For those of us who are not fortunate to live in a place where it's warm all year, diving locally can be a bit limited. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are pieces of equipment that will help extend your scuba diving season. A drysuit being one of them. Hood and gloves are a must this time of year in Tennessee and well as California. As Conrad mentioned in his latest blog entry, it's no fun putting on a wetsuit, but it is a necessity in a lot of cases. So go shake the critters our of your wetsuit, call your local dive shop and set up a time for a refresher, or see if you and a certified buddy can rent the pool for an hour or so of much needed bubble blowing time!
Once you have your pool time scheduled, don't get in a hurry. Remember you're dealing with Life Support Equipment and it needs to be properly hooked up. Oh, and before you do that giant stride into the deep end, be sure to check your buddy's gear and make sure they have checked yours. BEFORE you enter the water is the best time to discover malfunctions, improper assembly, or even differences in equipment and how everything functions.
Once you both are ready, and you've entered the pool, be sure to spend some time in the shallow end just getting used to blowing bubble again. Close your eyes and imagine faraway tropical places ... OK, wake up! It's time to see if you remember all the basic skills. Does your regulator purge properly? Can you recover it if it gets knocked out of your mouth? Can you find it if it's hiding from you? Don't forget, scuba divers don't have immunity from Murphy's Law ... "If is can go wrong, it will." Well, in diving that law should read, "If it can go wrong, it might, and usually at the farthest away point from the entry!"
So your regulator and you are friends once again. Good! And your mask? Flood and clear it a few times ... Remove it and replace it. Don't forget: any hair under the skirt will cause your mask to leak. Oh, and that wetsuit hood? Make sure the skirt of your mask is under the edge of your hood all the way around!
How about sharing air? Do you and your buddy both remember how to do that? Were you trained to do it the same way? Now's the time to find out ... Not 80 feet deep in the ocean when one of you has a catastrophic air failure or just plain gets excited and forgets to check your gauges. Should that ever happen? NOOOooooo!! Check your gauges often! Make sure your buddy checks his, too.
Buoyancy. There's a good one. Practice staying just off the bottom while in the shallow end. We will do more of this once we get to the deep end in a bit. For now, re-familiarize yourself with all the many ways to dump air from your buoyancy compensator. You should have checked all of these when you assembled your equipment before getting in the pool, so everything should function properly.
And now for the deep end. Yep, that 15 foot deep area seems shallow, but remember that buoyancy is the hardest in that range. Spend a lot of time practicing buoyancy control, then try to do all of your basic skills with your buddy while remaining neutrally buoyant ... not so easy, eh? It can be done!
Feeling better about your skills now? Good! You see? It is worth the time and effort to refresh your skills in a confined environment. Now that you are comfortable, even your first dive during your trip will be easy and relaxed.
All too often people who dive infrequently go on dive trips and spend the first day or two getting comfortable in the water again. Why not do that BEFORE you go on that expensive dive vacation where bottom time is limited ... It simply makes perfect sense!
Now, go call your dive shop and get that pool time reserved ... Don't wait!
Posted by Carol at May 14, 2007 04:14 PM