Ha I did it - Easy Divers part II

Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
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Trip End Feb 16, 2007


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Friday, August 25, 2006

Ha, I bet you thought I'd never get back in the water again (neither did I) but I did and I did it!!!!!

I finally over came my fears and completed my Open Water Dives 3 & 4 so am now a fully fledged Open Water Diver. How so you may ask?

Well I think being fully awake in the afternoon helped as opposed to getting up at 7am; I am not good on a morning and never have been. And as we are off to Borneo next week I know Ben, Sophie & Averil will be diving leaving little me on my own so i fugure maybe I'll give it just one more try before we leave.

Sophie and I met for breakfast at 11 o'clock in Zest (the best place for breakie if you are ever here on Koh Tao) and discussed how we are going to get me through this. The diving is not the problem I can do that bit; it's the mask flooding and removal skills which MUST be completed if you are to become and open water diver and this is the bit that scares me to death because I am still trying to breathe through my nose!

Sophie has a plan and has written everything down on her little under water diving slate. I still have a few other skills to do like emergency ascend on one breathe of air, navigation, fin pivot and buoyancy control but they are the easy bits. The only problem is the mask part and I am already shaking just thinking about it. So I keep telling my self its ok this time I am going to do it even if it kills me! Oh and Sophie has promised she wont let me drowned!!!

So with stomach churning, a fuzzy head and a heart rate of the scale we walk down to Easy Divers, get my stuff ready and head of to Japanese Gardens for the first dive which is really dive 3; I hope you are following this.

It's nice and sunny with a few clouds and sea is quite calm but I took a sea sick tablet just in case; I'm sure you know by now that I am not good either in or on the sea. So we get geared up and once again I find myself stood at the edge of this bloody boat waiting to jump into the lovely blue sea, feeling all the same scary emotions as last time and wondering why the hell am I putting myself though it all again? Ok regulator in mouth, hold mask and regulator with left hand, weight belt right hand, take a big stride and hey presto I'm back in the water once again and ready, no I mean really ready to conquer this.

We swim to the side of the boat where there is line that drops down about 6 meters under water and we ascend down to the end of it where I then have to take one big breath and get my self back to the surface by the end of that breath. I failed it on the first attempt but we did it again and I did it, I couldn't believe it. It gave me a bit of a buzz and maybe a bit more confidence. Then we swim over to the shallow end of Japanese Gardens to go over the mask skills; this is where we did them last time which I managed it's the deeper water that is the problem. So we find a nice quiet spot and Sophie does it first to remind me how it's done. Ok this is it, I can do this so I let some water in the top of my mask (pinching my nose with the other hand so I can't breathe in through my nose) take a big breath through my mouth and breathe out through my nose and It didn't clear fully. I then breathed through my nose, swallowed loads of water and stood up as we were only in about 4 feet of water. I took the bloody mask off and coughed loads to get all the water out of my nose and mouth. Why can't I do this? It's like my worst nightmare. Sophie was brilliant and let me calm down and said shall we try again; I said yes I am going to do this even if it takes all day and night (which in reality it really could), this time I am not getting out until I've done it. So we go under again sinking to our knees, Sophie does it again first then I do the same as before pinching my nose so I can't breathe though it and I did it, I actually did it! So we then do the mask removal; you have to completely take the mask off, put it back on and clear it. This is much harder because I can't just pinch my nose as you need both hands to get the mask on and off. I'm not exactly sure how I did it, it's all a blur but I did it. We high five under water and then she say's I can go back up and breathe normal air. Don't think its all over now cause it ain't I still gotta do it again in deeper water (about 8 meters) so we set off for a little swim, remembering to equalizing my ears as we go.

So here we are on the bottom of the sea bed surrounded by little fishes and lots of coral. I get to do the easy skills first; fin pivot where you have to control where you lie in the water through your breathing and by adding some air orally to my BCD and then buoyancy control again. I did these no probs as I knew I would but now I have to do the mask skills again. However I am feeling a little more confident so here goes.

Sophie does the mask flood again first and then signals it's my turn. My breathing has got heavier, my heart is pounding and I really don't think I can do this as I look up to see just how far down we are. Have I come this far once again to just give it all up and fail? Hell no, I am gonna do this if it kills me remember. So again I pinch my nose to stop me breathing through it, let in a little water, take a big breath and blow out of my nose and would you believe it I did it again; yippee. So now it's the final part, my passing all rests on this the final mask removal, can I really do it again?

Even though you know I must have done it because I wouldn't have passed otherwise I have to say I very nearly blew it and wanted to come up for air so badly, but I think this time I new I couldn't give up, it was one last tiny part that I would never have to do again that made me stop get my self together and carry on. It went like this: I took the mask off and put it back on and pinched my nose straight away so I couldn't breathe though my nose (believe me this helps even though it may seem odd) took a huge breath and tried to breathe out though my nose but all the air came out of my mouth for some reason (yes I had let go of my nose). I tried again and again but the water wasn't moving. I know this cause I then opened my eyes and the mask was still full of water. I wanted to cry and come up for air, take the easy option and fail again, what's the point? Then I got myself together and told my self that 'the worst is over you've done everything all you have to do now is get this bloody water out of the mask, then its over.' It took about 5 breaths, a lot of determination and probably a bit of anger to get me through it, but I did it and the next time I opened my eyes I saw Sophie's face with a big beaming smile as she crossed my biggest fear off her little list of skills to do on her under water dive slate. We high fived again and made our way to the buoy line to make our ascend. I was so elated that it was all over, well almost over I still have to do dive 4 and the navigation, but hey that's easy now this part is over. We have a well earned cup of tea while we wait for all the other divers to get back on board. The bonus is now I get to dive a Twins, the sight everyone raves about (its Ben's favorite) where baby nemo lives in the circle of trust.

Ben is over the moon that I have overcome my fears and completed all the skills and he asked if he could come on this dive with us, so I said yes. By the way Ben did his 100th dive this morning making this his 102nd dive, with me on my fourth! So we jump in and descend, I feel ok and comfortable. First I have to do one more skill; the navigation. I have a compass strapped to my arm and I have to go forward a bit then find my way back. It was no problem but my mask is leaking and water is getting in, but I am ok. So then we just go off and swim first to see baby nemo with his dad and older baby brother. I am assuming they are all male, why I do not know! They live in what is called the circle of trust. Why? Good question, I have no idea. Basically a circle has been formed out of stones and dead coral on the bed of the ocean and in the middle there is some kind on plant growing and this is where you will find baby nemo and his family. It's really quite cute and Adrian (the best videographer on the island) has promised to email me some pics and a video clip so I can put it on the website soon. There is also a baby scorpion fish but I didn't see that. We then swam around for about half an hour and I saw lots of fish (have no idea of all the names) and coral, plus a moray eel swimming around (normally you only see the moray eel's head poking out of a hole but this was just there all of it. Andrea was down there too with another group and told me off for flapping my arms about while diving (you are supposed to fold your arms and just swim with your legs)one thing at a time please! So you see this time I actually remember seeing things and all though I enjoyed seeing baby nemo, I know I will never fully understand the buzz the others on this island (including Ben) get from diving. But hey it's another 'thing to do in my life' crossed off my list. Well done little me!

Tonight is Ben's Snorkle test as he has now been signed off and is a fully fledged Dive Master. Well done babe.

To be continued. . . . .
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