Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It adds up, in many ways

Regulator (hoses), weight belt (strap, blue weights),
mask/snorkel (clear), fins (yellow), tank, bc

Scuba requires a lot of gear, of course.

There is the tank, which is key because it holds the air.

There is the regulator, which is key because it is what gets the air from the tank to the mouth and then the lungs.

There is the bc, which is the vest-like thing that holds the tank on your back and inflates to keep you afloat at the surface and neutrally buoyant when under the water. Which is key because if you just sink, you will scrape along the bottom. So you want to be neutrally buoyant, or just sort of floating in the water, above the bottom.

There is a weight belt, which some people need and some don't. I need it to help get me under the water and not popping back up to the surface.

There are the fins, which propel you in the water.

There are boots, which you wear so the fins don't kill your feet.

There are gloves to keep your hands warm.

There is a hood to keep your head warm.

There is a mask to cover your nose so you can breathe and to cover your eyes so you can see.

There is a snorkel that attaches to the mask. You can use this at the surface of the water so you don't need to use the air.

There is the wetsuit, which helps keep you warm. No, it does not keep you dry. Hence the name wetsuit. A drysuit is a different animal and not something you need for diving in most places.

Did I forget anything? I sure hope not.

I had the second class Sunday. We started in the pool again. We reviewed some of the stuff from the first week.

Then we learned to take the gear off at the surface of the water and get the gear back on. The gear being the bc/regulator/tank combination.

We also learned how to get the weights on and off in the water without too much struggle.

After that we went over what to do if someone runs out of air under water. There are gauges on the tank to tell you how much air you have. Common sense says to just check the gauge.

But should something happen and the air runs out, this is a good lesson to know.

The regulator, which is what attaches to the tank, has a few hoses. One hooks to the bc so that can be quickly inflated with air from the tank. One is your primary air source. The other is called an alternate air source. It is another mouthpiece to be used in an emergency.

So we practiced one person running out of air: how to signal that, how to get the alt air source and the process to get you and the buddy to the surface, how they manually inflate the bc vest, how you keep them afloat until they do that. Basically, how they don't drown.

Like I said: A good lesson to know.

After the pool we went back for a few more hours in the classroom.

It is getting close to the end, which means the check-out dives.

So yesterday I went to order a wetsuit.

The lessons were to include the use of all the gear, including a wetsuit, for the check-out dives.

But the guy at the shop said right from the start that he would not have a rental suit for me to use.

First of all, I am too tall. Sure, there might be a man's suit that would be long enough.

But then there is that whole pesky problem of me being a woman. Which means, you know, boobs.

And the suit has to fit.

So I bit the bullet yesterday and went to JMJ Wetsuits in Torrance and ordered a custom suit.

It will be a close call, but said they will have it ready for me the day before the first dive.

It will be a very bad thing if they do not have it ready.

Because the water here is cold. No wetsuit, no diving.

There is one more class at the pool, then we hit the beach.

The beach dives will be off of Redondo.

Everything I have heard about the beach dives is that they can be awful.

I am told there won't be much to see, that visibility can be bad, that the water can be choppy making it tough to get in and out of the water...


But it must be done.

Catalina Island, approximately 25 miles off the coast of Long Beach/San Pedro.
This picture was taken from Del Cerro Park on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

The next day we dive from a boat. For this we head to Catalina Island.

I have been told that there will be more to see here. Which is cool. I know it will still be cold though. And my main focus will be on passing.

This whole exercise is pointless if I don't pass the written test and the dives.

It's going very fast, but I feel confident.

1 comment:

Sona said...

Good for you!

Personally, I have some stupid phobia of putting my face under water now, so I could never do this.

I hope you enjoy it!