I bought my first BCD and set of regulators in the fall. Although we tested the regs in the shop, I would feel better if I tested all the new gear in the water before going on a dive trip. B & R, our novice diving friends, want to do one more pool dive before we hit the Caribbean Sea. So off to Kinsman Sports Center’s dive tank we go.
We hook up with Jack Madro at Sub Sea Experience ( http://www.subseaexperience.com/index.php) who is teaching a class this weekend and will be at the dive tank from 7:00 to 8:30. For a small fee of $20 for weights and a tank ($30 for full equipment) we are able to join in the fun at the pool.
We arrive at 7:00 and hook up our tanks and get all our gear ready. There is a water polo game going on in the pool so we cannot jump in until 7:30.
I flop into the water and bob around. I breathe through my reg and then my octopus and they both work. My BCD is holding air, good thing. Looks like my new equipment works!
My bugbear when learning to dive has always been taking my mask off in the water. I submerge myself just enough so my face is in the water and I practice taking my mask off. No problem!
B and R are now in the water and we sink down to the pool bottom. We swim a few “lengths” to warm up and then start some drills. I follow B’s lead. Weight belts first. My BCD has pockets for the weights and I practice opening the clasp and letting the pockets fall open to dislodge the weight inside.
We practice switching between regulator and octopus. We take off one fin and swim with only one fin.
Our next drill throws me for a bit of a loop. We take off our BCDs. This is the first time I do not have weights on my body, they are in my BCD’s pockets. As soon as I am out of my BCD my body starts to float up and the BCD sinks hard down onto the pool bottom. When I try to move it, I move and it stays put! I grab onto it and lay there thinking “How am I going to get this thing back on?” If I suspend both the BCD and me, I should be able to get back into it. I heft it off the pool bottom and rise up so I am vertical, then it is easy to turn into it and get my arms in. Once I am into it, it is not problem doing up all the clasps. That exercise shows me that scuba diving is all about thinking under water. Never panic, just think and then do.
We swim more and perform more drills. B & R practice sharing air in an emergency ascent. B & I take off our masks at the bottom of the pool. Again, no issues!
By this time we are getting cold and decide to end our pool session. We surface, climb out of the pool, rinse and put away all our gear. It was a good pool session and I am glad I went. I now know that when I roll into that Caribbean Sea my gear will operate. B & R now have more confidence that their first dive in Cozumel will be a great one.