My First Dive After Certification


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Once I was 4 years previous, I informed my mother I used to be operating away from house. I crammed somewhat pink wagon with my prized possessions (principally stuffed animals) and set out for the unknown: our driveway. My mother stood on the entrance door and watched me tow my wagon to the top of our carport. I took one take a look at the pouring rain, rotated, and got here again inside.

Twenty years later, I discovered myself dragging a wagon piled with dive gear alongside the picturesque waterfront of Avalon, California. As I gazed towards our vacation spot, the well-known Casino Point dive website, my guts churned with the identical combine of pleasure and worry I had once I stepped off the entrance stoop. 

Six months had handed since I completed my PADI® Open Water Diver course. I’d waited lengthy sufficient (perhaps too lengthy) to make my first post-certification dive. It was time to take the coaching wheels off and discover out if I had what it took to be a bonafide scuba diver.

The night time earlier than, I hardly slept. My thoughts churned with worries: 

  • Would I keep in mind easy methods to assemble my gear? 
  • What if I couldn’t clear my ears? 
  • What if one of us got the bends?
  • Why didn’t I feel to deliver my Open Water course supplies so I might evaluate expertise as an alternative of simply staring on the ceiling? 

My First Dive After Certification and Classes Discovered

The subsequent morning, we hauled our scuba gear to the dive website, prepared for journey. Sadly, I made the error of placing my wetsuit on first. In a matter of moments, I used to be sweating like loopy underneath 7mm of neoprene. 

I couldn’t wait to get within the water and funky off so I rushed by way of my gear meeting (fortunately, I remembered how the whole lot went collectively). My buddy helped me put my package on, we did a buddy check and off we went.

diver in a kelp forest
This might have been me. SPOILER ALERT: it wasn’t

Neither of us had been in a kelp forest earlier than, however getting tangled in kelp was the furthest factor from my thoughts. Why? As a result of all I might take into consideration have been the equalization issues I had throughout my open water coaching dives. It took ages for me to descend under 10 metres/30 ft. 

The longer it took for me to descend, the extra annoyed I turned. Why couldn’t I simply drop down like different divers? What was fallacious with my silly physique? I pushed my eustachian tubes more durable than I ought to have. Discomfort turned to outright ache and I virtually didn’t end my course. However I digress…

Okay, again to Catalina. As I stood on the entry steps, I appeared out over the water and prayed to Poseidon my ear points would dissolve the moment I stepped within the ocean. 

The queue of divers behind me was getting lengthy. It was time to do the factor: make my first dive with out an teacher. 

My buddy and I kicked out to the float and did a fast buoyancy examine. We exchanged okay indicators and signaled our descent. As I deflated my BC, I despatched my eustachian tubes a psychological menace, “don’t even take into consideration ruining this dive for me!” 

At three metres/10 ft, issues have been okay, however once we reached about 6 metres/18 ft my ears wouldn’t clear. I’ll spare you the (literal) ups and downs of my dive, however, lengthy story brief: I spent all the dive at 7 metres/21 ft or shallower. It felt like a glorified snorkel. 

My buddy fortunately swam under me, checking again steadily to ensure I used to be okay. I used to be, apart from the tears filling up my masks.

Regardless that we had a number of tanks and will have made one other dive, I used to be too upset and ashamed to get again within the water. Clearly, I didn’t have what it took to be an actual scuba diver.

a diver sticking their tongue out underwater

Not a Dramatic Story, however an Essential One

For those who have been anticipating a dramatic story that ends with my lifeless physique being minimize from tangled kelp and a dramatic helicopter evacuation… sorry not sorry. However in case you’re into that kind of factor, you possibly can learn tales about dives gone wrong on DAN’s web site. 

This story is for the divers who struggled of their open water class or had a crappy first dive after certification. It’s for any diver who feels caught between wanting to love scuba diving and never truly liking scuba diving. I see you, good friend.

I’m sharing this story as a result of I virtually gave up diving. I virtually missed out on a lifetime of magical experiences and superb associates I can’t think about life with out. 

It took turning into a scuba teacher for me to understand: lots of people aren’t naturally good at scuba diving. PADI coaching provides us the information we have to dive safely, however many people have psychological and bodily points (I’m taking a look at you eustachian tubes) to beat. 

Does that imply scuba diving is tough? Sure and no. It’s comparatively straightforward to study, however takes time to grasp (a good instructor helps).  In different phrases, studying to dive is like studying to shoot free throws, serve a ball, grasp a balancing pose in yoga, or another talent that requires muscle reminiscence and psychological focus.

When you didn’t love your Open Water class, or really feel such as you’re a crappy diver, hold in there. Don’t surrender and cease being so rattling onerous on your self! 

Since that first, depressing dive I’ve discovered lots about scuba diving and myself. Listed here are a couple of of my prime ideas:

Scuba Diving Ideas for Learners 

5 Classes Discovered From My First Publish-Certification Dive

If I might get in a time machine and do my first dive once more I might have: 

  1. Booked a Discover Local Diving expertise with a PADI Skilled — As a result of I didn’t really feel assured in my expertise and had by no means dived in that sort of surroundings earlier than. To not point out: native dive professionals all the time know the place to seek out the cool stuff.
  2. Learn DAN’s Smart Guide to Ear Equalizing — As a result of Divers Alert Community (DAN) all the time has nice recommendation.
  1. Reviewed my Open Water Diver scholar supplies or enrolled in PADI ReActivate®
  2. Been extra affected person with myself — I used to be spun up and anxious when what I wanted to do was loosen up.
  3. Appreciated the second — Not lengthy after that first dive, my buddy and I moved to California and made dozens of dives in kelp forests. The various ecosystem means you’re surrounded by fascinating marine life, even on shallow dives.

Don’t Give Up on Your self

So how did I'm going from feeling like a serious failure to diving on a regular basis and turning into a scuba teacher? The reply is: I took one other scuba class. 

Like many divers, I incorrectly assumed Advanced Open Water is just for divers who've reached a complicated talent degree. Fortunately, somebody defined what Superior Open Water is definitely about: working with an teacher to realize dive expertise. There are not any quizzes or exams and also you spend nearly all of the category within the water.

a diver talks to her scuba instructor while standing in a pool

Through the course, my teacher gave me some nice tips about ear equalization and helped me construct confidence in my diving expertise. Open communication is vital! Scuba instructors love serving to individuals. No matter drawback you’re having, there’s a superb probability they’ve encountered it earlier than. 

In the event you’re not able to enroll in Superior Open Water, think about joining a local dive club or attempt a specialty that may assist enhance your confidence (I like to recommend Peak Performance Buoyancy or Underwater Navigation). 

Like many issues in life, the one strategy to get higher at one thing is to maintain doing it. Don’t hand over! Hold diving…

Additional Studying/Go Deeper 

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