After playing with diving in a pool for over a year I finally got to do my open water and high altitude certification.
Pool Skills - We all met up at the pool which had been ultra chlorinated. Many of us didn't have all the gear we needed such as weights etc and had to beg borrow and steal. Everything went great until we got to the survival swim. MySelf and my brother had been going to the lake for years. Doing stunts and such from an inter-tube or wakeboard. We considered ourselves fish in water. At this moment however we were a few minutes into the swim and both on the verge of drowning. A simple skill neither of us really knew we didn't know. After we both gave up, winded and beaten down, the instructor gets us back in the water demonstrates the proper technique and sudden we were masters at the survival swim. It was simple don't exhale all the air which makes you float. The doggie paddle wasn't needed.
Day 1 of Open Water Dives
Lake Jocassee in South Carolina was our dive spot. We went over all the gear and about signals etc. We were all taking in as much as possible as its a lot to remember. Not remembering could be a real problem when you are 40' with no way to talk other than with your hands. I learned a lot in the first 20 minutes of diving. We had one that had trouble clearing at first. We did three dives this day all simple dives mixed with skills. Buoyancy seemed to be the big issue with everyone. Otherwise it was uneventful and a fun day of diving.
Day 2 of Open Water Dives
Lake Jocassee in South Carolina was our dive spot once again. The day started off with some humor and some engineering. Someone, I won't say who, put there first stage on the tank and turned on the air. Unfortunately it was backwards and the air pressure was so great we couldn't get the yoke to release. After some engineering, ribbing, and laughs it came off and was put back the right way. There were some equipment struggles at first at the surface so the instructor asked me to go own down with him for a bit. I was really surprised after getting to about 38' when he signaled for my emergency ascent skill. I wasn't ready for it but didn't' panic and completed the skill well. I think the only skill I haven't mastered at this point is always remembering to blow bubbles when the reg wasn't in my mouth. I forget to do this a lot so I've been spitting it out and bubbling to try and get it to become instinctive. Another person goes so I go down a few feet to watch. They did fine and the day was starting off really good. Then the same person that put there gear together backwards was up. He started his ascent on queue then after a few feet up panicked. Spit the reg out and did the quickest hand over hand up a rope I have ever seen. I'm just glad it wasn't me. After the skills were complete we dove down to the "Junk" and actually for the first time just dove for the fun of it. Me and my dive buddy were open to dive around the junk and actually pay attention to what was around us rather than worry about skills. This is certainly what I signed up for and it was a great day of fun. Our instructor was great, he really knew what he was doing and really did a great job of showing us what do do and expect.