Learning to Scuba Dive

In May 2018 I was on a boat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina when I first saw Dolphins in the wild. I snuck my own beer on the boat and as I was enjoying it in the extremely hot sun I had a moment of pure happiness. I was so overjoyed to finally see Dolphins that are not in captivity. (I actually cried happy tears-weirdo right??) Later in August when in Key Largo, Florida I enjoyed a glass bottom boat tour where I saw nurse sharks, barracudas and plenty of cool fish. From that moment on I had a curiosity that I had to itch. This was the first time I really desired to be a Scuba Diver.

I researched course options and different organizations such as PADI, SSI ETC. PADI was the most recognized. I knew various Dive Centres were out there and plenty of courses but I decided to wait and think about it. Several weeks went by with no further action and I decided to do a bit more research.

There’s a local Dive Shop 3 kilometers from my apartment. I had been informed an instructor there was a real asshole. (Apparently he was related to my friends ex-wife so who knows). Based on their website they only hold courses every few months but I decided to talk to them and learn more. When the women answered the phone she was unengaged, didn’t want to answer questions and was only booking a session a few month’s away. I think she actually grunted at me. The way she sounded I visualized she was sixty+ years old with a smoke hanging out of her mouth at a bingo hall.

After that call ended and reconfirmed my low expectation of my nearest Dive Centre I decided to call another which was about 1 hour drive away.Pete answered the phone in a cheery helpful manner which was polar opposite of the last call. (This poor guy had no idea how much help I would require in the future. 🤣)

I was considering the Discover Scuba program and he explained most people move on to the course anyways so might as well save the money. I was hella scared but I signed up for the PADI Open Water Certification. My classroom and pool portion was scheduled for October 27th and 28th and I had to go pick up my text book to study and finish quizzes and exams.

I went to Dive World for the first time with my friend Jordan and was overwhelmed with the amount of equipment, suits and knives etc. Pete was busy with a customer so I waited my turn and when it was he brought over a PADI Blue waterproof pouch with my name written on tape. Inside had the course manual. He explained there was a series of videos summing up the chapters and to complete both. Pete also stressed not to leave it to the last minute as it was lengthy. It was like he saw right through me and knew that I was a procrastinator because I TOTALLY am.

I left excited and inspired and perhaps Jordan was a little too. Within the following weeks I had a shit tonne of shifts between my two jobs and it was really tough to dedicate the time to the course. I watched all the videos first and completed the chapters and quizzes in the book. It has been quite a few years since I’ve been in school and I was really enjoying learning something new.

The classroom and pool day quickly approached. My heart was jumping out of my chest with anxiety on the drive there. It was scary and I was doing it alone. I arrive and am greeted and checked in by Mario who is quite possibly the most attractive man I’ve ever seen in person. I planned to buy the basic gear; mask, snorkel and fins. In hindsight I should have waited and tried a few styles before purchasing. He went through all the options and I made my choices. After the equipment purchase I was seated in a small boardroom/classroom set up. A few more couples showed up and it was go time. There was three instructors; Pete, Mario and Joe. Joe led the classroom portion where we reviewed each chapter and wrote a test which we exchanged with our neighbours to mark. We blew through the first chapter and this couple stumbles in late and we caught them up. We did a large portion of the classroom work on the first day which helped day two start a little later. After the classroom session we learned how to assemble our kits and disassemble. We did this several times and I was pretty bad at this at first. We gathered our rented kits in rubbermaid containers and loaded in our cars. We had a short drive to a community pool where our in pool session would be held. After I pull into the parking lot I’m overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. All this shit was kind of heavy and I had to make two trips.

TBC

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