About to take PADI Open Water Test

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greets' started by jesstotheocean, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. jesstotheocean

    jesstotheocean Nassau Grouper

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    I just did my classes this past weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, whew I'm worn out!). But I had a problem with one excercise that we had to do. We had to go underwater, take our masks off for 1 minute, put them back on and clear the mask. I can clear the mask, I just get so freaked out not being able to see where I am. (I wear contacts so I always close my eyes). I heard we have to do this excerside in the Open Water Tests, has anybody else had problems like this? Any advise on how to get over my fear of my mask being off? And can anybody give me a runthough of what the Open Water Test consists Of?
     
  2. roturner

    roturner ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    You've seen all the test questions before. They're all in the knowledge review sections of your book in one form or another. If you read and understood the book and did your homework the test is easy.

    Try something for me. Close your eyes right now and tell us if you get scared. Ok, open them again (hmmm should have said this first....).

    Point is this fear (actually all fear) is in your head. What is the worst possible thing that could happen to you if you close your eyes under water?

    R..

    P.S. Oh and welcome to Scubaboard and congratulations on getting started with the world's coolest pastime.
     
  3. underwater daphne

    underwater daphne Barracuda

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    hi and welcome to the board. i wear contacts too and one of my biggest fears is that someone will kick off my mask. but don't forget you have a buddy who must help you find your mask should this happen. what kind of contacts do you wear? i wear dailies so it wouldn't really hurt if i had to open my eyes under water and lose my lenses. i just won't do it for an exercise.
    why are you freaked out because you can't see anything? there's really nothing to be afraid of. relax, take the mask off, pause, put it back on. nothing to worry about, nothing will happen. you're safe if you just do the exercise like you practiced.
     
  4. jesstotheocean

    jesstotheocean Nassau Grouper

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    Well when my mask if off I want to breathe from my nose and the bubbles from me breathing were going up my nose and in my eyes. I guess it's just something I'll have to practice in a pool.
     
  5. roturner

    roturner ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Jess,

    Cock you head to one side a bit. The bubbles will miss then.

    R..
     
  6. nite_diver

    nite_diver Nassau Grouper

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    after you pass the open water you can always go to your local dive shop with a note from your doctor and the dive shop will put the lens in your mask. whether all dive shops do this i really don't know
    as far as taking the mask off, it is so if you should ever lose your mask under water, you won't panic and your dive buddy will help you put it back on. good luck with the test and have a wonderful time with diving

    nite_diver
     
  7. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Scuba Instructor

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    Lots of students have trouble with this and it's because they haven't practiced it enough. Having a mask strap break or a mask get knocked of is something that could happen any time. IMO, it isn't wise to leave the pool until you're comfortable with this.

    If your mask come off on a real dive you'll still need to stay with your buddy and manage the situation. That will probably require you to open your eyes. May as well get used to it now.
     
  8. 5thBlackbelt

    5thBlackbelt Garibaldi

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    It is OK to open your eyes under water. It mayl burn for a few seconds and things are a tad blury, but at least you can see where you are and perhaps you will not be as nervous. My wifes totaly panics when she has to remove her mask. She practices in our pool, and it has helped. There could be times when someone kicks your mask while in a big group diving, or your strap could come loose. So PLEASE get used to the excerise they are teaching you for your own safety. Have a Blessed Day! Jamie
     
  9. Scott Riemer

    Scott Riemer Loggerhead Turtle

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    The mask removal, replacement, and clearing skill seems to be one of the most difficult for many students judging by the amount of times it gets posted in the forums. I hope you'll be able to use this advise in conjunction with what's been said already. Think first, then do. Meaning run through it mentally, then attempt the exercise. You know you can do it, it's a mental challenge, not necessarily a physical one.

    By the way, welcome to Scubaboard! You'll love it here.
     
  10. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Howdy!

    I just want to join the others in welcoming you to SB. Hope to get to know you around the forums.

    You'll get better with the mask thing with practice, like everything else we learn. You can go ahead and order the prescription lens for your mask now, if you'd like, but your mask may have to be sent off. Go ahead and ask now, though.

    Be sure to check out our New To Scuba forum for lots more help.

    Completing your Profile and seperately - keeping your Dive Info up to date helps in future diving discussions. PM me if I can help you learn your way around.

    don
    :wink:
     
  11. headhunter

    headhunter Renaissance Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to ScubaBoard! :happywave

    I dive with contacts and have never had a problem. If my mask gets kicked off in the ocean or knocked off by a wave, I immediately close my eyes and my hand easily finds the mask. I just put it back on with my eyes closed and clear it. If I needed to open my eyes to find the mask, I would just be prepared to have my contacts float away. Remember, as long as you can breathe, you've got all the time in the world. I've got pretty bad eyes, so I would just rely on my buddy to see things that are farther away if I lost my contacts.

    When I was certified in the "dark ages", I had to take my mask off along with the rest of my gear including shutting off the valve on the tank and leave it somewhere at the deep end of the pool. I then had to swim underwater to the other end of the pool while continuously exhaling slowly and surface. Then I had to swim underwater to where I left my gear and put it all back on again

    To do all of these types of tests in both a pool and the ocean, I simply took my contacts out and did the exercises half blind. I just had to get a lot closer to things to see them clearly. This kind of excercise might be a fun way to get comfortable with this for you. I don't know if this type of "ditch and recovery" is still done in classes or not. In fact, maybe an instructor out there could even chime in as to whether or not this would even be considered a "safe exercise" by today's standards.

    Dive safe!

    Christian

    P.S. Due to the high volume of new posts in the Introductions and Greets forum, it's not always possible to keep up with all the new posts here. So, please help me out and send me a PM if you post anything you want me to read or repsond to in this forum.
    :palmtree: :sunny
     
  12. baitedstorm

    baitedstorm Scuba Instructor

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    Welcome to the Board! I think you'll do just fine. Remember, this isn't your instructors way of being mean, these skills could save your life. Losing your mask wont kill you it's how you might react that might cause some damage. Just take a nice slow breath, relax your body and mind. Tilting your head to the side is an awesome way to keep those bubbles out of your nose. When I first did this skill, I would just keep telling myself "it's almost over" now, I take my mask off all the time to just keep my skills and comfort levels where I feel they need to be. As far as the rest of the class goes, just ask questions if you don't understand something. Please keep us updated with all your progress (just make a new post) good luck to you.
    Best Wishes,
    Vickie
     
  13. makinbubbles

    makinbubbles Nassau Grouper

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    Jess, the skills for the open water portion are the same skills you already did... just not as many. There is nothing new added to take you by surprise. I found the open water to be much easier then the pool, especially the bouyancy fin pivot and hovering. Oh yeah.. the CESA was way easier, just have to float up, instead of swimming on a angle to get the required distance in the pool.

    On the flooded mask thing, sorry I can't help you there. I do understand where you are coming from though. I don't like to close my eyes either.. always need to be aware of my surroundings. Even in pool or lake swimming w/o a mask I still like to keep my eyes open.. have since i was a little kid. I had Lasik surgery so the eyes open thing is no big deal for me. Like others have mentioned, you should look into perscription mask for the future.

    Hey good luck on the open water and welcome to your newest addiction! ;)

    Bob
     
  14. MSilvia

    MSilvia Great White

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    I don't wear contacts, but it seems to me that it might make more sense to just open one eye if you had to look for a mask. That way, you still have one contact to read your instruments with after you replace and clear it.
     
  15. headhunter

    headhunter Renaissance Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

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    LOL! Yeah, you're right, Matt. I just didn't include that much detail, but that's what I would do. I have a tendency to get a bit longwinded when I post, so I just left that out. Better to be able to see out of one eye once the mask is back on.

    I can actually squint and keep the contacts from coming out underwater. My "lead the blind buddy" example would probably only come about if the mask was kicked off and the flood of water quickly "washed" the contacts out of my eyes.

    All in all, it's never really been a problem. I've never even had a contact lens come out when body surfing, but I always take an extra pair, just in case.

    Christian
     
  16. WaterNut

    WaterNut Angel Fish

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    I'm a new diver also - just passed the OW and done my first certified dive. Like you, I hate opening my eyes underwater - but something my instructor said to me has stuck with me (and I hope always will): As long as you have air - you're OK. I remembered that when doing the mask flood and re&re in the OW and had no trouble. If you've got air, you're fine! Like someone else said, first think then do. You have air so you have time to think. Enjoy
    - Barry
     
  17. MtnDiver

    MtnDiver Surface Interval Member

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    Another newbie contact wearer here.

    Just find out from your instructor which OW dive this skill will be demonstrated on and don't wear your lenses for that dive. That's what I did.

    I'm pretty blind without my lenses, but hey, it isn't like you're going to be down there sightseeing much anyhow. Just make sure you can still read your gauges without your lenses. :) I had to put them right up near my mask to read them, but, again, this is an exercise, not a sight-seeing trip.

    Might be a good idea to try this out in the pool before your open-water outing to make sure everything goes OK and you are comfortable with the exercise.

    I have also gone to disposable lenses and carry a spare pair or two in my "save-a-dive" kit.

    Good luck!
     
  18. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Scuba Instructor

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    If it's a PADI class mask flooding is done on dives 2 and three and removed and replaced on dive 4. Not to mention the fact that you can loose a mask on any dive.
    Couldn't be more wrong.

    You learned to do the skills and demonstrated that you can do them in the pool (or you should have). The purpose for the open water part of the training is to get some actual experience...so...if you aren't spending some time sight seeing on these dives you best find an instructor who can teach the rest of the course for you. Per standards a tour for the purpose of gaining experience is a required part of each and every training dive. It's also best to find an instructor who will let you actually dive during this portion, doing your own planning and solving your own issues as you go as apposed to mindlessly following a DM or instructor.
    Which is exactly what the confined water training was for.
     
  19. roturner

    roturner ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    This is totally off topic but I recently managed to talk an instructor into doing this on dive 4 and it was really exciting for the students and a real eye opener for me. Instead of them following me on the tour I followed them and we agreed I would only intervene if it looked like they were doing something dangerous. It was a pretty chaotic dive in some ways but I think with a bit of practice doing it like this you'd soon find a way to offer students something in the way of real independence. However, I think that you'd really need to add two more dives to the programme to get this to work for you in the long run...

    On another topic I have an anecdote to throw in to the mask clearing thing. If you have trouble clearing your mask in the pool then consider this. When I was taking OW we did mask clearing thing until we were all bored to death of it..... But shortly after getting certified I took my AOW and on my first deep dive we were at 30 metres on a wall and I was moving along looking at the stuff in the wall. When I looked back ahead again the next thing I saw was a big flipper and *WHAM mask and regulator both gone. I caught the mask out of reflex and managed to get everything back in place again without incident. All the while it was running through my head "you've done this a million times in the pool.....". It just goes to show you what can and *does* happen and why you need to get your skills up to par sooner rather than later. Take the time to practice these things. it's important.

    Sorry for the interruption, we now return to our scheduled thread.

    R..
     
  20. kawboy579

    kawboy579 Angel Fish

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    As for the mask, take several deep breaths before you take it off, and with each breath, exhale through your nose and tilt your head down a little bit, which will keep water out of your nose, which will probably help.
     

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