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Checkout dives are in Panama City Beach next weekend. Advice for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by cogito222, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. cogito222

    cogito222 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: 30043
    13
    6
    3

    My goal this trip is to get my card but I'll be back to dive more when it's warmer with better conditions. I've been going down there for years and I'm excited about getting to see it all from below.
     
  2. cogito222

    cogito222 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: 30043
    13
    6
    3
    I was snorkeling and watching my son catch minnows in the jetty pools, plus it was a few years ago. It probably just seemed deep to me, versus actually being deep.
     
  3. Neilwood

    Neilwood Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Scotland
    2,464
    1,522
    113
    One thing I would say is that although it is a test is slow down, enjoy the dives and take your time. A good instructor will appreciate you taking a few seconds more during a drill to get it right than a rushed drill.

    There is a mantra that you will hear from old experienced divers - slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Sounds silly but it really means take a few more seconds to do it methodically and get it right than trying to rush it. All that happens when you rush is you get flustered and more inclined to make a mistake. If you do make a mistake, don't stress about it - just slow down and get it right next time. Even when doing the "lost reg sweep", if you miss it don't get flustered, try again and if you still miss it, go to your octo while you find it.

    Doing your OW is not a race - you don't get any extra points for going fast.

    Just to reiterate in case you haven't got the message - SLOW DOWN and take your time.
     
    rob.mwpropane and cogito222 like this.
  4. Cap335

    Cap335 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Houston
    465
    237
    43
    If you can't get a better wetsuit look into a hooded vest. It will add more insulation through your core.
     
    cogito222 likes this.
  5. cogito222

    cogito222 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: 30043
    13
    6
    3
    I appreciate all of the good advice everyone. Thanks for helping the new guy! I'm really excited about learning how to dive and enjoy the water from the other side.
     
  6. Hoag

    Hoag Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    1,446
    1,061
    113
    I learned to dive in Panama City (while on a conference at Tyndall AFB). Your checkout dives will likely be on a wreck called the Black Bart. It has a platform (the top of the wreck) at about 45 feet that is ideal for a few students to set up and do their check out dives. If it is too rough to go out into the GOMEX, then they might head north to do the dives in the "gin clear water" of Vortex Springs.

    Good Luck,, & have fun. Let us know where your dives wind up being.
     
    cogito222 likes this.
  7. cogito222

    cogito222 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: 30043
    13
    6
    3
    I got my card! I ended up at Vortex Springs and the Scubapro 5 mm was warm enough. I also got a Scubapro hat that just covers the skull and it worked very well.

    The skills all went well. My dive instructor did a great job and was patient and thorough. I learned a couple of things from him that were new to me like the NAUI skill of helping a diver on their back on the bottom. The taking off the gear in the water went much better during these dives than in the pool several weeks ago. This BCD fit better and I had done it before, so it went smoothly.

    It was a great experience and I look forward to diving all of the wrecks in PCB and the bridge spans in the future. Hopefully when the water is warmer. Seriously though, the water temperature ended up not being a big deal at all. The appropriate gear made all of the difference.

    Oh, I had an equalization problem on my very last dive. I think I blew to hard, which I completely knew I shouldn't do. It's much better now but my newbie mistake kept me out of the water Sunday when that shop was doing a boat dive. This makes it a lesson that I won't forget.

    Thanks for everyone's good advice and encouragement!
     
  8. CuzzA

    CuzzA Solo Diver

    11,481
    14,363
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    Congrats. Florida spring water is 72 degrees year round and wind never plays a role in diving conditions. A 5 mil is certainly suitable for spring diving.
     
    cogito222 likes this.
  9. carobinsoniv

    carobinsoniv Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Moultrie, Georgia
    733
    157
    43
    Congratulations! Glad all worked out for you.
     
    cogito222 likes this.
  10. BoundForElsewhere

    BoundForElsewhere ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York, New York
    608
    651
    93
    Congratulations. Start saying goodbye to your savings, joint or family vacations, and any thoughts about anything other than diving. You will, however, have strong cravings to be underwater, no room left in closets, drawers, bins, cupboards for anything besides scuba gear, and looks of disbelief when you tell your spouse how much you paid for your gear.

    Also, diving trips don't actually occur when you are diving. They start two months before you leave and last well past after you get back.
     
    cogito222 and rob.mwpropane like this.

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