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Confessions of an unlikely diver

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by bowlofpetunias, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. bowlofpetunias

    bowlofpetunias Oh no, not again! Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    12,438
    5,847
    113
    Well I haven't searched for previous threads on this. I expect some shots to come my way but what the heck.:duck: I think a thread like this might be a worth taking a few darts for those Unlikely Divers out there both old and new. What skill or action did you find hardest to master in your Open Water Class? How did you master it or are you still working on it?

    I will confess I had quite a few! My dive instructor told me years later that he was surprised that I continued to become such a competent and mad keen diver considering my struggles in my OW Class! He said in 25 years as an instructor he was pretty good at picking who would continue and who would not. He said it was a good thing nobody offered him a bet on me or he would have lost his money:lol:

    There is hope... fish says I became a competent diver and he needs a stable of dive buddies to keep my happy because I am too pig headed to quit [​IMG]! I say I became a competent diver because I am determined! I say TomAto... he says Tomato lol If I could get through it anyone can!

    The reason I am an Unlikely Diver... my greatest struggle was to PUT MY FACE IN THE WATER! (This was probably related to nearly drowning as a child before I learned to swim.) There I have said it *whew* it feels good to get that off my chest. I never told anyone for a long time (including fish) what a real struggle it was! All the way to the dive site I would do this self talk... "You can do it.. just put your face in the water and breathe!" When we geared up the self talk would continue.. "Just get your face in the water and breathe and you will be ok!" I would try to get to the water as quick as I could so I could get my face in the water before I "chickened out!" Once I was in the water and breathing.. I settled pretty quickly. The crazy thing is that in spite of my discomfort I always had a reasonable SAC.:shocked2:

    I think I had 50 or more dives up before I realized as we were driving to the site that I wasn't dreading the face in the water thing. It took me over 100 before I realized I hadn't even thought about it for I don't know how long.:dork2:

    Now the thing that scared me so much is the thing that relaxes me the most. When the water closes over my head and I enter that magical place the weight of the world falls away. I live in the moment, revel in the sounds, marvel at the sights. I am so thankful that I get to experience what so few are privileged to do!:D

    Yes I have mastered this part! The other things I had and still struggle with... I will share but only if you share too. I am betting that I am not the only Unlikely Diver out there and hoping by sharing our stories we may help each other and the new Unlikely Divers!
     
  2. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,149
    22,258
    113
    I have taught at least a half dozen reluctant divers. Some I take all the way to the finish of their OW and some I only get to help them with a skill or two. Yes, it takes patience on the part of the instructor, but it also takes determination by the student. I think this is a great thread.
     
    bowlofpetunias likes this.
  3. bowlofpetunias

    bowlofpetunias Oh no, not again! Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    12,438
    5,847
    113
    Thanks NetDoc! I think there are a lot of new divers, or Students who also have issues. People are sometimes reluctant to admit to having problems because they are too embarrassed or afraid people with think ill of them.

    I have always taken pride in the fact that I am not the type to panic. It shocked me in my first OW ocean dive when I started feeling paniced!

    What I know now that I didn't then was the fact that I came so close but still stayed in control and didn't bolt for the surface is what indicated I would be a competent diver with determination and lots of work. Someone wise (can't remember who) said "Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and still doing what must be done!" I think divers need to know that wanting to bolt is not the problem... not being able to control that urge is the problem!

    It is still about being sure that you don't put yourself into a dive you aren't ready for...baby steps hmm?
     
  4. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: NA
    6,375
    1,289
    113
    Haha...I refused to take my reg out on Confined Water Dive 1......and now?

    "Unlikely diver"? Could not stand being in swimming pools and did not swim (still don't really "swim").

    To add to what NetDoc said regarding the "reluctant diver". Depends on if they wanted to be there and are reluctant, or if they were dragged there by a friend/spouse and are reluctant. The former is much easier to work with, the latter is tougher.
     
    bowlofpetunias likes this.
  5. tomfcrist

    tomfcrist NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia, USA
    2,870
    1,754
    113
    I agree with hawkwood. The reluctant ones who were dragged into the class are the ones that I really don't mind if they decide to quit. I treat them all the same, but have higher hopes for the ones who are determined to learn to dive.
     
    Aquabot likes this.
  6. Dsix36

    Dsix36 Solo Diver

    1,399
    913
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    OK I will confess but first a bit of background on myself. Being mechanically inclined since birth (I was always disassembling my toys to see how they worked) and then getting formal education to tear things apart and fix them, tends to make me less than trusting of anything electrical or mechanical. I know for a fact that ANYTHING can break and I just assume that with my luck, it willl break when I am using it. This assumption has helped me to not be disappointed many times throughout my life.

    I was "forced" into the ocean by my girlfriend to go snorkeling. I found this to be somewhat boring until I began freediving in the shallow water to collect shells for my mother. It was while doing this one time and tryng to get a specific shell that I was not able to hold my breath long enough for, that I came to the conclusion that I wanted to stay down there longer. It was a few years before I was able to get my girlfriend to get trained with me. I got all the stuff set up for training and she backed out. I was too excited and told her @#R%$#$, I am still doing it.

    First day in the pool was not good. I was not able to remain underwater for very long and would have to surface to catch my breath. I was the only one having this problem and I was getting pissed. I was determined and kept going back under just to surface again. It took me a very long time to realize that I was subconsciously refusing to exhale all the way. I was not sure if the gear would work for my next breath so I was always keeping a bit in reserve. I had to make a conscious effort with my breathing for a very long time (as in several years) before I was able to breath normally and in a relaxed manner. This made my descents a nightmare since I would always have to float on the top of the water and mentally relax my breathing to be able to sink (full lungs tended to be rather buoyant).

    I still do not trust scuba gear and I trust my rebreather even less, but after many years of practice and training, I have managed to maintain my breathing as normal and relaxed. My big problem now is that I sometimes get so relaxed when diving that I breathe too shallow and too little. I will sometimes make my chest hurt from lack of oxygen before I notice that I need to breathe again.
     
  7. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    36,349
    13,582
    0
    Great topic for a thread!

    I am definitely an Unlikely Diver. In fact, my husband tells his OW classes that if there is a problem you can have, or a mistake you can make, I've had it or made it!

    I wrote a journal of my OW class, which is still linked in my sig line, because every few months, I get a PM from somebody who says they found it helpful or encouraging. There are a lot of people out there who think they are the ONLY ones who ever had problems learning to dive!

    My big challenge was buoyancy control . . . and I mean BIG challenge. It didn't help to learn to dive in a dry suit here in Puget Sound, but I didn't hold a shallow stop until my 50th dive. Even after that, midwater buoyancy control was always tenuous. I took a lot of training and did a lot of practice, and after all of it, I hated ascents. I could feel my heart start to pound as we approached the point where we'd have to go directly up, even if it was up a line. But I stuck with it, and I learned some techniques to control vertigo (which helped), and I did a bunch of lights-out work in my cave classes, which also helped. Today, I know I can hold stops where I want to (I also know not to move my head around too much in midwater), but I noticed yesterday that I reached out and touched the upline several times just for reassurance. Old habits die hard.
     
  8. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,149
    22,258
    113
    It's been my experience that once buoyancy is mastered, and I mean mastered, the comfort level increases dramatically and the reluctance evaporates. It's probably the most important skill and it's why I introduce it at the very beginning of any class.

    It's my opinion that the biggest "deal breaker" for reluctant divers is water in the face. The best thing a diver to be can do is to get in a bathtub with their snorkel and learn to breathe with the face in the water (no mask). Or simply fill their mask with water and put it on full. Talk, sing or whatever until you are comfortable with the water on your face.
     
    bowlofpetunias likes this.
  9. maniago

    maniago PADI Pro

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Mid-Atlantic (MD)
    899
    283
    63
    I converted a reluctant spouse-never-scuba'ed-non-diver this morning in DSD. She told really scary stories in the LDS when she came in (face to face with sharks snorkeling, dropping to the bottom out of control, shooting up out of control etc), but she was standing in the LDS telling the story. I knew she was diver material long before she did. Anyway, we did 1v1 baby baby steps in the DSD, and in 20-30 mins she'd done the skills and was swimming around. Touchdown! Now granted, there's lots more refining work to be done, even before OW, but she's over the hump and she proved to herself that she can do it. Man, I live to see the light bulb come on! What a thrill!
     
    bowlofpetunias likes this.
  10. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    8,591
    7,347
    113
    It took me several attempts to even snorkel. Every time I heard a little gurgle of water in my snorkel I jerked my head out of the water. I finally figured it out and had a lot of fun free diving for the next year. Then my wife at the time said we were taking OW. I was fine with all of the skills in the pool, but our final certification dive gave me pause. When I had to do the mask removal and recovery, my instructor kept placing my mask a foot out of my reach. By the time I got it back on, my eyes burned for the rest of the day. I had to do the gear removal skill in the kelp. My tank, BC and reg got tangled in the kelp. It took what seemed like forever to get it back on. Twenty-four years later, I've had to remove and replace my BC once when a tank strap came loose, but I've never had my mask off underwater since 1989.
     
    bowlofpetunias likes this.

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