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Nervous and Conflicted about my first actual dive.

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by BlueTuna, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. BlueTuna

    BlueTuna Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Columbus, Ohio
    Greetings fellow divers,

    Quick background info in case you dont know about me.. I just got scuba certified to prep for this grand vacation to Bonaire. Ive invested a lot time, energy and finances into this trip and I really wanted everything to go well. I actually ended up missing my first flight, and ended up getting delayed, losing 2 days of my week-long vacation and having to spend an additional $650 to get here. (more on this later)

    Anyways, I finally get to the resort and as soon as I check in, the front desk recomends I go sign up at the scuba shop before it closes. I get there, sign some paperwork, and run into the owner of our local Dive shop (the shop that orchestrated this vacation). After acquiring my rental equipment and going to my locker on the dock, he approaches me and basically says, "Suit up, were going to get your first dive done right now, you and me..so youre qualified to dive tomorrow" In the interest of saving time (it was about an hour til sunset), he set up my dive tank and demonstrated each step. He had me demonstrate mask clearing, and losing my regulator and putting back in. During the dive however, I had several issues that made me feel that I might need more practice before going on a deeper dive.
    -My mask seemed to be constantly getting little small amounts of water in it. He thought this might be a mask issue and said he would try a new mask for me tomorrow... additionally, during the mask clear I think I did decent, but he had me repeat it a few times, so I wasnt sure if I was doing something incorrectly. I also ended up with stinging salt water in my eyes
    - Despite feeling like I was starting to get the hang of the neutral buoyancy thing during my pool dives, I felt terrrible on this dive. In the pool I had 0 weight and sunk like a rock. Here I had 4 lbs of weight, but kept floating to the surface while he was near the bottom. Even while submerged, I felt like I was too upright most of the time. He told me I needed to practice exhaling more.I managed to maintain a decent depth/buoyancy for a short time, but I ended up inadvertently ascending again.
    - Lastly and MOST importantly... I tried to equalize, and I think I did Okay, but I feel I still need practice. I seem to more difficulties equalizing my left ear (the one that got sore/painful after my first lesson). At one point, when I was probably 15-20 ft under, my left ear started feeling a bit painful. I signaled this to the instructor so we ascended a bit until I tried to equalize again. I felt like I managed to get it to a decent level, but something still felt off and it seeemed like it took a lot more effort and time for me than it does for other people. Also, when I surfaced I noticed thin, clear mucus coming out of my nose. I didn't feel congested prior, but I wonder if I'm lightly congested and wasn't aware of it. I also think might be a side effect of getting water in my mouth.

    In the past hour I've watched a few videos about equalization. I hope someone of the alternative methods will help, but i honestly don't know how I feel about going down to 30-60 ft when I'm struggling and felt a bit uncomfortable at sub 30ft.

    Also, I would like to know if there's a better way to determine if your sinuses/ears are ready for your dive.

    Edit; The big reason I was feeling conflicted was whether I should go on the deeper boat dive before getting a better grip and/or adjusting to this new environment closer to the shore.
  2. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    One, you need your own mask. Mask fit is a very personal thing. I can’t wrap my brain around the idea that people can get certified without even owning their own mask.

    Two, a lot of us have crappy first dives. Just grit your teeth and muscle through it. I’m very stubborn and that’s the only way I’ve gotten this far. Swearing through your reg is allowed. :wink: Buddies of mine are used to it.
  3. Caveeagle

    Caveeagle Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: High Springs, FL
    Dang, sounds like you has a rough travel experience and we’re sort of set up for rough time. This is why I really try to encourage people to get their certs done before vacation.

    I hate being rushed. That can make you stressed and compound a bad situation to make it worse. I hope your instructor isn’t giving you the bum’s rush, just to make life easier for himself. I would be pretty pissed off.

    Hope you can try to relax. Take some Sudafed and enjoy your next dive.

    Also.. the 30-60’ will not be as hard on your sinuses as 0-30’. Just take your time.
  4. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    Don't underestimate the impacts of being tired and distracted and off from flying and traveling. All your problems were "little" and those are not unusual, especially when new and when using new gear. You identified all your weaknesses, so it doesn't sound like they are going to sneak up on you. Try to get a good night sleep and you will probably do fine in the morning.
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  5. divin'dog

    divin'dog Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New England
    You pretty much sound like a normal diver going for your first dive. Nothing too problematic that some attention to detail cannot fix. These are fine tuned details that get you to become a good diver... And you will be fine tuning for a long time. As for equalizing, just be careful. Don't descend through the pain. That is your body telling you something is not right. Remember, you're not diving down to 30-60 all at once. It is 1ft at a time. And your instructor should realize that you should take your time being comfortable with each foot you descend. Talk to your instructor before the dive and go over what you are expecting and what you may be fearful of... One thing I like to do before going under is to lightly equalize just above the surface. It seems to help a little more than starting when you need it. And of course, never force the equalization.

    As for nasal mucus, that is pretty normal. Dive snots is part of the hobby. :) Good luck! Let us know how you do. If you're one on one with the instructor (if I read that right), there's probably not too much to worry about.
  6. Aviyes

    Aviyes Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    The alternative ways to equalize can be a big help. I have one ear that doesn't always like to equalize with the standard valsalva manuever. The mucus you noticed at the end of the dive comes from the small amount of water that came into your mask, it likes to pool around your nose and causes that mucus.
  7. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
    As others have said, bad first dives are normal. Relax and know it gets better but addicting.
  8. Paul M

    Paul M Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Waterloo, ONT
    Don't feel bad. You're just starting out.
    Try on as many different masks as they have until you find one that seals nicely. It should stay on your face with a gentle inhale from your nose, without using a strap or your hands. The instructors should know this.

    Being able to exhale enough to descend requires a level of relaxation that improves with time and practice. The only thing I can recommend is try your best to really relax, before and when you get in the water. Try some slow deep breaths before you begin the dive. Just like yoga.
    Being able to relax is an essential step towards improving your diving in many ways including but not limited to reducing your lead requirement and your air consumption.

    Take as much time descending as you need and of course, equalize early and often. Don't necessarily wait until you feel the pressure. You can't equalize to much.
    Your instructors may need to slow their descent to your pace just as they would hopefully ensure you ascend slowly.

    Have fun, relax and dive safe.
  9. saxman242

    saxman242 Manta Ray

    Paul has the right idea.

    Taking your time really is important here. Most people on their first dives are in a huge hurry. Think of how long it feels like it should take to descend and go twice as slow. Take as much time as you need and then some. Nothing underwater needs to be rushed.
    divin'dog, Lostdiver71 and Paul M like this.
  10. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    Standard issue.

    you’re brand new. That’s totally cool. You’re gunna have to do it a bunch before you get good at it.

    You’re doin fine. Keep at it and soon it’ll all be second nature and easy.
    crcobb and chillyinCanada like this.

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