Sarah Miller, Eric Giles, Christy Pritchard, and I have been training underwater for about two months now. We began in late August at the Dive Shop off of 16 with Chuck Meide as our instructor. We've been learning with the NAUI program, going in-depth on numerous dive practices. Chuck has a way of getting us to do things underwater over and over and over again.
For instance, I missed out on a couple of pool sessions, so he had to catch me up last week. So, we get in the water; I'm feeling good, but as we go under, I'm feeling apprehensive about the tricks I have to do. Let me just get it out there in the open, I very much dislike clearing my mask fifteen feet underwater. I can only imagine how I'm going to feel when we're at our check-out dive in December. Let me explain to you exactly what clearing my mask entails. First, I close my eyes (because I wear contacts), then I take a deep breath through my regulator to steady my pounding heart. I quickly rip off my mask along with any hair that is attatched to it, all the while breathing through my regulator and hoping I won't take a breath out of my nose and inhale water instead of air. I fumble around in the dark for awhile getting my mask back on my head. Then I lift the bottom of the mask off of my face and blow out all the water that is trapped in my mask, pausing for a moment to remember to breathe, then blowing the rest of the water out, then I blink uncontrollably for a minute to make sure my contacts haven't moved around during the process.
Overall, though, I feel like we've learned a lot during the times we meet--that is, whenever everyone's schedules don't collide. We've spent time reading the NAUI textbook and answering the supplamental questions, then when we have "classroom time" we watch the instructional DVD. It's been fun trying to get all of our minds wrapped around the concept of dive tables and the amounts of time we can stay underwater at certain depths.
I think it's safe to say that we all are having fun and are excited about volunteering with LAMP in the future. We meet again in a couple of weeks....I'll let you know the new stuff we're learning! :)
-Hannah Locke (intern)