S.C.U.B.A. = Sarah Can’t Use a Breathing Apparatus

Around Manila
August 27, 2009

Scuba Diving Pool Session

Who knew?  It turns out that I have breathing issues.  I go to the dentist and I get yelled at for being a “night mouth breather”  (which causes gum bleeding) and then I get in the pool for my first scuba session and can’t stop exhaling through my nose no matter how hard I try.  If they would have been giving grades last night for breathing underwater, I think I would have gotten a D-.  I consider an F dying, so at least I’m not there….

First, I’d like to give myself a big pat on the back.  This was a BIG stretch for me.  I was a nervous wreck all day, thinking about the many ways I could die while underwater (My list includes: sharks, stingrays, eels, lung embolisms, over-inflated lungs, not getting to a hyperbolic pressure chamber in time, etc).  Impressive list, no?!  In fact, I was pretty much nauseous all day.  Then, to top it off, we get to the outdoor pool and it starts to rain.  Awesome – now my day is perfect.

Let me just be crystal clear: Ladies and gentlemen, this was done out of pure and simple love.  There would have been no other reason that I’d put myself through so much anxiety…. but I adore my guy and he wants this to be our “couple activity”.  So gosh darn it, I am going to learn to inhale and exhale through my mouth and try to stay alive while we explore the ocean TOGETHER!

And wouldn’t you know it, Nick was a natural.  He passed each skill test on the first try and it’d take me 3 or 4 times (maybe with a quick break at the surface for a coughing spasm).  It was an intense, exhausting 3 hours for me.  But I did it.  I completed every last skill.  The breathing challenges really did me in.  It’s hard to layer on additional stuff when you don’t have the fundamental part down right away.  Thankfully, we had a wonderfully patient instructor and he just kept repeating the procedure over and over.  Guess that means I’m not a natural, huh??

After the skill session was the open swim time.  Sounds easy but somehow that eluded me too.  I could not get myself to sink.  I learned afterward that I was inhaling too rapidly and then not exhaling for a long enough period to match it.  Hence, I floated.  It just looked so much easier than it actually was… Again, I did manage to figure it out after a LONG time of getting it wrong.  Can’t say I was very proud of my first outing in the pool.

I would be celebrating my accomplishment if it weren’t for the fact that I have 4 pool sessions and 5 more ocean dives between Saturday and Monday.  I could barely make it through 1!  How the heck am I going to do 3 days of it???  Let’s hope for a miracle people.  It’s going to be a looooong weekend.  Expect a big review on Tuesday when we get back and thanks for all the supportive comments that helped get me through last night!

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