Thursday, 26 March 2015

Diving: Learning open-water theory

open water dive manual PADI
Anyone that has ever met me, even briefly, would not describe me as an outdoor person. I don't like grass or sand, I certainly don't like picnicking on them, or eating outside at all in fact. My relationship with nature and wildlife has always been "you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone."

Thinking about it, I don't really like water that much either. I never put my head underwater while swimming and my husband tells me that I make a very distressed looking face when I run my head under the shower.

With all this in mind you would be right to wonder why I would decide to try diving: but something about the idea of exploring the underwater world has always appealed to me. As a younger and much less fearful teenager, I almost did a fun dive on holiday in Turkey, but I woke up sick on the day of the dive and we had to cancel.

Oman is a great location for diving, lots of coral apparently, and my husband already has his licence so the idea is that we can be each others "buddies" when the heat kicks in and underwater is the only place to escape it.

So I've spent the past few evenings swatting up on the basic theories of diving. The main thing I have learnt is that you must always breathe. In theory, this shouldn't be difficult -- except that when I get nervous or I'm concentrating I hold my breath and this you must never do or your lungs might explode (well rupture). Seriously.

I have learnt about the relationship between depth, pressure, volume, and density (which are very relevant to the lung repture risk). I've started learning the signals for "I'm out of air" "I'm in distress" and "I'm cold," which are all very obvious, and I have been getting myself familiar with the equipment you need to keep yourself safe and alive.

The concepts of diving are all very logical, the challenge will be being not letting my nerves get the better of me and remembering to breathe.

I'm nervous, but excited at the same time. It has taken a lot of willpower this week not to Google things like "how many people die learning to dive?"

The first dive is in confined water where I will be practicing how to control things like buoyancy, how to set up my kit and, most importantly, how to breathe.

Wish me luck!