Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conquering a personal fear factor.

Germans are the butt of many jokes thanks to David Hasselhoff and the Scorpions. However we were discovering that they had their own brand of humour. The Poseidon Dive Centre was owned by two German guys, guarded by two large German Sheppards who were named after two famous German footballers. Our instructor Gerd was a great guy but his humour was a little odd. Today we were going out to do our last three dives. The first of which was the Deep Dive. I was a little worried – my ears were a bit weird thanks to my tiny cold and yesterday’s diving and today we were going twice as deep. Going deep, our textbooks were quick to warn, had lots of consequences, the bends as well nitrogen narcosis. Nitrogen narcosis is essentially getting drunk on nitrogen and causes divers to do some silly things.

Gerd told me I had nothing to worry about. And in an effort to make us feel better Gerd thought he’d share one of those “funny” stories with us. When he was in Utila, he heard about one guy on his first deep dive who got nitrogen narcosis and suddenly took off down. The last anyone saw him he was about 90m. They never found him. Gulp.

“But don’t worry. Where we’re diving today, if you want to go deep you’ll have to dig through the sand.” He said with a chuckle. See what I mean about the German humour.

But the deep dive was really nothing to worry about. It really was no different than a shallower dive, except you use your air more quickly. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a whole lot on this dive. But that was okay because out next one after our lunch break was an easy one. The Photography Dive was just an excuse to borrow the school’s underwater camera and take some photos to document our underwater experiences. It was actually a lot more difficult than I thought. Trying to hold the camera steady while holding our position in the water. Of course it wasn’t helped by working with a new camera which wasn’t the greatest. Many times by the time I pressed the button, the fish had swum out of frame. But by the end of the dive we’d managed to get some shots to remind us what’s cool about diving.

That left just one dive left to do. The dreaded night dive. The thing I dread the most. And I had five hours to get increasingly more nervous about it. Thankfully my internet dive buddies (Hi Cindi, hi Bogdan) were quick to offer me a little pep talk. And their funny stories were a lot less stressful than Gerd’s were. Of course, Gerd kept telling me not to worry. And admittedly he’d been right so far. But there is a first time for everything.

We had a quick lupper (not quite lunch and too early for supper) and then suited up to go out. The sun was just nudging towards the horizon when we went out. Seeing that I was still a little nervous, Gerd allowed us to go into the water when there was still a sliver of light out, which helped immensely. And good thing too, because Adrian got tangled up in his lamp and needed that bit of light to right himself. I had been most nervous about jumping into the water in the dark than the actual diving. So when the darkest did come I was half over my huge fear already.

The lamps we carried illuminated more than I thought they would and though we didn’t see any phosphorescence or octopi we did see huge lobsters and the most fish we’d seen so far. At one point I looked up and saw nothing but blackness and started to get a little freaked out. The solution? I didn’t do that again. There were just the three of us so it was easy to keep track of each other. Another good thing because Adrian lost one of his fins at one point but Gerd was able to rescue it. But that was it for excitement. And it was pretty tame but very cool. Soon it was over and we were done. We were now qualified advanced divers. Yay another fear conquered.


Ayngelina said...

Wow I'm impressed. I just don't think I have the guts to scuba dive, it makes me feel clausterphobic.

liz and adrian said...

no claustrophobia - it's too big of an ocean out there. too much space to get the heebiejeebies.

Cindi said...

way to go! night diving isn't my favorite, but it's definitely an experience. even when i was doing my divemaster training i freaked out during a night dive (all the DM's and instructors decided to go to the wreck @ 100 ft. at night - during crappy weather - Jason's torch broke - I got slammed on the head from the buoy chain) - however, i survived and will stick to mostly day diving. i dont' know how jason talks me into these things sometimes....haha!

liz and adrian said...

i read that as a 100m at first and thought wtf.

all jason's fault? hmm. not really buying that :)

fyi there are no night dives in the galapagos, in fact all the boats had to be in the barbour by 6pm. after 6pm it's shark feeding time so they don't want anything in the water - especially humans.