Thursday, April 3, 2008
What Are You A Baby?!
Ok here is the weekend story:
When we arrived in Balmorhea the hotel we were booked at did not have our reservation. There were no other rooms available in Balmorhea. There was room available in Fort Davis. Thirty miles away. Not a great way to start a trip. I have been suffering from bad allergies this year. Sore throat, sneezing, coughing ect. I was really not in the mood for diving. The dive day started out at 9:00 am and a cool 36˙F. Brrrrrrrrr! Luckily the water was 75˙F. Still a little chilly. The dive site is like a big swimming pool. The sides are lime stone.
The dive day started out with a snorkel. The pictures were taken while I was snorkeling. For my dive I was grouped with L, B, and C. C was my dive buddy and L and B were buddies. M the dive master was also in the group. He is the assistant instructor. C is a big police man . His calfs are as big as my thighs! He made SCUBA diving exercise! SCUBA is some what leisurely. With C it is not! B and L were having problems keeping up on top of the buoyancy problems. When SCUBA diving your breathing controls your buoyancy. If you are properly weighted and there is not air in your BC you can control your buoyancy with your breathing. Your breathing rate must be slower and deeper than normal.
While in the dive groups no one can be left behind. I felt like a kindergarten teacher/ border collie. Keeping every one together. Both the dives on the first day went well. C was a good partner.
The second day Ed the the dive instructor told B and I that just the three of us were going down together. B is one of the worst divers in the class. The instructor paired him with me. I kept thinking does that mean that I am incompetent too. It worried me. Ed told B and I that we were going to swim to the length of the "pool" and do the shared air ascent. The shared air ascent is were two divers share one tank of air with two regulators. It is used when one diver is out of air. Ed told B and I to descend. Ed and I descended but B could not. Ed and I waited at the bottom. After several minutes I surfaced to see what B was doing. I said he could not descend. I , some said, barked out that he needed to breath in out deep breaths. I don't think I really barked it out but I did say it um.........bluntly. he finally descended and we continued our dive. B would not stay with me. I was the buddy leader. He kept lagging behind. If I took my eyes off him for two seconds he was gone. I was like keeping up with a toddler underwater! It was nerve racking. I knew I was being tested during the dive. I did not know if I should just drag him with me. At one point I held on to his arm just to keep him with me. During the trek across the "pool" B stopped many times. I looked at Ed and by the end the just through up my hands. I was exasperated. But the best was yet to come! At the end of the "pool" we were supposed to do a shared air ascent. The proper procedure for shared air is: signal to your partner that you are out of air and want to share air. Your buddy hands you their octopus regulator. (which is their secondary regulator) You remove your regulator put theirs in your mouth and you hold each other's right arm. This is how B preformed the procedure: I signaled that I was out of air and wished to share air. I removed my regulator and he shoved the octopus in my mouth! Hard! It made my gums bleed! He grabbed my left arm while holding the regulator in mouth. The regulator was off to the side of my mouth. I could not breath from it. He continued to hold it in my mouth as we swam for the surface. I swatted his hand to make him let go if it but he did not.
I was glad the we were only twenty feet down! After the shared air experience it was B's turn to be the dive leader. We descended and B continued toward the wall of pool. He turned around and looked at me and gave a "what now" gesture. I pointed toward the other side of the "pool". He continued toward the other side. When we finally reached the end of the "pool" It was his turn to preform the share air procedure. He gave me the out of air and share air signal. I grasped his right arm and held my octopus regulator for him. He just opened his mouth. I was thinking what the heck is he doing!? I am not supposed to put it in his mouth! He would not take it! I put it in his mouth. Ed grabbed my hand pulled the regulator out of his mouth, put B's hand on it and shoved it back in his mouth. It was funny! When we surfaced Ed gave him a thirty minute lecture. When Ed said "What are you a Baby? Good thing you have a caring dive partner who will but the regulator in your mouth! " I almost lost it. I covered up my laugh with a cough. I was half expecting Ed to turn to me for my lecture. Ed told him to do it again properly this time. We descended and B gave me the out of air signal. I handed him the regulator he jerked it out my hand and franticly put it in his mouth (upside down) Ed pulled it out of his mouth turned it around and stuck it back in. B grabbed my arm and swam franticly toward the surface. Ed gave him a lecture of that too. It is very dangerous to panic. When we finished the dive I asked Ed what he wanted me to do for my second dive. He found me a competent partner G. Said to G " Ashley is in need of a competent dive partner. Will you be her partner?" He said yes. I told Ed thank you and he said, " Your welcome, You take care of me I will take care of you." Diving with him was fun. He was newly certified and was there with two of his friends. It took me a few minutes to just relax. To tell myself that I did not have to watch him every second.
After the dives when I was getting ready to leave I asked Ed what I needed to work on. He said, nothing that I am fine and that I was a natural that some people are not and that he appreciated my patience.
Many little things happened on the dives and the trip that I might share later. I hope you enjoyed it.
There will be more pictures tomorrow.