In this instalment of his journey, Samuel is taught how to set up and dive with scuba gear with help from Steve from Burntwood Sub Aqua Club.
We began the lesson with the brief and S.E.E.D.S as usual. We then moved on to preparing the SCUBA unit.
Assembling the SCUBA unit can be quite a challenge for me, as it’s all quite heavy and I can’t bend down to be on the same level as the unit. It does put a lot of strain on my back, but I imagine that with practice not only will my back become stronger but also, I will figure out techniques which make assembling the kit easier and more manageable.
Once Steve had made sure that my unit was assembled correctly and had explained why certain checks are done we moved on to the next step, kitting up and buddy check. We had gone through the buddy check the previous week, so this time Steve made me go first. I still required help with the phrasing of parts but other than that, I felt it went well.
It was now time to enter the water. OS2 states “Entry into shallow water by ladder or wade entry”. I am unable to do either of those, so I sit on the side of the pool, fully inflate my B.C.D, grab my mask and regulator, hold them to my face, then lean forward until I fall into the water. Once in, the lesson really begins. We started by swimming on the surface with B.C inflated.
First, I swam on my back with the B.C fully inflated and while using my demand valve, after 1 length, I deflated my B.C slightly and swam another length on my front. Finally, we repeated the previous step but change halfway from using my D.V to using my snorkel. These steps were fine and I had no trouble with them, other than the fins I was using were causing me to be put off balance and made changing from the D.V to the snorkel awkward.
The next step was to take off my mask and breathe through the D.V with my head fully submerged. This is to develop the habit of not breathing through both your mouth and nose. It’s a helpful technique to learn if ever your mask is to get lost while underwater as you can still breathe without issue.
The next task was to be underwater at standing depth and retrieve a lost demand valve. There are 3 parts to this; first, to take the demand valve out, then reinsert it in my mouth, and exhale hard to clear out any water in it. The second step, same as the first, except I pushed the purge button to clear the water.
The third step was the trickiest. I had to take out my demand valve, and let it go. I then had to roll to my side while moving my arm from my hips to behind me and up, like a windmill motion. Once I felt the demand valve hose on my shoulder, I stuck out my right arm in front of me, and tracked my left hand from my right hand up to my shoulder and grabbed the hose of the demand valve. Once I had the demand valve, I used either the exhale method or the purge button method to clear the water. I had to perform this twice.
Whilst underwater we decided to move straight on to the next task which was a mask clear, partially, fully flooded and full removal. Steve demonstrated how to perform each one of these, and then I repeated what Steve did. I had some trouble with the emptying a fully flooded mask, as I wasn’t holding the top of my mask properly and didn’t realise but I was pulling the top open as well as the bottom so was just letting more water in. Steve helped and showed me what I was doing wrong and I rectified my mistake. Again, we stayed underwater and moved on to the next task, which was using the alternative supply.
Steve showed me the no air signal, I then proceeded to raise my hands as if I was surrendering, Steve then grabbed my Octopus valve and began breathing from that. Once he was satisfied and back using his demand valve, he told me to copy what he did. So, I gave him the no air signal, and he raised his arms. I grabbed his octopus valve, took my demand valve out, purged Steve’s octopus valve, and breathed off that for a few seconds. I then swapped back to my demand valve.
We then swam to deeper waters to move onto controlled ascent and descent using the B.C. As usual, this started with Steve demonstrating. He went to the floor on his front, then using his B.C went up slightly, and then went back down. I then did the exact same thing. Then Steve demonstrated by slowly ascending all the way to the top and then slowly descending back down to the floor. The first attempt I made, I descended too quickly and hit the floor too hard, however on my second attempt I did it perfectly. We then swam to shallower waters to finish off the lesson.
I exited the water the same as I did the previous week, by unclipping my B.C.D apart from my right arm clip, keeping the demand valve in, and rolling off the B.C.D and not taking the D.V out until I had hold of the side. Once I’d done that, I passed the B.C.D to my dad who was poolside. I then climbed out of the pool and I had the debrief with Steve.
Overall I really enjoyed the lesson and felt I coped really well, despite having a few minor errors and problems.
- Samuel Asbury