Matt and I had been told over and over by several people that we should take dive lessons while we’re here in Guam. Diving in Guam is supposed to be the best… People that have been diving for years plan trips to come all the way to our little island to dive.
Matt had said he didn’t want to because it was another costly sport and it was either diving or golf and well… he loves golfing. Diving wasn’t in the picture for us… until very recently. Matt had been golfing with his buddies and just wasn’t enjoying it as much. After I came home from my trip to WA he had said that he changed his mind and thought we should take the dive class. What changed his mind? He’s so sweet. He said it was a sport we could do together. He knew I’d be happy taking golf lessons but that sport continues to be costly and you never know if you’ll be good at it… he said that I’d get frustrated and hate the game some days and want to quit. So diving it was.
We went and got snorkel gear and talked to a couple of instructors. We knew another couple that also wanted to take the course so we looked around for a reasonable price and good instructor.
Our neighbors across the street moved in last summer from Key West. Carrie is in the Coast Guard and her husband, Jeremy, has been diving for over 20 years and just happened to teach the beginners open water course among many other diving courses. He used to drive a dive boat in Key West and has a ton of experience. PERFECT!!!
He gave us the course work and we started planning. We wanted to get the class done soon since Matt would be going out to sea very soon.
Matt and I did our homework and studied hard and then it was time to get in the water.
Our swimming test.
Jeremy, our awesome instructor, going over our gear.
Our first day in the water was fun and frustrating… at least for me it was. I had never snorkeled before let alone put all this gear on and get in the water.
It was an amazing and scary feeling being able to breath under water. There were several skills in the next two days we’d need to learn and know well before we’d be certified so it was time to get to it.
One of the first skills was a beach entry into the water which was easy enough at first. Weight needed to be added to me and a couple other in order to keep us down in the water. We were going to kneel and do some “simple” but important skills. If we couldn’t do them all we had to do was stand up and we’d be fine.
One of these skills was clearing our mask just in case it fogged up or got water in it. This was not easy for me. All we had to do was break the seal in our mask to allow a little water to come in and then clear it out again… but after that he wanted us to take our mask off, just in case it were to ever get knocked off we’d know how to get it back on without drowning. Matt and Doug got it right away but Jessica and I were still having some difficulty. Okay I was having a ton of difficulty. But I was determined to do it. I took baby steps towards the final goal. I had to train my brain to only breath in and out of my mouth. This may sound easy, but it’s not, at first. I’d just tip my face in and then try. Nope. Okay, so I’d dip my head under while pinching my nose and then take some breathes and then let go of my nose. After several tries doing this I was eventually able to just breathe through my mouth and not my nose. Once I got that down, it was onto clearing my mask, which took some more practice and more practice. Eventually I got it and had a very sore throat from swallowing so much salt water.
After getting that skill done we were going to go to about 10 feet under the water and try to test our buoyancy. Buoyancy is a very important part to diving. A main part of it is your BCD, Buoyancy Control Device, also called a BC. This is the vest like thing we’re wearing. It’s kind of hard to see in some of the pictures because I’m wearing a wet suit and Matt’s wearing a rash guard. The BCD can be filled with air and has some ways to control how much or little air you have in it so you’ll go up or down while in the water. A large component in buoyancy is your lungs. After a while I’ll be able to control my buoyancy by how much or little I breathe in. It’ll take a while but I’ll get there. The BCD also has pockets to hold different things we may need while diving and several D-rings to clip different pieces of equipment to, like our regulator (the piece in our mouth that we breather out of), our gauges (to tell how deep we are or how much air we have), and our Octopus (the emergency regulator just in case our dive buddy runs out of air).
When descending into the water I wasn’t having an easy time of clearing my ears. They just wouldn’t clear. After several tries I got out of the water to let my ears rest. Jeremy, Matt, Doug, and Jessica continued down while I sat trying to clear my ears. They were able to get more skills done and then came back up and out of the water.
Day 2 in the water was frustrating because I couldn’t clear my ears, AGAIN. I was so frustrated. We were able to get some skills done on the surface. One was the “diver tow”. Just in case someone becomes unconscious you need to be able to get them out of the water…
After doing that one, I got out of the water again while they finished what they could. I was going to try again after a few days of rest to let my ears recoup.
After a few days Jessica and I met with Jeremy while Matt and Doug were at work. We were able to get in the water and clear with no problem. We were able to catch up and even get ahead of Matt & Doug. We practiced clearing our ears again and also went a little deeper in the water.
During our last day of water skills we went down to 40-50 feet. It was amazing. We went down twice and Jeremy got some great pictures.
Matt putting together his weight belt.
Before hitting the water for the first dive of the day…
We got out of the water after about 20 minutes and did some more skills. One, you’ll see below is the “giant stride entry”. Then we went on our second and last dive for the day. It was great.
Giving the all “OK” signal.
Hello from 40 feet below.
Coming out of the water as certified divers… woo hoo!!!
The newest certified divers in Guam.
Matt, me, Jeremy (our AWESOME instructor), Jessica, & Doug.
It was such a great learning experience. We plan to continue taking dive courses. We’ll both be taking the advanced and Nitrox course which will allow us to dive deeper. I plan on taking an underwater photography class which will be awesome. Matt is planning on going even further and becoming a Dive Master and possibly instructor like Jeremy. I know he’d be great at it.
Just after completing the class we went to the local dive shop and bought all of our own gear. We bought an underwater camera too with a red colored lens so we’ll have pictures with the true color underwater since red is the first color lost underwater. We’ll post more and I’ll write more after getting some more dive time under our belt… it’s going to be great. Be sure to check out all the rest of the pictures under our albums.
Until next time…