I’ve got Discover Scuba Diving students today, so it’ll be their first time in the sea, something I always like to be part of, introducing people to the joy of the undersea world. On meeting them they both look very fit and healthy, and it turns out they are both county swimmers. Swimmers and water? Should be an easy one! Medicals, theory and kitting up out of the way and they are ready to go in and do the few skills we need to complete before going for our dive in the bay.
I start nice and easy with the regulator clearing. Breathe in, remove reg, replace reg, clear reg. Very few people need a second go at this, so I demonstrate before handing over to them. And so they start….Breathe in, remove reg, replace reg, clear reg. All very good, but I’m sure they missed out the ‘blow bubbles’ part. Now, every diver will have had drummed into them that breath holding is not a good idea for so many reasons whilst diving, and these two must have just forgotten this in their excitement. It’s odd that both do the same thing, but hey ho, I ask them to repeat it. The same thing happens. Running through my list of likely reasons, I draw a blank and we I signal for us to surface. On asking the reason, my mental list has yet another entry. ‘Sorry, but we hold our breaths whilst swimming because we do the short distances”. Really? Never saw that coming, but makes a certain amount of sense if you are trying to get somewhere really quickly on the surface as taking a breath would slow you down. Well I never. However, I won’t be defeated by years of them automatically holding their breath when in contact with water, and we carry on. I have to say, it takes a fair few tries before they remember, and remember is the right word as they aren’t scared, just pre-conditioned!
Once we get over that particular hurdle, we finish the rest of the session in record time and before we know it we are heading for our Open Water dive. They are humming to themselves constantly, which though both annoying and my suggestion, means I know they are breathing! The fish aren’t too bothered, and we are treated to a baby eagle ray fly by (the one who has sadly lost his tail already at such a young age!) early on. They are finning around like nutters though, and their air consumption is not great. Used to using their legs to breaking point, the addition of fins means they are flying through the water, and I’m having trouble keeping up.
After a lovely, but very short dive, they are both hooked, and wondering if they can squeeze the course in before they fly home.
Although I’ll happily spend the next few days doing shorter dives (maybe the drysuit can go back in the box), maybe I might suggest a fast-track yoga course first, not for fitness, for breathing. Oh, and possibly suggest we leave the fins on shore!