This is Small Potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but I have to level with myself about what's realistic and wise when you're just a week or two shy of 55 years old. And live in a land-locked state with infrequent chances to even be where scuba diving would be available.
Doug and I went to Long Lake this weekend and I was pretty excited about this part of the dive training. It was to be the first time out of the pool (other than the Mexico trip), with 4 dives in the lake. I'd worked hard on reviewing written materials, having the technical details down in my mind, doing water aerobics, and doing laps in the pool with the snorkel, mask and fins. I even watched videos of some of the skills on You-tube to ease my way into some competence with this.
The instructor is trying to help me establish neutral bouyancy and get the correct amount of weight added to my gear. He's literally standing on my feet while I fall back under water.
Snorkeling to the float; I'm in the bottom right. Already, I'm having trouble with the position of my snorkel, the bouyancy of my wetsuit, and water leaking into my mask as I mess with the snorkel.
But I was really thrown by the wetsuit and its level of bouyancy. Snorkeling out to the float in the lake felt very unstable. But then I really struggled with the descent. Once you let all the air out of your bouyancy device (a jacket with air in it), you're suppose to sink. I wasn't sinking. And my fins kept floating up behind me, and I compounded the problem by floundering around with my fins (which makes you go up and not down), and somehow also flooding my mask. At this point, I started to panic, couldn't get my mask cleared and kept swallowing water, and then surfaced.
I told the instructor that maybe scuba just really isn't for me after all. The instructor, who is very good, was reassuring and willing to help me calm down and try again, or take a break on shore and he'd help me individually with a descent. He later reminded me that once I got below the surface, the water pressure would have compressed the suit enough that bouyancy wouldn't have been so problematic; it's while you're on the surface that you struggle the most with controlling movements. So I headed back to shore, but didn't know the proper way to exit the water. I got very close to the shore and stood up with all the gear on (a 40 lb tank, and about 30 lbs in weights!, as well as the rest of the gear.)
I felt this snapping in my knee and it twisted out. At this point, I pretty much knew my diving was over for the day. But as I sat on shore waiting for my husband to come back and the rest of the group and instructors to return, I thought more about this. The lake water was not anything like what I'd hoped. The visibility was really bad; it was hard to even see the person right in front of me. And realistically, these would be the lakes I'd get to scuba in maybe once or twice each summer.
Maybe once a year (although likely less) I'd get to go on a trip to a more tropical place, and see all these really cool fish and ocean life that I saw while I was in Mexico. You don't need extremely bouyant wet suits in Mexico. But I live in North Dakota!
Doug doesn't scuba, (and I was a Terrible salesperson for him this weekend!). I have this fantasy of getting to go diving with my kids (2 of them have gotten certification), but how often would they even be able to go diving or take trips as they launch into their young adult lives? Or want to with their mom!
And I actually like snorkeling more in some ways. The only thing I really like more about scuba, strangely, is getting to play with the equipment, and maybe the "boasting rights." (as in, "when I was on the bottom of the ocean, I saw a creature that has a mustache just like yours!") Ok, maybe not that.
Which brings me to this point as well. I really don't NEED to know how to scuba dive or have this as a hobby. Scuba diving is really interesting and exciting, but so are other things. Like photography. And there's plenty of equipment I can play with in photography! And if I don't do scuba diving, I'll have more of a chance to buy photography stuff. And at 55, how many more years could I do this anyway? I know that in diving, the 50s are actually a fairly frequent point at which people learn to do this (kids launching and all), but in ND??????
But sometimes I want my life to be less "Andy (Andrea?) of Mayberry" but not quite "Biker Chick" (with apologies to Biker Chicks).
Interest in diving did get me going to the pool to do water aerobics, doing the lap swimming with the fins, snorkel and mask, and I'll probably sign up for adult swimming lessons in the fall (because maybe, after all, I really should know this as well :) And if next summer, I really, really still want to do this, I can start the pool portion of diving over and make sure I really have the skills down before heading out.
What are your thoughts about all this? Oh, and by the way, my DH took these photos. . . .