Blowing Bubbles...

General banter about diving and why we love it.
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Sheri
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Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Sheri » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:45 pm

Just call me a follower. I tend to rely on others to guide and watch over me on every dive we do… and I am tired of being a liability to them. I want to be an asset and resource underwater. I want to be like my buddies, and I knew that without some training, it just wouldn’t happen. So I’m re-taking AOW. And things are changing…

It’s weird to love a sport that can potentially be fatal. Every dive I’ve done that’s hit 50-80 feet has heard the same mantra ring through my head.. “We’re almost headed back.. I’ll be back on the surface soon. Just keep focused on the others and we’ll be done soon..” The fun only seems to come after reaching the shallows - where my comfort level returns. Even after 70 dives, going deeper has always scared the hell out of me. I panicked during my very first open water dive and bolted from 30 feet, and a sick part of me hangs onto the illusion that as long as I‘m not too far down, I could always “make a swim for it“ and have a chance...

So… I was asked to perform “out of air drills” this weekend, where you actually have to spit your regulator out (Yes - on purpose!) in order to receive and breathe off of your buddy’s in return. Saturday was ugly. I was able to donate my alternate just fine. (Not using the long hose…yet.) But even contemplating ME being out of air and having to spit out my own reg? Bubbles everywhere - wide, bulging eyes, nearly hyperventilating when I finally got the thing back in my mouth. Felt just like my first time in open water all over again - after 70 freakin’ dives! (Granted I hadn’t practiced an OOA drill since Open water either…)

Sunday, when asked what I needed to feel more secure during out of air drills, I described that panic. I joked about how it would be simple in a bathtub. Then thought for a moment, and realized I might not be far off. So, I knelt in 5 feet of water and practiced taking the reg out of my mouth, holding my breath, blowing bubbles, replacing it and breathing again. For a couple of minutes, I repeated this seemingly inane task. Like learning how to blow bubbles with my face in the water during swimming lessons when I was 5. Must have looked awfully silly to anyone on the surface. But it worked like magic for me.

We went to 15 feet and tried it. It felt the same at 15 feet as it had at the surface. Every time. I could do this. Next was tossing it over my shoulder and recovering it at 30 feet a few times. I even missed the first couple tries and had to breathe off of Bob’s before finding my own again. But it was no big deal. Then came orally inflating the SMB. Every time felt the same. No reg in my mouth, and no panic in sight. What a difference a day (and a few bubbles ) made.

When next we dive together, Bob is going to ask me to perform an Out of Air Drill at about 100 feet. The deepest I’ve ever been, and he wants me to spit out my reg. HA! Sound like fun??

Actually, it kinda does. (Ok.. Maybe not entirely FUN.) There’s still some “going deep” uncertainty there, and it isn‘t something I’d do without an instructor with me, yet. But all of the sudden, I‘m looking forward to trying. Maybe there’s hope for my six-gill-sighting aspirations yet…??

It isn’t swimming for the surface that is going to save me underwater. It’s trusting in the buddies around me, and knowing we know how to help each other. I have to spit out my regulator before I can receive the air source that will rescue me. I can take “hits” off of a buddy’s reg while we fix the problem. And not being so scared makes me more available to help them if they ever need me, too. And I guess, less of a liability now, doesn’t it. Cool!
:fish:
If anyone out there is feeling stuck or looking for something to help build their diving confidence, try “blowing bubbles” and/or an OOA drill with a trusted buddy in the shallows before you both descend. It might make a difference. It has for me.

(PS… Thanks, Grateful Diver. - both for your patience, and for the tag line...)
"Dude... When your IQ gets to 50, SELL!" - Grateful Diver

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LCF
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by LCF » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:09 pm

Oh, you are SO lucky. You have hooked up with one of the best instructors you could find, to increase your confidence and competence underwater. I know, because he did it for me.

As frustrating and sometimes anxiety-provoking as the drills are, once you master them, you will have a ten-fold increased degree of comfort with your diving.

If you ever want to go diving -- have a fun dive, watch critters, and throw in a drill or two for currency -- shoot me a PM. I, too, went through the Grateful Diver school of remedial dive training, so I know how it goes!
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames

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Joshua Smith
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Joshua Smith » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:21 pm

Hey, Sheri!

(I took OW scuba with Sheri, in March of 2006!)

I'm really happy you've hooked up with Bob-he's a great instructor!

It's a good thing to practice those Out Of Air drills- or Out of Something I can Breathe from- or whatever you want to call it- drills. It's good to challenge yourself underwater, and see how you react to stress. I'm sure you'll do just fine- and it will make you wonder just how you might react to the same situation on a "real dive." I am a firm believer in always having a back-up plan.....

Please feel free to shoot me an email- if you want to go for a dive, or just knock back a few beers and talk about diving......
Maritime Documentation Society

"To venture into the terrible loneliness, one must have something greater than greed. Love. One needs love for life, for intrigue, for mystery."

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BbbleMkr
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by BbbleMkr » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:53 am

Loved your post! I've had some minor issues similar to yours and it's always helped to scale back and ramp up with repetition. I think my brain may work the same way as yours. :)

dd

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spatman
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by spatman » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:44 am

sheri, i'm really glad you're gaining some confidence and making progress! the few times we have dived together, even though you may have been uncomfortable at times, i never considered you a "liability", so please don't be too hard on yourself. everyone develops at different rates, and by taking bob's class and continuing to dive as much as you can, you will continue to grow into the diver you want to be. especially when you are surrounded by the talented divers we have available to us to learn from.

i'm hoping to practice taking off and replacing my mask much the same way you practiced removing your reg. should be fun, i just hope no one's watching me with a camera in hand...
Image

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Pez7378
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Pez7378 » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:46 am

Isn't it funny how our minds work? I was not too thrilled about taking off my mask underwater. But breathing from my reg on the surface without my mask helped me to mentally prepare for the drills I knew I would have to do at a greater depth, without a mask. Now we do it for "Fun"?!?

Great post Sheri. Keep up the good work, Bob is a fantastic instructor to learn from.

dsteding
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by dsteding » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:49 am

Sheri-

You've discovered one of the key things about diving: most of our fears and impediments are in our own heads. Diving is, by and large, a complete game with your mind, an exercise in understanding where your panic buttons are, and learning to control that panic as your dives become more and more complex.

I've been where you are in terms of being maskless in cold water, and actually spent a fair amount of time with my face submerged in the kitchen sink breathing off a regulator while immersed in ~40 degree water.

I've also been out with Bob on a cold November evening doing mask drills for the same reason you were getting used to having no reg in your mouth. About 200 dives later, I found myself buddy breathing, doing a free ascent, maskless, with no real anxiety or panic around me (an exercise with some teammates for a tech class).

Thanks for posting this, I think it is important for newer divers to learn from us, and it is great that you've shared your personal experience.

Bob is indeed a terrific instructor, I did my AOW with him, and he guided me through life as a guppy. I'm really grateful (no pun intended) for his support and that he's a part of our community.

-Doug
Fishstiq wrote:
To clarify.........

I cannot stress enough that this is MY PROBLEM.

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Penopolypants
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Penopolypants » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:01 am

Well said, Doug!

Sheri, I've never considered you a liability, either, but it has been fun watching your progression as your confidence and skills have grown. And thanks for posting this - so few people are willing to talk about their worries and fears, but it's good to get it out, and good for others to hear lest they feel they are alone (which they certainly aren't! :) ).
Come to the nerd side, we have pi!

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Grateful Diver
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Grateful Diver » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:12 am

Thanks for the kind words, Sheri (and all my other former students who've chimed in) ... but to you and them ... you did all the work. I just gave you the support you needed to focus on what you needed to do.

The best part about Sunday was the finale ... Sheri's first SMB deployment, followed by a textbook 6-minute ascent from 35 feet with stops at 25, 20, 15, and 10 feet. I sure had fun being a part of that ... =D>

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
Threats and ultimatums are never the best answer. Public humiliation via Photoshop is always better - airsix

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LCF
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by LCF » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:47 am

Don't expect textbook stops tonight, Bob . . . :-)
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames

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Sounder
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Sounder » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:17 am

LCF wrote:Don't expect textbook stops tonight, Bob . . . :-)


Well, no matter what they look like, you'll both be looking great with your Liquivision X1 computers!! :rr:
GUE Seattle - The official GUE Affiliate in the Northwest!

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dwashbur
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by dwashbur » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:32 am

I loved your story, Sheri. I have over 150 dives now, I'm a certified NAUI divemaster, and I still have serious issues spitting out my reg at times. Thing is, I can point to the specific event that caused those issues, way back at our OW course when I was supposed to share air with my wife and grabbed my snorkel for myself instead of my Air II inflator. Believe me, when the mind starts playing those games, knowing that doesn't help much.

We're all at various points in our journey through this sport. The only diver I would ever consider a "liability" is the one who thinks s/he already knows it all and is unteachable or unwilling to keep working on and improving the basics. I've said it before: anybody who looks down on an inexperienced or struggling diver has forgotten where they came from, and needs to be reminded (even if it requires a 2x4). I admire your willingness to go back and take the AOW again. That shows a dedication to excellence and safety that we can and should all emulate in our own ways. I don't generally use the acronym IMHO, because ordinarily my opinions are anything but humble, but IMAO divers sharing their hearts with each other like this is one of the most effective ways for us to learn from each other, and I thank you for being so open about your struggles and allowing us to help you carry the burdens. My girls and I are hoping to get back to Washington within about a month, and hopefully we can hook up with you and blow some bubbles together.
Dave

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Grateful Diver
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Grateful Diver » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:55 am

LCF wrote:Don't expect textbook stops tonight, Bob . . . :-)

I'll say ... it'll be my second dive in the Fusion, and my first in the new undergarment.

Are we doin' it with deco bottles?

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
Threats and ultimatums are never the best answer. Public humiliation via Photoshop is always better - airsix

Come visit me at http://www.nwgratefuldiver.com/

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TCWestby
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by TCWestby » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:54 pm

Sheri,

Just keep practicing and you will gain a little confidence every time. I think it you are wise to keep practicing and training because that too will build confidence.

If you can get Rescue certified, that helped my confidence alot because I had to practice my self rescue skills.
Looking for dive buddies

Work is for the surface interval....

divernick
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by divernick » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:49 pm

Sheri, I've been diving with you a few times, and I've never thought of you as a liability either. I think it's great that you're excited about retaking the class with Bob, and that you decided to share your thoughts/anxieties about it. Hopefully we'll get to dive together again soon.

Nick

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Sheri
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Re: Blowing Bubbles...

Post by Sheri » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:39 pm

Thanks for all the positive comments, everyone. When you're surrounded by this many people encouraging you to succeed at something, you just do it. This is the COOLEST board! I SOO wish it weren't blocked at work for me! (Apparently some "big-brother-type' feels there might be something offensive to be found on a site like ours. Here?? :dontknow: Naw...) I'm envious of all of you who can read and post during your work days!

My next time in the water is Friday afternoon at Cove 2. Going to sneak in an early-evening dive before weekend call starts at 7. Just another afternoon in paradise. Woo-hoo! And thanks too, for the offers to dive (and to get together for beers..) There will be PM's on the way... This is going to be a great autumn.

:fish:
"Dude... When your IQ gets to 50, SELL!" - Grateful Diver

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