“You…. Watch…. Me…” This week has been all about learning the skill circuit.
Part of the divemaster course is to learn the skill circuit. These are the skills that I will be able to use to teach a scuba review for a certified diver that has been out of the water for a long period of time and wishes to refresh their diving knowledge and skills.
There are 24 skills that I have to learn to demonstrate, but before I can demonstrate them, I have to master the skills myself.Of the 24 there are 20 scuba skills and 4 skin diving skills. I wasn’t too worried about the scuba diving skills, which include; equipment assembly, regulator recovery, mask removal and replace and so on. The skin diving on the other hand, I have been quite nervous about. I have never skin dived before. I have been snorkelling only a few times and I have always stayed at the surface. The idea of holding my breath and going underwater was, to be honest, a bit scary. It seems l have done my training the wrong way around. Most people start with snorkelling and skin diving and then move on to scuba diving, when they want to explore more of the underwater world. I went directly to the scuba diving and I never even saw snorkel during my open water course.
So when I was practicing the skill circuit with my instructor it all went pretty good for the first 20 diving skills. But when it came time to practice the skin diving skills, it was like I shut down. I swam around on the surface of the pool trying to prepare myself to try and dive down. I made 2 attempts and I couldn’t get down. The instructor didn’t push me. He told me to take my time, but he also gave me the assignment to practice and keep trying with my fellow DMT Georgia or with Dennis (my boyfriend.) I said I would, while thinking to myself “Oh no, what if this ends up being the reason I can’t pass my divemaster course.”
A few days later, I had some time off in the afternoon so I went into the pool with Dennis. We started out easy, getting me comfortable underwater with just a mask on, no snorkel and no fins. Slowly Dennis added more exercises for me to do and after 30 mins in the pool I was skin diving. For the first time ever, I had managed to swim underwater. I was so happy and relieved that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined it would be. So it looked like I might be able to pass my divemaster course after all. We stayed in the pool for another half an hour, practicing skin diving and swimming lengths underwater. Each time it got easier to dive down while holding my breath. Soon I will be able to demonstrate the skin diving skills as well.