Last fall we discovered that BYU-H has a dive club. They work with a local dive shop and put together SCUBA certification courses and go on dives and such. The deal that the club gets on everything is really good and they were nice enough to adopt me as a member, despite not being a student. (I think the fact that I look like a freshman helped a lot.)
So, this semester I joined the club and the adventure began. For starters, I had to purchase a new basic set of snorkel gear. You may think that the $25 Walmart special would suffice, but that is not the case. I had to get a new mask, a fancy-schmancy bendy snorkel, new super cool flippers, and booties. Lizzie really likes the booties and made me take a picture of them to show you all. I just like the fact that I can now walk far out into the water before having to don my flippers.
Along with the gear purchase, I also received a class packet with things like a dive log, time charts, brochures for expensive stuff, and a 260 page text book that I had to get through in about a week. So, after hours (no, really) of studying we had two 4 hour days in the classroom where we reviewed the material and took tests and stuff. (I don’t want to brag, but I only missed one question on the final.) Then, the next day we hit the pool, where we finally tried out all of the cool SCUBA gear that we had read about and seen in movies. The pool night was fun, but very tiring. It lasted almost 6 hours without a break and was full of drills and skill tests.
Finally, after a crazy week, Saturday rolled around and we made it into the ocean. For the first dive we just swam around and got used to how it feels. We then got out, replaced our tanks, and got back in to do some more skill tests. The ocean was beautiful and the day was fun and tiring. Two more dives and we would be done. Those dives took place yesterday. We had a nice first dive and saw lots of really neat fish that I had not seen before. The dive was followed by more skill tests, swapping out tanks, more skills and a final bit of exploration.
By this point I was tired and rather cold. The ocean is wet and I don’t have too much insulation on me. I was enjoying myself, but I was looking forward to wrapping the whole thing up, drying off and heading home to my lovely wife. Then we saw the turtle. He was about 15-20 feet away, following the top of a wall that were were swimming along the bottom of. We went a bit farther and turned around, and when we did he came down and joined our small group. At one point he was gliding right beside me and then took a bit of a dive and swam directly under my torso. I could have given him a nice big turtle hug if I had wanted (and if it wasn’t illegal). It was so ridiculously cool. I could see so clearly all of his beautiful details. He was actually a small green sea turtle (only about 2.5-3 feet long) but it made me forget about being cold and tired and I just enjoyed the rest of God’s amazing world for the remainder of the dive.
So, I have now officially finished my Open Water Certification. This means that I am trained to dive in normal conditions up to about 60ft. I get a cool certification card that allows me to legally rent SCUBA gear and go on dives by myself (with a buddy, of course). I have also decided to continue on to my Advanced Open Water Certification in a week. Once I finish that, I will be trained in water up to about 100 feet and I will specialize in deep diving, wreck diving, boat diving, fish identification, and something else that I haven’t decided on.
Diving is great and I hope to have the chance to experience it with you someday when we are all independently wealthy.