well, people, i am officially scuba certified! now i can go wherever i want (up to 30 ft below the surface i think) and swim with the fishies. :)
friday, bryan and i headed to lake rawlings scuba park, about 4o miles south of where we live, for me to complete my open water dive requirements to get certified. i had to do 4 dives over 2 days, where i had to perform various skills to prove that i could take care of myself under water. well, on dive #1 i sucked up some water that was in my mask, royally freaked out, and went to the surface. in scuba diving, this is a HUGE no-no. you can screw up your ears and lungs and all sorts of sensitive and important body parts. so bryan was not so happy with me for that. and i was pretty pissed at myself. but i got back down in the water and continued on dive #1, then dive #2... and then it was time to race the sun and put up our tent and try to find some food.
we put up the tent as fast as we could and headed out of the park (campground, whatever you wanna call it--but when i think campground, i think bath house. this place did not have that.) in search of some grub. unfortunately, it was a little past 9 when we reached the nottoway restaurant, and it was closed. great. so we go to the gas station next door and i ask where we can get some food, and the girl says you can go to colonial heights or south hill. how far are those, i ask? 30 miles either north or south. right. great. but oh wait! there's an italian restaurant right up the road, maybe they're still open! so the lady gives me the number and i call to see what time they close. keep in mind it is friday night at 9:15pm. the lady at the restaurant informs me that they are already closed. now, seriously, what restaurant closes at 9pm on a friday night, ESPECIALLY when it is the only restaurant around for 30 miles?! we were definitely in the boonies!
so, it was microwave gas station food for us--barbeque for me, hot pocket for bryan. we threw 'em in a bag and headed back to the scuba park to wash out our wet suits (apparently if you don't they get mighty funky) and set up chairs by the tent to have our dinner. then to bed, where i laid for a couple hours replaying all my scuba adventures from the day and worrying about the next day.
saturday: up at 7:30 and slowly but surely make our way across the park to the lake. 2 more dives to go! we ended up having to wait a couple hours for jim, the instructor (he's the guy sitting at the picnic table), to take a group of boyscouts out. i did not want to get in the big group with them, because it's stressful enough to do these tasks when you're in a small group, but when you're anticipating it being your turn and you watch all the people go in front of you, well, it's just too much for me to handle. :) dive #3's most challenging skill (for me) was the mask removal and replacement. considering i had a mental block to keeping water out of my nose for a good portion of my life, this skill was a huge feat for me. but i did it! and i got some water up my nose but i choked it out and stayed under, and managed to pull myself back together and continue with the dive. i did get really worn out trying to keep up with everyone, though, and ended up heading back to shore before the rest of our group (with bryan and a dive master--i didn't just take off to the dock by myself).
heading up the hill with all that gear on my back after dive #3 reminded me of when i hiked the grand canyon--it was so freaking hard! we weighed the tank and stuff yesterday, and determined that i had been toting around 70 lbs. for someone who's not in shape and was worn out from the swimming, carrying 70 lbs up a hill ain't easy. but i did it, and played the waiting game until my 4th and final dive.
dive #4: i finally realized that this could really be something i could enjoy. i had finally gotten to the compass navigation skills, so now i knew where i was (at least which direction was out), and it was just bryan and i and the instructor and 2 dive masters who were along for the dive--which meant i was the only one doing skills, so i got all the time i wanted and everything went at my pace. it was nice. and let me tell ya, i killed the underwater navigation skill. i tell you, a good sense of direction really comes in handy. so glad i inherited that!
and then... i was done. certified! (please ignore how crappy i look in this picture, scuba diving ain't a pretty sport) finally allowed to relax and take all that crap off for good ('til next time, anyway). this wasn't easy for me, but it feels really good to accomplish something that is difficult. last night bryan even convinced me to practice the mask removal and replacement skill in the bathtub since we still had some air in our tanks and werent' taking them back until today. so i practiced a few times and realized that water IS going to come down into my throat, but it's alright, all i gotta do is either swallow it or spit it out and keep breathing. and while it is a truly disgusting, burning feeling, i practiced 5 or 6 times or more and satisfied both myself and bryan that i can do it. hurray! :)
also, yesterday, had a great visit from my dad and stepmom for father's day. i love being able to have my dad over to my house and cook for him. :) although i guess bryan actually COOKED the steaks. but i marinated them and made the salad and potatoes and the strawberry agua fresca! :)
so, anyway, happy belated father's day to all the dads reading this!