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Help open water dives fast approaching!

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by divecouple, May 9, 2005.

  1. divecouple

    divecouple Registered

    We are doing our open water dives this weekend and I am getting more nervous by the day. Its been a couple months since our pool/classroom stuff plus we'll be diving with an instrctor we have never met (just talked over the phone) but the company he works for comes recommended by our instructor.

    Hubby is totally fine with everything but as for me....thats a different story. I am most worried about my mask remove and replace. I always manage to get water up my nose and I absolutly hate the feeling of water tickling my nose. I have been practicing on our hot tub but I have only mamaged to do it right twice out of a bunch of tries. I am pinching my nose while breathing so that is working fine but I have to let go to put on my mask and it take me about 3 breathes to clear my mask completely and it's during this time that I tend to get water. So I am really concerned that I will inhale water and I wont be able to just pop out of the water. I am probably going to be down 20-30 feet right? I guess I need to just keep practicing and not get in a panic about getting in on quickly and getting it cleared. But what will I do if I inhale a bunch of water at that depth. I am afraid I will panic and bolt for the surface ascending too fast and failing the task!

    I know I need to tell our instructor that I am nervous about it. I wish there were fewer people in the group (there are 10) but that's the way it goes.

    Any advice you have would be appreciated.
  2. Chris Hipp

    Chris Hipp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Mesquite, texas
    Are you trying to flood and clear with a snorkel??? I cannot ever clear with a snorkel but with a regulator it is no problem.

    A lot of people get nervous, I am/was afraid of large bodies of water and it would always freak me out when I started diving. Now it does not bother me at all and I just jump in and do my thing.

    I also did the exact thing you are worried about, when I flooded my mask I bolted to the surface. My instructor took me to about 5ft to do it, and after a few times we went to depth and got the job done.

    Remember that YOU call the dive. If you are not comfortable, just give the signal and abort. If the instructor tries to make you do something when you are not comfortable then just pack up and find a better instructor.

    It is all mental. If you can do it in the pool, you can do it in the lake, or wherever.
  3. Sideband

    Sideband Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Carol Stream, IL
    Hey there. First of all, RELAX! The more you do the skills the easier they become.
    Secondly, exhale gently. If you try to blast the water out of your mask you will end up with a lot of air leaving the mask instead of water. Your lungs hold several times more air than your mask. There is nothing wrong with using more than one breath, but if you relax a bit and are a bit more gentle then you may find it more efficient.
    When you have your mask off tilt your head to the side or forward a bit when you exhale. This will help keep the bubbles from going up your nose. You might also want to bust out the snorkel with no mask and just breath off of it for a while with your face in the water. Switch back and forth breathing out through your mouth then out through your nose until you are confortable. (errr.. between each of those exhales breath in through your mouth :wink: )
    These are things I did that helped me when I started. Mask clearing had me worried just like you. You can do it, have done it and will do it again and do it well.
    I hope these ideas help.

  4. MoonWrasse

    MoonWrasse Contributor

    Sounds like classic performance anxiety. You know the old rule for giving a speech in public, just imagine averyone else is butt naked when you do it :wink:

    Practice blowing tiny little bubbles out your nose in the pool shallow end, like you would if you were swimming. Relax. :)
  5. bergersau

    bergersau Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Melbourne Australia
    Tell your instructor you're nervous! Ask him to take tings slowly and work inside your comfort zone.
    As Chris said. ANY diver can call the end of ANY dive for ANY reason (OR NO REASON) at ANY time.

    If you need to do more pool sessions first.

    Take things slow and enjoy yourself.
  6. Kriterian

    Kriterian Solo Diver

    Alot of new divers have had your problem, it's not unusual at all. Since the question (or fear) is brought up here on the boards often, a training strategy has been created. I didn't create it, but I'll name it:

    Nosewater baby steps:

    Step 1) Start simple. Swim around slowly without any aids: No fins, no mask, no snorkel, or anything else. Repeat until comfortable, and you're not taking water into your nose.

    Step 2) Begin adding equipment. Stand still in the shallow end and breathe through a snorkel with a mask on your face. Once you've got the knack of slow inhalations through your mouth, followed by even slower exhalations, then move to the next step.

    Step 3) Snorkel swimming. Just a repeat of the previous step but with the added physical activity of swimming. Take it slow and enjoy the limited sites in the pool. The key here is to get the previously learned habits to become automatic and natural.

    Step 4) Maskless snorkeling. Back to the shallow end where you'll remove your mask completely. With your face down in the water, practice breathing through the snorkel until you're completely comfortable and don't inhale water.

    Step 5) Maskless swimming. Just like before you're going to add swimming to the previous step. Start doing laps with just your snorkel, without the mask. If you can do this without inhaling water, you're almost there.

    Step 6) The regulator. Adding the scuba regulator, you can now practice mask removal in the shallow end. Start by just letting the water trickle into your mask by lifting the skirt slightly. Do NOT immediately clear it. Let it slosh about, tilt your head and swirl it around. This has the double effect of getting your nose comfortable submerged in water (in the mask) while teaching you an effective underwater defogging technique. Practice this for several minutes to make sure you're inhaling only through the mouth.

    Step 7) Partial clearing. Now you can practice the various methods of clearing your mask. The keys to clearing are: Keeping the seal against the highest point of your mask, which is usually the forehead, by pressing it with your fingers. The next key is exhaling slowly, not a quick blast like clearing a snorkel. Keep practicing until you can a half filled mask cleared with one or two breaths. After that work your way up to doing it in one breath.

    Step 8) Full clearing. Repeating the same steps as above, but you're going to completely fill the mask with water through the seal.

    Step 9) Full mask removal. Adding another small task, the complete removal of the mask. Take a few minutes to practice breathing without the mask on and just the regulator in your mouth. Once you know you can do that, put the mask on and you're still in the same position with the mask full of water. Start clearing it, trying to reduce the number of breaths it takes to clear the mask each time.

    Step 10) Reach your arm back and pat yourself on the back. You'll be more confident, which will help you in all your other skill tests.
  7. Stirling

    Stirling Solo Diver

    When it's your turn to demonstrate this skill, just relax and take your time; it's not a race, and you don't have to clear the mask in one breath, or two. If it takes you three breaths to clear your mask properly, that's okay. You may want to let the instructor know that you would like an opportunity to practice this skill again early on in your checkout dives, or watch a few others do it before you, because of the time that has elapsed since your pool sessions.

    But when the time comes, remember to breathe slowly and steadily through the regulator, and don't rush yourself. Also remember that, by the time you are asked to demonstrate the skill in the water, you will have been swimming around and breathing on the regulator for a little while, so you'll have time to get used to that again. You'll be fine.
  8. ChrisA

    ChrisA Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Redondo Beach, California
    I assume you are doing a refferal because there is no saltwater near where you lliive. It that is the case then good news...

    The ocean is better. there is no chorine. It has salt in it but at the same percent salt level as your body. Last Sunday I was in a pool and decided to learn to blow "bubble rings" so I'd swim down to the deep end, lay on my back and try making torus shapped bubbles. I finaly figured it out and the bubbles looked just like rings, it's neat BUT 30 hours later I still feel iritation due to the damn chorine in the pool. Laying face up with no scuba gear, just swimm goggles, the water gets in the nose big time. Man, I hate it.

    But it's not so bad in the ocean. maybe it's the pool water that you dislike? Saltwater will not burn the lining of the nose and eyes. It tasts far worse then pool water but lacks the corrosive effects of chorine.

    Mask clearing really is a skill you will use al the time. Even if the mask does not leak the best way (only way) to de-fog a mask while diving is to let some ater it and then clear it out

    Don't worry with time after maybe 50 or so dives being under water will seem natural, just one of those things you do all the time. I hope you can find some goodlocal diving when you get back home. That OW c-card will be just the beginning

  9. ScubaSarus

    ScubaSarus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Connecticut
    The method that worked for me was to blow a little bit of air out of the nose while breathing with the mask off.

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