Mask removal skill = no fun..

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Softballer I have the same problem, just backwards. I can clear the mask fine, but when I take it off, I start to immediately breathe through my nose. I even had to swim up from 30 feet while sucking in water on my certification dive. What I'm wondering is if this is a major skill that will be used on many dives? I haven't done any dives since my certification, as I just got certified a few days ago. I have been practicing it, but it's not getting much better.
 

fisheater

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Softballer I have the same problem, just backwards. I can clear the mask fine, but when I take it off, I start to immediately breathe through my nose. I even had to swim up from 30 feet while sucking in water on my certification dive. What I'm wondering is if this is a major skill that will be used on many dives? I haven't done any dives since my certification, as I just got certified a few days ago. I have been practicing it, but it's not getting much better.

What's helped some people is to - at home - fill your mask with water and put it on. Then, walk around a bit breathing only from your mouth.

This trains you to separate your breathing between mouth and nose. Once you can do that, you'll have no problem clearing a mask or breathing on a reg without one.
 

jemmini6

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i was good with the mask removal in the pool, but on the first open water dive, the bottom temp was 60 degrees so i was wearing some rather large borrowed gloves and had trouble getting my mask back on. once it was on, clearing it was ok, but i sure made a mess with the silicone strap and my hair. next day, i had on gloves that fit and a neoprene strap cover and decided to try it again (for my own benefit, i had already passed the skill) and i had it back on and cleared in the time it took me the previous day to even grab the strap with enormous gloves. moral of the story i guess is to make sure all of your gear fits properly, because it really does make a difference.
 

lavachickie

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Removing/donning the mask became a LOT easier with the XS Scuba X-Strap Mask Strap. It's eased my worry about doing that a lot. I also have a sweet fitting mask now that I exchanged mine. Slap it on and it's good for most entries. So replacing it should it become dislodged will be easier.

It still causes me worry, though; probably the #1 thing that does. I am actually going to ride along on some pool time soon and pretty much sit at the bottom of the pool until I can comfortably deal with breathing underwater without a mask (I had trouble separating nose/mouth until another diver on a trip told me how to practice with a snorkel in the hot tub).
 

bj139

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I had no issue w/ my remove and replace in the pool. However, on my OW swim it gave me fits. The water was much colder at 42 degrees F, and when that colder water rushed in onto my warm skin I almost panicked. I had to concentrate very hard on the task at hand. My instructor had me do the exercise again, and the whole ordeal went much better, because the water was not quite the shock as it was the first time. I hope that I never have to perform that skill ever again!!! Good luck with your certification the minor pains are totally worth it!!!:D

I agree that the shock of having cold water hit your dry face causes panic. Whenever I first get in the water I always splash my face several times to get it used to the temperature, then put my mask on and dive.
 

bj139

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I just completed my PADI Open Water certification. During the course I had trouble with the operations required to clear a flooded mask. The book does not describe specifically what must be done to clear it. I think it would be good to include a description for people like me that had forgotten or never learned to breathe only through their mouth underwater and not their nose. Here is what I wrote and that helped me.

Close back of your nose by pressing upwards on back of tongue and swallowing. There is a muscle controlled flap to seal your nose from your throat, similar to the movable blowhole on a dolphin. Swallowing seems to force this closed. Practice holding this closed and breathing through your mouth while not underwater. Talking while holding this closed will have a very nasal sound similar to when you have a bad cold. This means you are holding it closed and it will be easy to only breathe through your mouth. The muscle which holds this closed should be made stronger by holding it closed several times during the day. If we were dolphins this muscle would already be strong. :wink:

In order to practice breathing through your mouth only and not your nose when you do not have access to scuba or a pool, fill a sink with water then while breathing through your snorkel, dip your face into the water. Breathe out through your nose if necessary to expel any water, then close your flap (blowhole) and breathe air in through your mouth through the snorkel. Practice breathing in through your mouth and out through your nose if necessary to get used to this. If you can breathe like this for 1 minute it is great for improving the no mask breathing skill.

I also practiced in the pool with mask and snorkel about every other day. I like to flood the mask quickly by tilting the top of the mask away from my face. BAM, the mask is flooded. Then I breathe slowly through the snorkel with a flooded mask, making sure the end of my snorkel is above the surface. I then take my time clearing the mask as others have said. If you tilt your head back too far the end of the snorkel may go under so don't do this. You only need to tilt to get the last bit of water out. No need to hurry. Take your time and enjoy the sensation. It is part of diving.

I have gone from being afraid of drowning while doing this to being 99% comfortable doing it. Now I flood and clear my mask for fun while waiting for others and to overcome the other 1%.

This is just my experience and I take no responsibility for what anyone else does with the description of my experience.
 

Herk_Man

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Two things on this: 1) The first time someone knocks your mask off down deep, you will really appreciate being proficient at this skill. It may even make you want to go practice it periodically. 2) The thing that made it much easier for me was making the clearing - breathing a definite two step process. What always had me ingesting water was breathing out through my nose to clear and then immediately breathing in. Invariably I would use my nose a little in the breathing process. If you mentally prepare yourself in advance, breath out to clear, then pause to ensure you have closed off the nose path and consciously use only your mouth to inhale, your experience should be much less of an issue. Two step process.
 

dburg30

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Mask removal used to be my nemesis.. Now it's my friend. Probably because that was the biggest hurdle I had to overcome to get certified. It set me back a couple of years til I MADE myself get over it. Now it's no problem. I practice it alot. That said, cold water and mask removal SUCKS. No way around it, it's a shock when that cold water hits lol.. But it's good to know what to expect there also.
 

fjpatrum

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I almost always have a little water in my mask, probably because I still occasionally breath out through my nose, but I find losing my mask in cold water really doesn't matter that much as a result. No sudden shock of cold against my face... plus no mask squeeze either. Having a little water in the mask also helps prevent fog up so I have yet to figure out why it's considered bad. Is it just my inexperience?
 

dburg30

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Dunno, but I do find myself breathing out thru my nose partly a lot of times. I dont know if that has something to do with getting water in it or not. I tended to blame it more on my mustache more then anything. Last saturday, the first 2 dives my mask was fine, but damn if it didnt have issues on the last dive. Have no clue what was going on. Wasnt caught over my hood or anything, but by the end of the dive I was done with dealing with it.
 
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