We spent this weekend completing our Advanced Open Water Scuba certification. For those not familiar with scuba, the first step is generally to get Open Water certification and this means you know how to scuba, and you can go to depths of 60 feet. The next step is to go to Advanced Open Water which allows you to safely dive the full range of recreational dive depths, which means not any lower than 130 feet. You also learn more about various skills to help you be a better diver, like buoyancy and navigation.
It was a pretty hectic weekend. We took Dinah and Bullet to the vet for their annual shots at 8am, and picked up flea and heartworm stuff for all 4 kittehs. The vet tech fawned all over Bullet, she has a real soft spot for black kitties, and apparently the crazier the better. It was sweet, but poor Bullet was just freaked the heck out by the whole leaving his house thing. He cried all the way there, while Dinah tried to hide under his butt.
After that we went home, but only got to relax for a little bit. Jeff had to run out to Chris's house to borrow a dive light, slate, and some dive computers. Then we left around 11 to go get lunch before class, and had some tasty Culver's burgers. I love their crinkle fries! We spent about 1 1/2 hours going over the chapter reviews in the class room, and then it was time to head home again for about an hour. We're lucky to live so close to the dive shop, so that we didn't have to find a way to just kill time between there and the lake.
We all met out at Lake Travis Windy Point at 3pm, ready to start diving. Saturday we had 3 separate dives. The first dive was to work on buoyancy control. I can tell that I've already gotten better, just from having done more dives. Still, I definitely have a LOT of room for improvement. We also swam around and learned a bit about the layout of the area. After a brief rest we went back into the water and practiced navigation techniques. We swam a square and a triangle as pairs. Luckily my Jeff has a good sense of direction, and knows how to read a compass. I tried to keep count of how many kicks we did on each leg, so that they'd be roughly the same length, and it went pretty well. We did have to do the triangle twice before we succeeded, but that's better than I could do on my own. After that dive we had a longer break, and went to grab a quick dinner, before going back to the lake for our night dive. I feel kind of bad for anyone in the class that hadn't done a real night dive before. We went down about 8:10p and were back up before 8:40p. It counted as a night dive because sunset was listed as 8:10, but it doesn't really get dark until almost 9. The water is so murky that it's difficult to see in daylight even, so it gets harder, but not more fun. At least the night dive in Hawaii (which terrified me) you could see what you pointed a light at.
That night we managed to clean up our gear, pack new towels and such for Sunday, and shower before conking out for the night. We were pooped. Sunday we ended up having to leave a bit earlier than expected because we needed to put gas in the car, and we needed more cash for the park and tank refills. Jeff's wallet wandered off sometime Saturday, so it was just one more wrinkle. Everyone met at Windy Point again just before 10am. We did two more dives Sunday. The first one we did was our deep dive. We made it down to 75 feet, and saw some pink flamingos under water. (there are also boats, a car, and other sunken objects out there) After that dive we spent a decent break on shore and practiced tying knots. Our last dive was search and recovery. Jeff and I were teased for not being able to find the brick that was hidden over a ledge, under a boat, and that matched the lake bottom. After being given a hint we headed back down and returned with said brick. (the knot tying was for this brick that we used a lift bag to get up to the surface) Then we floated at the surface waiting for our turn to look for a kitchen sink. The kitchen sink was much easier to find, but a lot harder to move. Lacy and her loaner-buddy went last so we waited bobbing along in the water until they finished. It was a lot cooler in the water than waiting up top by our gear.
After getting our log books signed and packing everything back into cars we, Lacy, and another couple met up with Lacy's husband Sean at Maudie's for some tex-mex goodness and margaritas. It was a lot of fun to go over our diving adventures with fellow classmates, and brought a nice close to our class. There's only so much I can tell you about the dives that won't just make your eyes glaze over if you haven't been down there to see it. And of course we all had to commiserate with Lacy for having a bad buddy. He really just didn't seem into it for the last day, and that made it a lot less fun for her.
We had planned on trying to hang out with other friends Sunday night, but by the time we made it home in the afternoon all the activity and heat had wiped us out. We didn't even unload the car, just went inside and took an hour nap. We did a little housework, and once it cooled off we unloaded the car, and started cleaning up our gear. We were so tired we didn't even notice that we'd been sunburned while doing all that surface floating until much later when we finally got around to taking showers. My right hand looks much better today, but yesterday there was a great line where my white arm had been covered by my wetsuit, and the top of my hand was a lovely shade of pink. I'm also covered in small cuts/scratches that I have no idea where I got them. I am a delicate flower.
No photos I'm afraid. The camera never made it out of the bag. There was no point in trying in the water, and we weren't all that keen on having pictures of us wilting in the 100* heat of the day. We probably should have at least taken a picture at Maudie's with everyone, but by then I think we were just too tired to think straight. So you'll just have to take my word for it. It was some hard work, but a lot of fun, and even though I was scared before every dive that I would fail somehow, I'm totally glad that we did it.