Monday, October 25, 2010

Scuba Update: Open Water Certification

To earn your scuba certification (after the classroom and pool sessions), you have to complete four open water dives spread out over two days.  As I've mentioned before, our instructor likes to take his students to a few sites in Long Island Sound.  We knew the visibility in the sound would be around 6-8 feet.  Not great, but better than the sandpit where Chris did his open water dives!  As far as the sixty degree water went, we reckoned that if we could dive in a long wetsuit...with a neoprene jacket on top...with a hood...and gloves...then the warm waters of St. John would be a walk swim in the park!

That said...day #1 was an epic FAIL.

Saturday:


We had hoped to get in two dives but ended up with zero.  I didn't take any Dramamine...per my scuba instructor's warning...and ended up sicker than I was when I went fishing waaaay out in the Gulf of Mexico.  I felt terrible.  When we anchored Steve (our instructor) wanted to get me in the water right away because that helps seasickness.  It takes awhile to get suited up when you feel sick, but eventually I was dressed and ready to get in the water.  And in the water I went!  And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  My mask was fogged so I couldn't see anything that was happening on the boat and the surf was whipping the tag line (and me with it) in the water so much that I couldn't defog it.  As it turns out, the holdup was due to our instructor's zipper breaking on his wetsuit.  Eventually he joined us in the ocean, broken zipper and all.

After a few attempts at descending (I was just nervous and Chris was having mask and hood issues) I told Steve I wanted out of the water.  I'd rushed to get into the water and then spent way too much time bobbing around in rough surf.  Despite all my training and practice in the pool, I was rattled.  So we got back on the boat (where I was stillll seasick) and went back to the marina.

Sunday:

We did a lot of things differently on Sunday.  I took Dramamine at 9:00 a.m.  We went back to the dive shop where Chris got a smaller hood and I got a much smaller wetsuit (my farmer john had been way too big the day before).  The seas were a bit calmer as well.  I felt 100 times better than I had the day before.

On Saturday, it was just our instructor Steve, Chris and me, and Jose, a former student of Steve's. On Sunday, the four of us were back along with Capt. Noel and another student Gary, who was getting certified to be on the police department's diving rescue team.  This worked out really well because Noel stayed on the boat, Steve took me and Gary, and Jose and Chris (the already certified divers) were able to go off on their own.

Lots of tanks!

We did our first dive at the site of an old wreck that was in about 25 feet of water, our second in a clam bed about 20 feet deep.  Chris and I weren't diving together, but we both saw a TON of starfish, he saw a huge crab, and later collected a bagful of clams.  We're not sure if taking clams is entirely legal, but he's cooking them on the grill right now so it's a bit too late to worry about that!


Jose and Chris with their contraband clams!
Despite our many layers of neoprene, by the end of the second dive we were COLD.  But we'd had such a great time that it didn't even matter!  And I can finish my scuba certification by doing my final two dives in St. John!  There's a chance that I can do two more dives on Halloween, but that depends on a number of factors, one being my right ear.  I didn't think I was having any problems equalizing pressure on my descents but on our drive home my ear felt full of water...and now loud noises hurt it.  Pots and pans banging together, Bailey barking, even the sound of ice dropping into my Nalgene bottle make me wince.  Hopefully it'll go away soon.

Brrrr!!!
I'd been dreading diving into Long Island Sound since we started these classes.  Now that I've done it once...I totally love it and am ready to go again!  Yes it's cold, and it's murky, but it's so neat to see what's down in the ocean right where we live!

Thanks, Captain Steve!  Here he is in his dry suit (since the zipper on his wetsuit broke the day before.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Columbus Day Getaway

So, I know Columbus Day was nearly two weeks ago, but better late than never, right?  Chris and I have been busy with our scuba classes!

We spent the long weekend up in the White Mountains with Chris'  parents.  We took a (chilly!) hike up to the glacial potholes on Mt. Jefferson, where we passed people coming down with frost on their hats!  Brrr.

The four of us also did the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour and it was SO MUCH FUN!  It included 9 ziplines, 2 sky bridges, and a few spots where you had to repel down.  We had beautiful weather and a ridiculously good time.  I highly recommend it!

On Mt. Jefferson

Ready to zip!

@ the Top of the Quad

On one of the sky bridges...these were scarier than the ziplines!



The couple that zips together, stays together.  :)

View of the Mt. Washington from the treetops!

This was a video taken by Paul, one of our guides.  This was the longest and HIGHEST zipline!
Ziplining from Jessica Hasty on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scuba

When Chris was living in Beaumont (and just a teeny bit bored), he took a course to become scuba certified.  He even did his qualifying dive...in a sandpit!  Not much visibility, but it meant that he was certified to scuba dive almost anywhere in the world.  I'm not though.

Luckily, a few weeks ago Chris found a scuba Meet Up group here in Connecticut that offers a "I Tried Scuba" experience every few months.  I thought it would be a great way to try out scuba diving and see if I liked it before I invested all that money in the full course.

So last Saturday I went to the Norwalk YMCA, put on all the gear, and tried scuba diving...for FREE!  And I loved it!  The full scuba course entails three nights of classroom training and three nights in the YMCA pool.  Chris was certified so long ago that he needed to take a refresher course.  The scuba instructor said he could take the full class with me for the cost of a refresher course...so we signed up for the October class!  Tonight was our first night in the pool.

Just a few more weeks and we'll be certified!  After the qualifying dive of course.  Did I mention it's in Long Island Sound?  No, you read that right.  I'm nervous already!  :) 

Here I am with our scuba instructor whose name is...wait for it...Steve.
Yes, I am learning to dive from Scuba Steve. Hee, hee.