SCUBA diving

Discussion in 'general sports' started by Mrs Miggins, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Yes there are other threads but i want to start a new one.

    I started learning to dive before I left the UK on my travels. My first impression based on the initial pool dives was a serious meh but once qualified and diving in open water - by god it's one of the best decisions I ever made.

    I've dived in some awesome places in the last year - the Great Barrier Reef and the Komodo National Park - and today, I did my first dive in coldish water (16C) in the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand.

    But my reason for starting this thread is to ask for advice. I am fucking terrible at the initial descent. My body goes into panic mode even though my head tells me I've done it before and it's fine. I just can't seem to stop my body going into panic mode at the surface and it's starting to piss me off.

    gentlegreen, A380 and Pickman's model like this.
  2. treefrog

    treefrog Tauiwi

    Eeek, no advice Mrs M but Balbi had a similar problem when he did his OW. Would visualization/mindfulness help I wonder?
  3. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    Paging divemaster Kanda
  4. t0bytoo

    t0bytoo Well-Known Member

    I'm assuming here that you are diving off boats with a group of people and some sort of divemaster or guide. It's easy to feel rushed when there are other people around, and a guide telling you what to do and when to do it.

    My tips:
    - Get really familiar with your kit. If you make a regular habit of diving, you'll want to have your own stuff. Rental equipment always adds a little layer of stress: fin straps need adjusting, weight belt might be a different length, the suit my be tighter or looser round the neck, the regulator will breathe a little different, etc. When you can just throw on your kit without thinking about it, it's a lot more relaxing.

    - Make sure you have a good understanding of the dive plan so you know exactly where you are going to descend to: the depth, the bottom composition (sand, rock, reef, etc). It might useful sometimes to carry a small slate and make some notes beforehand of what to expect.

    - Start by putting your face in the water for a few breaths and let your heart rate slow down a bit. Don't let anyone rush you!

    - If you get anxious about equalising, then equalise with a pinched nose and a wiggle of the head before you descend. I can equalise right now, sitting at my laptop. it's one less thing to think about when you start your descent.

    - Make sure you are using the right weight. It's common for guides (in some parts of the world) to overweight customers to make sure they "get down". I was diving with a new wetsuit the other day and put on far more weight than I needed - and spent most of the dive feeling pretty crap.

    - Don't be intimidated by others. There are so many egos flying around in the dive industry - the cool kid divemaster who looks down his/her nose cos you ain't been "as deep" as they have. Chances are they are only a short way ahead of you on the learning curve.

    - And keep diving! it gets better and better. if you're suffering the fear now, it's a really good sign that you will want to keep pushing yourself, learning new stuff, going just a little bit beyond your comfort zone.

    Mrs Miggins and Bahnhof Strasse like this.
  5. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Thanks for that t0bytoo. All very good and useful advice.

    I am diving with groups and renting all the gear and yes - it is always a bit off putting having new kit all the time. My BCD was a bit shit this time and didn't seem to deflate very easily. Also the wetsuit hood came too far up my chin and was a bit uncomfortable. The dive instructor was great though. I said i was feeling anxious and he was very reassuring..."I'm right here...I'm with you....take your time".

    Thinking more about it, I think what is making me anxious is not the act of diving but that I know I always struggle to get down. Everyone else seems to just float down beautifully while I'm stuck at the surface with my head just underwater. I really don't understand what is going wrong. I tried really hard this time to point my fins down and keep still keeping my body as straight as possible but of course when I dont actually start to go down, my body starts to take over, my legs start moving, fins come up and I'm causing upward thrust. And then I panic again as I'm stuck as everone else disapoears downwards.

    Do I just need to wait longer to let the suit get properly wet and for gravity to start pulling me down? Why is everyone else descending and not me?! There was a line going to the bottom on the second dive so I could pull myself down and after the first few feet, I started sinking naturally but it was a real struggle at first. My Other Half reckons it's my ample bosom keeping me afloat :D
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
    Pickman's model likes this.
  6. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Oh and I think I was anxious yesterday as I am still a novice and everyone else in the group was very experienced.So I'm fumbling around wih my kit a bit, struggling to lift all that bloody weight as I'm not very strong etc. etc. And my dive buddy was a bit of an arse who was not looking out for me, swimming off, not comminicating about air..... I didn't feel comfortable with him and I've never had that before. My previous buddies have always stuck pretty close. So I basically stuck to the instructor more on the second dive as I trusted him to look out for me.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  7. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Buying my own kit is a big commitment but one I am prepared to start investing in as I do absolutely love it. I've got a mask and snorkel but nothing else yet. What order would you recommend buying in as I can't do it all in 1 hit?
    Pickman's model likes this.
  8. t0bytoo

    t0bytoo Well-Known Member

    About the descent. The theory - as you know - is that you exhale and sink down. Perhaps a little flutter of the fins or a scooping motion might help to pull you down. Or you could dump the bcd and swim down head first. I think that the key is relaxing and emptying your lungs.

    About kit. I'd start out with the stuff that annoys you most when you rent it. I am super tall, so I'd go for a wetsuit and boots first as I'd always struggle to rent something that fit. A nice breathing regulator can make all the difference in a dive, but if you're diving with someone who has shitty rental regulators - well, you probably shouldn't dive with them anyways.

    And you need to think about what you can be arsed to carry.
    Mrs Miggins likes this.
  9. squirrelp

    squirrelp Banned Banned

    Hey, I did a bit of diving a couple of years ago and got fairly proficient

    1) You're not alone! And there is nothing weird about freaking out a bit, you've got a whole load of weird kit on, you sound like Darth Vader, and you are going into an alien situation and you have loads of things to keep track of. So it's totally understandable and I am sure pretty damn common to have a bit of a wobble.

    The impressive thing is that despite all that you have got through it and enjoyed the rest of the dives so you can definitely overcome this.

    It took me about twenty dives before I started to feel like I could just jump in and be cool :)

    2) EQUALISING. I had loads of trouble with this. I finally had to master it as I did a freediving course (totally recommend those if you are up for a challenge). While freediving you don't have time to struggle with equalising you have to nail it, bang, down you go, bang, down you go, etc. So I practised loads on dry land. The breakthrough happened when I discovered the trick was to gradually ramp up the pressure. This is easier to explain with a demo, but try this: with your nostrils open, breathe very gently out, then a little bit harder, little bit harder, then snort! Then to equalise, you do exactly that, but with your nostrils pinched closed. It's a bit like popping bubble wrap - you get your thumb gently on the bubble, and press down harder and harder until it pops. You can do this very quickly but you are turning on the pressure rather than slamming it. Confidence in the process also helps you stay relaxed, which is a massive help.

    This applies whether you are doing valsava or fresnel equalisation. I recommend having a go at fresnel on dry land, it costs nothing to practice this, if you get it you'll love it. Certainly practice on dry land so you can equalise confidently like riding a bicycle.

    3) Maybe go heavier on the weights if you want some extra help with the descent? It's possible you might have been light.

    4) Perhaps you could have a dive where you just practice descending? Maybe in a swimming pool? I don't know if this is possible.

    5) I discovered the trick to powerful finning is to keep your legs locked out, i.e. no bend at the knee. No-one told me this. Once I discovered it I felt supercool. This might not help so much with the descent but I want to mention it :)

    keep diving!
    Mrs Miggins likes this.
  10. Kanda

    Kanda Diving wanker

    Ahem!!! Master Instructor Kanda! ;)

    Are you free descending or using a line to descend? I'd stick to a line for now until you're more comfortable.

    Cross your legs at the ankles if you're not having trouble equalising...and breathe normally. Correct weighting requires good airway control and breathing patterns.

    Great that you're sticking with it :)
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
    spanglechick likes this.
  11. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Thank you Kanda !

    I'm usually free descending - it depends on the dive site. I think I probably needed a little bit more weight bur I had 10kg on already. I've been diving with 6kg in tropical water with a 3mm shortie so perhaps I did need a little more. I was still fighting to stay off the bottom when I did get down but perhaps a bit more could have helped me get down in the first place and stop me from shooting up again once I'd made it down. I'Ll try 12kg next time. It does make manoeuvres at the surface much harder though with all that weight!!

    Crossing my ankles is a great tip - I'll definitely try that. And I really do want to keep going as I absolutely love it! There's not many feelings to beat being undewater floating weightless wirh the fishes......
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  12. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    It's frustrating as on my last 2-3 dives, I really had it licked - my buoyancy control was spot on and I had stopped having to think about it so much. My last dive was my 30th dive and it was all coming together. Then this happened! I knew it would be different but I didn't really appreciate just how different.

    This is one of the things I love about it though - the fact that it is very technical and takes a lot of practice.
  13. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Thank you - all good stuff. I will never forget the first time I had all the kit on. It feels totally WTF!!! THIS IS NOT FUCKING NORMAL!! But then you get underwater and almost forget about it all. It's bizarre really and I am tring to allow for the fact that my subconscious is still very unhappy about it all. I'm not conciously scared in anyway but clearly some animal instinct is still telling me that this is all wrong.

    I don't have any problems with equalising - that comes pretty naturally to me. I just need to try to get over this panic at the surface. It happens when I come up as well as I always seem to have an epic struggle getting out. I can't get my fins off, I'm bashing around on the side of the boat, all the weight when it hits you again is soooo damned heavy.

    I think perhaps some strength training might help as I really am very feeble :D
    gentlegreen likes this.
  14. Kanda

    Kanda Diving wanker

    Welcome to my workplace :)

    12kg with what exposure protection? 7mm semi dry or?

    Have you done a buoyancy check? Deflate your BCD holding a regular (not deep!) breath, you should float at eye level without kicking or sculling if you're correctly weighted.
    Mrs Miggins likes this.
  15. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    10kg wih a 7mm full wetsuit. I did do a buoyancy check but I wasn't actually sure what I was supposed to be doing. I said "what am I supposed to do?" But I'm not sure the guide heard me. He did watch me thogh and didnt seem concerned. Ive never done this before. Now I know - thanks!
  16. Kanda

    Kanda Diving wanker

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  17. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Urbanz elitistest.

    I thought I'd hijack this thread rather than start a new one.
    I seem to be heading for a very boaty / fishy area in retirement in a few years' time (bay of Brest), and as well as mucking about on top of the water - swimming and kayaking, I would like to do more than just watch Attenborough videos and discover my inner dolphin ...
    Where does one start ?

    Is 60 years old too late in life to do it ? :hmm:

    What would be a good forum to join ?

    I just spotted a house for sale half a mile from this place :-

    And, like Mrs Miggins, I get panicky when I stick my head under the water - except last time I tried, I couldn't even bear to stare down from the surface wearing a mask - so I probably need to start by going under water in the bath. :oops:
    I was sort of getting somewhere at the end of my last holiday - sitting on the sand at Llangenith and letting the waves crash over my head.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  18. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Urbanz elitistest.

    These are interesting me hugely as a swimming safety aid as well as for when I simply don't want to be bothered with getting the kayak out.
    Could one sit astride it ? :hmm:


    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  19. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Urbanz elitistest.

  20. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Diving is the most fabulous thing gentlegreen and I'm not sure there is an age limit for learning. If you can, learn. It is truly fantastic.
    gentlegreen likes this.
  21. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    You can learn at 60 but I'd suggest you learn in the UK so language isn't a barrier.

    I've taught people successfully who were terrified of putting their head under water. It just takes patience and going slowly slowly.
    gentlegreen likes this.
  22. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Urbanz elitistest.

  23. BristolEcho

    BristolEcho Well-Known Member

    We are going to a take a pool tester lesson soon I think. It's been handy reading this so I realise it's not as easy as it looks. I'm not always the best at sticking practical things out when they get difficult, but this would be really fun I think and it's about time I learnt a bit of discipline.

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