I used to scuba dive with the Fire Department. We had a well equipped team and did a fair share of training in all sorts of conditions. I really enjoyed it. Alas, I was promoted to driving a desk for too many years and never kept up my skills. After retirement came, I often thought it would be fun to get back into it.
Every year in February the Anne Arundel County Fire Department Retirees Association has a reunion in Orlando. 50+ of us old farts get together, drink beer, tell lies and have fun. Others go whack a little ball around and claim to have fun, I'll have to take their word for it.
This year a small group decided to go on a cruise immediately after the reunion. Donna and I thought that was a great idea and signed up. Of course there are the usual excursions associated with each port, scuba being among them. That did it for me, I was going to get my "C" card and go blow bubbles in the Caribbean.
Donna (the Google Queen) found a number of training courses close to where we planned to stay in Florida. I picked one (Sunsation Divers) and enrolled. The training consisted of PC based (via DVD) classroom materials and quizzes as well as 2 days of diving. All equipment was included with the exception of mask, snorkel and fins. I purchased those items from the same company at a reasonable price.
The recommended time for the online training part is about a week. I was able to complete it in 3 days but remember, a lot of the material was just review for me. I scheduled my open water session for a Monday and Tuesday at DeLeon Springs State Park. We met with our instructor, got signed in and took care of all the paperwork, quizzes, reviewed all our equipment, suited up and away we went into the water.
We started with basic skills and moved on the more advanced items as we mastered each skill. We learned to control our buoyancy, clear a flooded mask, find a dislodged regulator, buddy breath and emergency ascent procedures. Each new skill was explained and demonstrated by our instructor. Each of us completed the skill until entirely comfortable with it.
The second day was much like the first in that we went over all the previous days skills and repeated them. We added navigation using a compass and reviewed the use of a dive computer. All in all, a very enjoyable two days.
Since then I have located, purchased and am now getting serviced all my own gear. I found some high quality equipment on line at very reasonable cost.
I'm really looking forward to doing some diving on the cruise in 3 weeks! Update, we took the cruise a few weeks ago, 2 two tanks dives. WOW! Blog to come.
Stu and Donna