Friday, September 29, 2006

An email to Adam

I write a lot... if you count all the emails I send. Today I'm feeling a bit lazy, so my Blog post is an excerpt from an email to a buddy of mine. I normally prefer to keep my public persona more humble than my actual, but this is relevant to diving so here it is....

Hi Adam!

Cool to hear from your yesterday. Sorry i couldn't talk. I was in the middle of writing EIGHT exams for my PADI Divemaster course. One was an 85%, five 90%'s, and two perfects. Not bad since I barely had time for anything beyond reading the manuals once. Heck, on one exam I had to answer 5 dive planning questions using "The Wheel" (instead of the tables). The shop didn't HAVE a wheel. I got 2 out of 5 correct. :-) Just by guessing at the values and interpolating numbers from the tables.

Last Sunday I spent 4 hours in the pool performing various feats of wonderful diving demonstrations. To be a DM they basically put you through the instructor's exam. You have to demonstrate every one of the 20 skills taught in the Open Water class... but not just in a way that shows you can do them. Instead you have to do "demonstration quality" skills as if you were showing a student how to do them. For example, you do each skill slowly and point to the individual parts that make up the whole... exaggerating the movements, and "smiling" while you do them. I was dreading the 400m swim and the 800m snorkel. They're timed. But I got those done. It was the "equipment exchange" that almost drowned me!

The last test was to go to the bottom of the pool with a buddy, and take off every piece of gear (except bathing suit) while exchanging it all with your buddy and putting every piece of his gear back on. Not hard eh? Except you have to buddy breath off a single reg while doing it! Breath breath, fin off, breath breath, pass fin, breath breath, put fin on foot, breath breath, tighten fin strap, etc.. And there's a five minute time limit. So you can't breath breath, rest, breath breath take fin off, breath breath, rest. When clearing the mask I used my entire lungfull of air and had to wait a while to get more. It was only a few seconds, but I started to get involuntary breathing reflexes and had to hold my hand over my mouth while my chest spasmed for air (which I didn't have). Apparently my eyes went REALLY BIG at that point. By the time we got done (on the first try!) I was ready to collapse. I had a lot of water to choke up.

Tomorrow I do a resuce simulation, a timed tired-diver tow, and a small mapping exercise. No big deals there, we just didn't have time for them Sunday.

And when that's done, all that's left is paperwork! I'll be fully done my DM training and within weeks (sending the paperwork and upgrading my liability insurance) I'll be a certified diving professional!!!!

Cool huh?

Any way, to answer your question I'll be back in Amsterdam in about 16 days. Next Friday is my last day of work. Then I think I'll be diving (just for fun) on Saturday and driving to Niagara on Sunday. I'll spend 5-7 days with my folks (they miss me) then I'll hop a flight to Atlanta and another to Amsterdam. Those last flights are "booked" but I have to change the dates to fit my schedule. So I don't have exact departure details yet.

Any chance you can give me a ride from the airport???

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