Open Water Dive #1+2 (Spooner’s Cove)

I survived both my first and second open water dive today. There were a few times when I almost thought that I wouldn’t. Diving in the ocean is a completely different thing than in a pool. My first few breaths under water in the pool were scary and hard, much harder than a normal breath above water, but still manageable once I got used to it. You would think that the breathing process is the same in the ocean with same gear. But it is completely different, like night and day. First of all, there are conditions in the ocean that don’t exist in the pool, like waves, currents, colder water, lower visibility.

I was excited at first, a bit tired, and a little scared, but I didn’t think it would be that much different from the pool. Stupid me. So once we got in the water with our diving buddies, I found it hard to breathe. The wetsuit was a very thick one, 7mm, and a two-piece. It didn’t fit much tighter than my surfsuit, but it was more material tightening around my chest, and with that heavy BCD (Buoyancy Control Device), and weights and tanks and all that, I got winded from just walking with it to the shore from the car. And then getting in the water, with mild surf, and putting on my mask/snorkel and fins, was pretty tough. My total extra weight was 24lbs and then the BCD+tank on top of that. I was carrying a lot. And with the tight wetsuit, a little heavy breathing felt way worse than it does at the gym. So imagine swimming on the water, against the waves, out towards the buoy. With the snorkel it was kinda fine, but I was honestly freaking out a little bit. And it just got worse when I tried putting the regulator in. That was so scary! It is a completely natural reaction to freak out when you feel like you can’t get enough air. And even if I knew that I got air, I didn’t feel like it was enough and I got really scared and almost wanted to end the dive and do this another time. During the first dive I wasn’t sure why I was freaking out. I thought it was because I was scared of being in the ocean and not in the confined pool water. I knew we were going deeper than the pool and I’m sure some of it was anxiety. So my buddy and I were the last to go down to the rope on the bottom. When I hear 15 feet, I automatically think in meters. 15 meters is a lot!! So I was a little scared going down the rope, but 15 feet: piece of cake and I was on the bottom in no time! Once I was on the bottom I was actually fine. The panic was gone, I could breathe, and second most importantly; I wasn’t cold in the 56 degree water.

We did some training on the bottom, it was just a couple of things before we went on a minidive on the bottom. On the first dive we did two things on the bottom, and that was filling our mask halfway and emptying it and then removing the regulator, throwing it away, finding it again, and putting it in. Diver’s rule #1 is to always let bubbles out of your mouth while under water and never ever hold your breath. So you have to be smart and only let out a very little amount of air. During that dive, but at the surface, we also practiced cramp removal, and tired diver tow.

The minidive was pretty much just a 10 minute swim on the bottom in an arrow formation with the instructor in the middle. Two instructors and five or four students going in two different directions. The visibility was really bad, 5-10feet according to the instructors. You had to stay really close to your buddy. We swam to some kelp, I didn’t look at anything, I tried to focus on my breathing and doing what I was supposed to do, like give my psi to the instructor whenever he asked for it and turned direction when he wanted to. I did however see some cool stuff. On the first dive I saw a dead squid the size of my hand. Super sad, but it was a squid. Some kelp was blue shimmering and was really pretty. And that was everything I saw during the first dive.

Swimming in was hard, the diving fins are so heavy and I find it very hard to swim with them. So swimming back in with the waves that got a little bigger while we were out there, definitely made me breathe heavily again. But not too bad, and getting out of the water wasn’t hard at all.

We put our stuff on some tarp so it wouldn’t get sandy. Walked up to the cars, had a little snack, changed our tanks and then went in again. I wasn’t as nervous and scared this time. But the waves were higher and it was very difficult to swim out to the buoy. And this time we were supposed to only do it with our compass. That wasn’t the hard part, but seriously, swimming on the surface with all that gear sucks!! It is so heavy and once again, my breathing got heavy and I found it hard to breathe in the regulator. But this time I knew it was from being winded so I just needed a minute by the buoy before descending.

During the second dive we did three exercises. First we filled our whole mask with water and emptied it. I couldn’t fill mine the whole way so I had to fill it up to like three quarters three times. My eyes hurt a little after that, stupid saltwater. But then I got it. The second thing we did was regulator exchange, so we signaled to our buddies that we were out of air and we got there secondary second stage to breathe in. Then we ascended, pretending that one of our BCD’s were empty and had to inflate it orally at the surface. Me and my buddy did really well on that one. We also had to show the instructors again at the bottom that we could remain neutrally buoyant in the water. That means just floating in the water. I did that very well too.

Then we did another minidive and this time I looked around more, swam through the kelp, almost got stuck one time, haha, saw a big starfish and once again, the shimmering kelp. That was a pretty cool dive too. And then came the horrible part. Getting out of the water. The waves were pretty big once we reached the surface, and swimming in that, while breathing in the regulator, well, I got the same feeling like before, that I didn’t get enough air. I was starting to panic again, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t wanna have the regulator in my mouth, but I’m pretty sure that’s what you are supposed to do, not the snorkel. It took forever to swim in, so I was exhausted when I got in there. And then I couldn’t get my fins off, I tried myself, and eventually I got help from one of the instructors. I was embarrassed honestly. I usually never panic like this, and I am almost all of the times, prepared when I am doing something new because I wanna do it right from the beginning. I couldn’t breathe, so as soon as I got up to the shore I got helped with the removal of my BCD, opened up my wetsuit, off with the hood, and I almost started crying. Not being able to breathe sucks! It is scary as hell! Once I could breathe normally again, I put on the BCD and walked up the beach to the cars. Ugh, that was horrible. But I survived, and the conditions today was not optimal for a dive, and for a first dive? I think overall I did pretty well. But I hope it will go better tomorrow. We are going to Morro Bay, so there shouldn’t be any waves, but there is gonna be a current (today there was none). So instead of being winded at the surface, where I can calm down before descending, I might be winded at the bottom. That would not be fun! Also I think that I most likely will get calf cramps too. But that’s not a big problem compared to the breathing part. I’m sure it will be fine!

My maximum depth today was 21 feet, and my total bottom time after today is 48 minutes. Cool!

After I got home I was so extremely tired and hungry.  I probably burned 3000 calories today, so I had a bowl of mac n cheese, watched the season finale of Grimm, and took a nap. When I woke up I was hungry again, and somehow I managed to get a friend to pick up a pulled pork sandwich for me from Firestone. The sweetest thing ever! I saved half the sandwich so I have some yumminess for tomorrow. The fries though went fast. I really needed some salt. The rest of the evening I played Guild Wars 2. The food gave me more energy and eventually, at 10pm, I took the warm shower I probably should have taken right away. Well well. We are not meeting until 1pm tomorrow, so I get to sleep in. And I am pretty sure that I will fall asleep as soon as I put my head on my pillow. Wish me luck tomorrow everyone! If I do well tomorrow I have my PADI Open Water Certification at the end of the day, yay!

Short novel, drive-in, Valencia Peak

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

The weekend is not over yet and it has already been an eventful one. So tomorrow I won’t do anything special except for studying for my midterm. Yay!

Yesterday during the day I worked on the group project we are doing now where we are analyzing intersections in downtown. I worked on it until I got picked up. First stop of the evening was at Firestone where I had the amazing pulled pork sandwich. The next stop was the drive-in movie theatre. Tons of people compared to last time I was there. Can be because last night they were showing the new Avengers movie. It was really good like all the other Marvel movies. The second movie was Cinderella and I have to say that that was a good movie too.

The second movie started after 11pm so I didn’t get home until 1:30am and was too tired to continue to write on my short novel I started two days ago. I used to write a lot of short stories when I was younger. I have always had a vivid imagination but I took a 10-year long break from writing because of other things. Two days ago I got a really good idea though and started writing again. I only have a paragraph so far, but it is a pretty good start.

Today I slept until noon. Did some studying and then got picked up and went to Montaña de Oro to hike Valencia Peak. It was a 2-mile hike to the top, it was a “lagom” distance and a very pretty hike. The view from up there was incredible. The peak is about 1300 feet.

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We then walked along the cliffs of Montaña de Oro, where I have never been before, but clearly was the most beautiful place in all of the park. The rock formations are so cool and I have no idea how they came to be. The waves were crashing on the rocks, and it was just a beautiful day!

Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro

It ended with dinner at Sylvester’s Hamburger place. As good as last time!

Back home and I did get some studying done after the hot shower. But I was so tired tonight that I couldn’t go through more than one powerpoint. Instead I read some of my old stories. They all definitely follow a theme, sadness. But they are still very good. I also realized that I had one story from end of 2013 which I completely had forgotten about. I wrote one part of it and I remember telling myself to finish it when I was in that special state of mind. Which I am now, so I guess I should finish it.

Montaña de Oro

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

German friends mean spontaneity and as I Swede I can’t say anything else than that I love it! I didn’t have anything planned today than just chilling, maybe enrolling in that online space class that I wanna take, The Violent Universe. But then David asked me if I wanted to tag along to Montaña de Oro. A little bit later we were in Los Osos at the beautiful state park. Before going down to the beach we stood and watched out over the water and we saw two whales, small ones, so either babies or a smaller type of whale. They were breaching and it was so incredibly cool! I haven’t seen whales since Maui more than a year ago. When the whales were out of our sight we slid down a sand dune and walked along the beach for a while, looked in the tide pools, and enjoyed the nature. It was kinda windy, but not too bad. It was cloudy as well. The good weather will be back on Monday according to Google Now.

We took another way up, a wider sand dune, but it was still very hard to go up, my thighs were burning from trying not to slide down in the loose sand. That was the workout of the day.

We then followed a trail back to the car and continued to drive to Spooner’s Cave which is a beach in the park. We hung out there for a bit, building rock towers and breathing in the fresh saltwater air.

They dropped me off at PCV where I made dinner and have been painting my nails while watching Grimm. Now I am thinking of either going to bed or playing some GW2. I will most likely make myself a cup of tea, eat some fudge and play!

Whale Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro The snake-formed path is where we came down. I have to admit that it was very fun!Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Montaña de Oro Eucalyptus forest We walked through an eucalyptus forest on the way back to the car.Spooner's Cove Spooner’s Cove.Spooner's Cove David, Thiago (from Brazil), and Alex.Spooner's Cove Spooner's Cove The boys climbing up on this rock. I would have followed if I didn’t have newly washed and very very tight jeans, I am 113% sure they would rip if I tried that climb, so I sat on the beach looking for pretty rocks.Spooner's CoveMy second attempt at a rock tower (I did one on the other beach but that wasn’t whole-heartedly).