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  1. #1
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    Jul 2013
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    Default questions from a scuba newbie

    In less than a month my hubby and I will be at CSS and we are beyond excited! One thing he is excited about is the scuba diving. It is something he has always wanted to try. I hadn't been planning to join him because I am very claustrophobic and I don't know if I will feel safe enough to enjoy it. However, I don't want to miss out on a possibly fun new experience, and he will enjoy it more if I go along. Any advice to help me decide?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    I was in the exact same shoes as you the first time we went to CSA! Im also a bit claustrophibc. I did the lesson and free dive to try it, more for my hubby then for me, I was scared. We had a great instructor (Anthony), and on the first free dive, once we were down at the bottom of the ocean, waiting for everyone to start, I freaked out and quit and went back to the surface. I felt so had, leaving hubby to do the dive himself, that I calmed down (also with the help of one the dive masters who came up with me) went back down and finished the dive. Anthony held my hand the whole dive and the dive was a complete blur. I spent the whole dive trying to breath and stay calm, that I missed the beauty of it. After that dive, hubby decided to get certified. I enventually gave in and decided to as well. I'm very glad I did!!! It it wasn't for the great instructors there, I would never have completed that first dive, conquered a fear, or have been diving since. It's something my husband and I do together. I love it. I still have to talk myself through my dives sometimes, but I'm doing it!!! Definitely try it! Let the guys know your fears, it's a GREAT place to learn!!!! You won't regret it!

  3. #3
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    Jul 2009
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    They offer a resort course that will allow you one shallow dive. There's a little bit of classroom stuff and familiarization work done in the pool (takes a minimal amount of time) before the actual dive. It's one way to "try it out" and back out if you find that it's not for you.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2011
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    If you are doing the resort course, they give you all the basics in the pool. That way you can feel comfortable and if you feel it's not for you then its not like you are in the ocean. It is a great way to see if you would like it

  5. #5

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    ggirl40 - do the resort course as Bart and Robear suggest. To me the pool work is more difficult than the actual diving because it is tougher to keep yourself underwater. I have not been diving at CSS, but at previous resorts my kids have done the resort course and it has been incredible. Every experience I have had is once you get in the water for real, the divemaster does not leave your side. You have a tour guide and a safety harness right there will you. Headed to CSA in two weeks and can't wait to get a tank on my back. The water in the Caribbean is so clear that being claustrophobic isn't a problem. You can roll over and see the sun, see the bottom of the boat, etc. Have an open mind and give it a shot. You'll love it.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2013
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    Thanks for the encouragement guys! I think I held my breath the whole time I read your responses! This is a fear I definitely need to conquer and it helps to know I can get a feel for it in the pool before I ever have to get into the ocean. jofrank - thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad to know you wanted to do it again even after a scary first experience. That helps a lot!!

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    I, too, am a bit claustrophic and a resort dive is THE place to see if you can scuba. I did the resort dive at CSS a few years ago (and have also done it at other resorts). The moment when I first breathe underwater is always freaky for me. But I always get past it and manage to go out on the shallow dive. If you sign up for it and are uncomfortable with it, no problem, just stop. No one is going to force you to finish. And it's free, so you have absolutely nothing to lose.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2010
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    The other side of the coin-my husband did the resort course and eventually got certified because of it. I am also slightly claustrophobic and continue to have no desire to dive. Would he like for me to join him? Yes. Is it fine that we have separate interests? Of course. While he dives at CSS it gives me time to get an extra massage, sit on the patio and read my book, lay on the beach and soak in all that is CSS. We do make a deal before we go as to which days he will dive so that we have a couple of "sleep in" mornings and full days together. Now that he is certified it takes up much less of our CSS time. The pool time and beginners dive always took up better than a half day. A morning dive he is gone and back in about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Kudos to you, Jofrank, for being so adventurous! Whatever you decide, Ggirl40, your trip will be great!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jofrank View Post
    I was in the exact same shoes as you the first time we went to CSA! Im also a bit claustrophibc. I did the lesson and free dive to try it, more for my hubby then for me, I was scared. We had a great instructor (Anthony), and on the first free dive, once we were down at the bottom of the ocean, waiting for everyone to start, I freaked out and quit and went back to the surface. I felt so had, leaving hubby to do the dive himself, that I calmed down (also with the help of one the dive masters who came up with me) went back down and finished the dive. Anthony held my hand the whole dive and the dive was a complete blur. I spent the whole dive trying to breath and stay calm, that I missed the beauty of it. After that dive, hubby decided to get certified. I enventually gave in and decided to as well. I'm very glad I did!!! It it wasn't for the great instructors there, I would never have completed that first dive, conquered a fear, or have been diving since. It's something my husband and I do together. I love it. I still have to talk myself through my dives sometimes, but I'm doing it!!! Definitely try it! Let the guys know your fears, it's a GREAT place to learn!!!! You won't regret it!


    The same thing happened to me last summer. Our instructor stayed with me until I was comfortable. I still get a little wonky at first but the experience was unforgettable!

  10. #10
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    Jul 2009
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    A couple of things that I have found that help students who were claustrophobic, was to get their own dive mask and snorkel ahead of time. Make certain it is a mask that has translucent or clear skirts around the lens area. This will help you feel less confined as your peripheral vision can detect light. Try snorkeling then ahead of time, this is to get you used to breathing through your mouth only. You breath through you mouth while under water, not natural to most, and you exhale through you nose slightly to equal the pressure of the mask against the face and to keep water out of the mask. Learn to do those while snorkeling along with the clearer mask skirts, and you should be fine. Relax, and enjoy, you may just get hooked on the underwater world.

    In case your wondering, I am have been a PADI dive master for, geez, lets just say a very, very long time, like since last century. Have fun.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2013
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    smroot - thank you! I don't have access to an indoor pool so I can't practice ahead of time but I was wondering if it's a good idea to do the snorkeling excursion first and go out for scuba later in the week? At least I'd have a better idea if I could handle it, right? Is there a lot of pressure when you dive? I get nervous trying to touch the bottom of the deep end of the pool because of the pressure. Does the scuba gear help with that?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    If you have your own mask and snorkel, you can practice right from the beach. If you have any problems, just stand up, then try again. Sometimes on the snorkel boat you can't stand, and even if you could, you might damage the coral or other living things. The beach is just sand and the water is clear and calm. You might even see a couple of sea stars while out! Good idea of the clear mask skirt.

  13. #13

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    you might want to visit the PADI website to see if there is a dive shop nearby that you could go get acquainted with some of the gear before you go. I know some offer a similar as the resort option - called "Discover Scuba" that will give you a better idea if it would be something you want to pursue.
    http://www.padi.com/scuba/locate-a-p...p/default.aspx
    _____
    CN 6/12
    CN 7/13
    CN 12/14

  14. #14
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    Jul 2009
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    The pressure in the ears is relieved by pinching your nostrils and gently trying to exhale through your nose every few feet on your descent. This will equal the pressure in the Eustachian tubes. Also, you need to exhale in your mask as your descending to keep from getting a mask squeeze, seen some that looked like a hicky. I would recommend snorkeling first to get comfortable with the feel of the mask and the guys on the snorkel boat will be glad to give you pointers and help. If you are either buying a mask or using one of theirs, put it in place on your head and breath in through your nose to find out if it fits. A properly fit mask will stay in place if you do this without it being strapped onto your head. A proper fitting mask will allow little leakage on a dive and makes for a more comfortable feeling. Big thing is to relax, clear your ears often and breathe out through your nostrils to keep from getting a mask squeeze. Will take a little practice but after a while it comes natural. Most seasoned divers can clear without pinching.

  15. #15
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    Jul 2013
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    Thanks for all the advice! We want to bring an underwater camera for this but we aren't sure what to get. One says it's good to 10' and one says it's good to 33'. Others don't mention a depth at all, they just say they are waterproof for underwater photos. How deep is the dive? It's not likely we will use the camera much after this trip so I don't want to spend a fortune on it. And what about the disposable ones? Can anyone steer me in the right direction? Also, I think it would be really fun to get a photo of my hubby and I together underwater. Would the guides do that for us if we asked? Thanks again! 15 DAYS!!!

  16. #16
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    Oct 2011
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    Boy, I don't know much about cameras, but the resort dive will be aprox. 35'. If you get certified, there are two diff. depths. The morning dive is the deeper of the two at aprox. 90'. the afternoon dive is about 65'. So, get a camera that will fit the bill. Can't wait to get wet!

  17. #17
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    Jun 2009
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    Beginner dive will be about 20 - 25 ft. We have taken a disposable underwater that deep before and its been ok but not guaranteed for course.

    Amy

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by smroot View Post
    The pressure in the ears is relieved by pinching your nostrils and gently trying to exhale through your nose every few feet on your descent. This will equal the pressure in the Eustachian tubes. ...... Big thing is to relax, clear your ears often and breathe out through your nostrils to keep from getting a mask squeeze. Will take a little practice but after a while it comes natural. Most seasoned divers can clear without pinching.
    The non certified dive is about 30ft deep. When I went in March, it was my first time ever diving. They said I couldn't bring my camera with, because they wanted me to be able to focus on the diving techniques, and easily be able to reach the instruments and such if needed.

    Also, when I dove, my one ear was not able to pressurize, so I couldn't complete the dive. I was only about halfway down or so, and could not get my right ear to equalize, so I had to surface and stay on the boat while others completed the dive. The same thing occasionally happens when flying. My ears will be fine on takeoff, but on landing, the right side does not always pressurize. Any advice on this? Just recently, I did some looking at my local dive shop (in Iowa... I know, weird, a dive shop in Iowa...), and found some plugs, called Docs Pro Plugs, that go in your ear, and keep water out, so you can equalize better. Smroot, have you or anyone else had any experience with these? I was SO upset when I wasn't able to dive last year. I had been looking forward to it for months!!

    91 days 18 hours 43 minutes till touchdown!!

  19. #19
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    Sep 2011
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    I'm quite a bit claustraphobic, had a few tries at scuba diving and never got to grips with it. Then, in 2008 my husband persuaded me to have another go.. Result I loved it, took to it like a 'duck to water' or maybe even a fish to water. I'm now a fully qualified PADI Instructor and love introducing the more timid to the beauties of the underwater world. We visited CN last year and I found the dive set up wonderful, the staff are so welcoming, friendly and professional as I'm sure all their dive set ups are I would'nt hesitate to say that this would be the best ever time to give it a go . Would love to hear how you get on

  20. #20
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    Sep 2009
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    1. Nervous: my wife was experiencing some anxiety during the pool session prior to the first timer dive. Instructor (Sugar) was excellent and coached her to confidence and she loved the dive. (suggestion: pushing through nervousness pays off)
    2. Camera: we bought a camera good to 20 feet and took it on the intro 30 foot dive. The camera was toast...never got a picture from it. If you want to do water pictures, my absolutely novice recommendation is to stick to the depth recommenation (Suggestion: cut the depth rating in half).
    3. Time: the resort intro course and dive will take you about 4 hours total...and it is totally worth it if you have the time. (Suggestion: do the dive! )
    Last edited by Bert; January 19th, 2014 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Correction

  21. #21
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    Jan 2011
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    I'd be interested in the ear and pressure equalization discussion. I'd love to learn how to dive but I'm not sure a doctor would ever clear me. I've had ossicular reconstruction and a tympanoplasty but it was 20ish years ago. I guess I won't know unless I actually go see my ENT surgeon.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    ggirl40- definitely suggest checking for a local dive shop, they tend to have learning events at local YMCAs and the like and are generally very encouraging towards helping people learn more about SCUBA. Even one night will really help you learn a lot. You can snorkel off Sunset Beach at CSS (yep, AN) and pretty easily reach the main reef. We'll be at CSS Feb 4-11 and will definitely be doing that... hopefully we'll rally a snorkel party off the beach as we did last year. You need to bring your own equipment though! Tons of fun and festivities at the bar later.

    R & S

  23. #23
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    Jul 2013
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    Rands - I'm going to look into that, thanks! We will be at CSS February 2-8 so we may see you. :-)

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