DI: 3-4 Practice, Practice, Practice

Trip Start Jan 10, 2013
Trip End Jun 06, 2013

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Guanacaste,
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 3 and 4 I have no dives. This will probably be good though as I will be doing 6 dives I'm 3 consecutive days and it is exhausting! So I will be working in the dive shop for these days. I was in with Brenda, one of the owners on the first day, I didn't really do too much, just a stock take and learnt how the shop worked, what I needed to do etc. Brenda is actually pretty fun to work with, sometimes when you're working with the boss it's a bit more stressful, but she's very laid back and chatty which is nice. We had a bit of drama though as her husband Martin got bitten by a coral snake. He went to the pharmacy to get anti-venom but they don't stock it because it's really expensive. Random fact for you, they've actually stopped producing it in America now (because it's expensive) and they have now run out of it. This means that when someone has a bite they just have to keep them in a coma because they have no antidote for them. How ridiculous is that? Anyway, back to Martin. He was told to go to the hospital in Liberia, which is about 45 minutes away. However he decided that he didn't want to go... Yes I'm being serious. He came to the self assessed conclusion that he was going to be fine and googled that coral snakes don't often inject their venom into humans because otherwise they have no way to feed themselves for days afterwards. Poor Brenda was trying to persuade him to go but he was obstinately refusing to. To be fair, if I was in her situation I would have been going insane, she was incredibly calm at the fact her husband was refusing to go to hospital in the face of potential death. Luckily he is actually fine, still better safe than sorry right?

Later I was discussing with Laura about my absolute hate of mask clearing and she offered to take me along to the pool with her and her open water student so I could practice. It meant I could actually do it underwater properly with a regulator in so I thought it was probably a good idea. I also took a compass along so I could play with that in preparation for my navigation dive. I kept practicing flooding my mask and clearing it and think I can do that basically fine now. I also decided to practice taking my mask off completely and then putting it back on and clearing it. This is a task I dread more than anything. I actually did the straight pulling it off putting it back on ok but we also did taking it off for 60 seconds and then putting it back on. I started off so well actually exhaling out of my nose when I first took it off but really struggled putting it back on this time, it took me so long to clear it and I have worked out this is for a few reasons. 1. Laura has pointed out to me that my mask design you cannot clear all the time normally, you actually have to put your head all the way back rather than just looking up. 2. Because I have to hold my nose when I'm underwater normally not being able to do this and having water surrounding my nose is HORRENDOUS, once my mask is back on it's still surrounded by water and I feel like I can't take a deep enough breath through my mouth to clear my mask because I feel like I'm going to drown. 3. When I breathe out through my mouth the regulator bubbles go up my nose = more drowning sensation. I know most of this is basically psychological and I just need to practice exhaling through my nose and getting used to that feeling because I will eventually be showing students how to do it (maybe I can show them what not to do!) and will have to take all of my equipment off underwater for my divemaster. I need to get this down. Practice, practice, practice.

After work I got to move out of the ant infested shit hole that is currently my home, with the bed that even if I move the smallest amount it makes the loudest noise, waking me up about 100 times a night (2 nights of no sleep currently!). I am moving in for the next week and a half with Lee, the divemaster helping out at the shop, and Estiban, who I actually dove with at Deep Blue Diving when I was here last. Laura and Tom helped me move with all my crap, and Tom, bless him, with broken ribs and everything, took my suitcase the whole way. The flat isn't too bad, it's nice but not very good internet and it's not that close. Still anything is better than that hostel. And there's aircon, however when it went off a couple of times in night I woke up absolutely baking! It's so hot here!

I had another day in the shop the next day and had to load the boat up for the divers today. This basically entails loading all of the air tanks onto the truck, plus everyone's gear, then offloading it onto a smaller boat, then putting it on the dive boat and setting up people equipment. The air tanks are SO heavy. At the moment I can only handle one but I'm sure I'll be a regular hulk by the end of all this! In fact, because the sun is so strong I will potentially look like one of those creepy female body builders who like they've spent 150 hours on a sunned in a week. One of the guys who works for the shop doesn't speak English and I actually learnt quite a bit today/managed to speak quite a bit with him. I'm going to start Spanish lessons next week so I should be fairly proficient at it by the time I leave.

I spent the rest of the day helping in the shop including making my first sale but otherwise spent the rest of the time practicing with the compass. Tom showed me what I would have to do and I felt a bit happier about it, however I'm still not that confident with it. For the navigation dive I'm going to have to learn how to measure distance using kicks and elapsed time, which is the amount of time it takes to cover a known distance. I'm going to have to use natural navigation i.e. plants/rocks/animals etc to navigate, use a compass to do a reciprocal heading from a straight line (180 degree turn) and I'm going to have to make a perfect square with each side being 30 metres....again practice, practice, practice! I found out that PADI students in their open water actually have to do a bit of compass work, so this is possibly why I was so worried about it because we never did this for SSI open water. A fairly new open water student came in after his dives and told me that he completely freaked out underwater and couldn't stay under, he was a pretty confident looking, muscley guy so it really shows that anxiety can really affect anyone.

I finished a bit early today as I'm not having a day off this week and went to the beach. I'm back on plastering myself with factor 50 because the sun is so strong here. It's also boiling, have I mentioned that? I had to walk back to the house after, absolutely starving and went to the supermarket. I had to eat something immediately because I was so hungry. I got home and realised I'd spent $20 dollars on what was basically crisps, biscuits and coca cola. Healthy! I decided to spend a bit of time trying to practice having my nose underwater without feeling like I'm going to die, every little bit of practice helps! I've been living off nachos for dinner the last few days because i've just been too tired to cook, I think the sun is seriously draining me. Luckily for me tonight Estiban has decided to cook something Costa Rican for me as a welcome to his home. Latin people are so nice, someone gave me a lift to work this morning too :)

Wish me luck for my dives tomorrow!
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