A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Crater

We were done with the class portion of scuba certification, but we still had to do a real dive... outside of the pool. For this they have us go up to Midway to the Crater. Anyone in Utah that scuba dives is familiar with the Crater. It is the closest place to dive that is deep enough to pass certification. Although at this point I was very comfortable staying underwater at the pool, I had no idea what the Crater was going to be like. Honestly, I was nervous (what else is new). What if I freaked out when I got down to 20 feet and knew I had to go down even further? What is it like to be that deep underwater? What if something happens to me when I am down there? A friend of mine told me that she got some water in her throat 20 feet down and started to freak out a little. This story made me even more nervous. Ugh... why do I get so nervous? Why can't I just be excited like any other normal person that signs up for scuba class? Funny side note... I always try to laugh off my worries and make a joke out of it, so anytime there was something wrong of different happening when I was scuba diving, I would ask my instructor, Jerad if it was normal and if I was going to die. It became kind of my joke and I said it at least once each time I went to class. It was a little over dramatic, but I think he thought it was funny. On my last dive, I said it one more time just for old times sake.

The drive up to Midway is really beautiful, especially this time of year. I really enjoyed going up there. For my first dive I got there a half hour early so you can sign a waiver and pay the fee, then we wait for Jerad to get there with all of the scuba equipment and then we set up our stuff.

I told Desiree and Jerad how nervous I was. Desiree's husband Chuck also came along for our first dive. It was fun to have him there, especially since he had dove there plenty of times before. Looking on the outside of the Crater... I still had no idea what it would be like on the inside.

We then went in with all of our equipment. As soon as you walk in, it is hot and muggy. Not so great when you are carrying in 30 + pounds of scuba equipment. The tank alone weighs 20 and then you add an extra 5 pounds to each vest pocket. Then you get into the water. The water 96 degrees and it's already hot outside because it is summer. Oh man... it's hot. It doesn't matter though, time for business, time to show that I can handle scuba diving for real.

There are ropes throughout the Crater that go from the top to the bottom to help you descend and ascend slower. The first thing they have you do is go down 20 feet to a platform that is lit up. I went down slowly and cautiously making sure I equalized plenty and made sure I was okay with it. Once at the platform, Jerad has us practice our skills. We take out our regulator and put it back in, we flood our mask and clear it, take it off and clear it, we pretend we are out of oxygen and we do an emergency ascent where we are supposed to swim up 20 feet on blowing out only one breath, we practice using our buddies regulator. (These skills are all on different dives, 4 dives on 2 different days) Once you practice your skills it is time to go down deeper.... down to 40-50 feet, where you must swim around until he says you need to come up... which is for about 20 minutes or so.

*This picture is taken at the platform 20 ft under water*

Looking at the pictures above, you can see that the Crater is not very big. It may be deep, but it is not very big. With that being said, 20 minutes is a long time to be down there... so I had a lot of time to think. All I could think about was how creepy it was down there (which is why I started calling it the creepy crater). It is deep and dark and warm. It just has this eerie feel to it, in fact while I was down there I thought it would be very appropriate for them to be playing Sweeney Todd while we swam around down there. While swimming around down there, you will see things like diamond shapes to swim through and a big wooden wheel, a sign at 50 feet that tells you not to swim any deeper because they want you to stay off the bottom and stuff like that. As you look closer though... you will also find creepy things too. For example, attached to the big wooden wheel you will find a rubber duck and a big rubber chicken with a bag of rocks in it's mouth. Down by the sign  that tells you not to swim down any deeper, attached to the rope is a barbie doll mermaid that has black all over it's face and her eyes are rubbed off. You can't look at that and tell me it is not creepy!!! I had mentioned to Jerad that I was creeped out by the doll, so he made a point of pointing it's face at me whenever we were down there. ewww... On my 4th dive, even though the sign tells you to stay off the bottom, Jerad took me down to the very bottom to touch it and see how hot it was. Swimming down to the very bottom also means that I was swimming 65 feet below the surface! I also did an excellent job hovering over the bottom without touching the bottom which is what you are always supposed to do. It was pretty cool.

Something that I have noticed is that when I dive, I tend to get a little bit of water in my system somehow, so every time I get done diving... I have a sneeze attack. My body trying to clear the system I guess. When I sneeze, it doesn't just happen once, it's at least 3 sneezes... but more like 5 or more. No problem, it always happens once I am out of the water. On my 3rd dive, I was on my way back down from practicing my emergency ascent. 20 feet down, almost back to the platform with the rest of my class, I feel a sneeze coming. Uh Oh... I had never thought about this happening while I was in the water. Will the sneeze push the regulator out of my mouth? No... just stay calm I had to tell myself. I'm almost certified, I can't freak out now. I had heard that you can sneeze, cough or throw up in your regulator and be just fine... so I felt it coming, held on to my regulator so it wouldn't move and I let all 5 or so sneezes out. It was a really weird feeling, but very cool knowing that it works. It looks funny though... a couple of the guys in my class saw it happen and they had no idea if there was something wrong with me or not. All they saw was me jerking around in the water holding my regulator and big spurts of bubbles coming out. They were going to get me but then I stopped. After we were done with that dive I had announced to the class what had happened with a big smile on my face. I had a smile because if I could handle that... then I am a legit scuba diver. I can stay calm underwater. Hooray!

After 4 dives in two days, I was officially certified. I was really proud of myself. I had come a long way from being the nervous one in class (to the point where Jerad wouldn't announce what we were going to be doing the next class because he knew I would worry about it too much) to being confident with sneeze attacks and diving 65 feet. It is a good feeling. Desiree actually wasn't able to do the second dive with us, so she had to go with another one of Jerad's classes. Because Desiree is my Scuba BFF, I decided to go again even though I was already certified so that she didn't have to be a lone. That is what Scuba BFF's are for right? If the roles were reversed, I would want her to do the same for me. I'm glad I went, it was fun (even though it was crowded) and this time I didn't have to worry about doing any of the skills... I just got to relax and swim around. It is such a cool feeling to stay underwater and be weightless. Some of the guys in my class would breakdance under water, others were doing flips while Desiree and I found some golf balls and tried to play catch . ha ha. Good times. After that Desiree was finally certified and we both got our certificates! Mine it now hanging on the fridge. :)

To celebrate, Desiree and I went to this Mexican place in Midway for dinner and ordered Shark Tacos and split Tres Leches. The Shark Tacos were SO good.

I know this has been SUPER long, but to end I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my class. Not just the class itself but the people. I really think that Desiree and I signed up at the perfect time to end up in the class that we did. After being at the Crater with people from other classes, it just made us appreciate our class that much more. Everyone in our class was friendly and laid back and patient and everyone had fun together and got along so well and ready to help each other out. Jerad, our instructor was really great too. He didn't make us practice any of the snorkel stuff, he was very patient with me and very encouraging (which I totally need a lot of with how nervous I was) and super friendly and easy to talk to and fun to dive with. Although I am glad the class is done, I enjoyed it and I will miss it a little. I would love to dive with this group again... although that will probably never happen. I will always remember what a great experience this class was for me. Now it's time to dive in the ocean...


Desiree' said...

Yay for scuba diving and for finally certifying! I'm so glad we did it and did it together. You're the best scuba BFF. :) What a blast. We'll totally have to plan an trip one of these days!

Lynette Mills said...

I'm really impressed Tracy

jamie hixon said...

I laughed out loud for the "creepy crater" nickname and Sweeney Todd references. And the underwater sneeze attack. That does NOT look fun to me, but now I know you can be my stunt double if I'm ever in a position where someone is trying to force me to go under water.

Lori said...

Glad you made it through Tracy- what a cool experience.

Kayleigh said...

Way to go! You are brave! I can handle deep water, but deep water in the dark is a while different story. I'd psych myself out!