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gmb8585

Question for the Divers out there

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gmb8585

For the past 2 years i Have attempted to get my Open Water Dive certificate and have had to stop before completing it. Last year i did good on all the pool dives and even did the written exam and passed. When it came to the open water dives i think i panicked and had to stop. I was in Moalboal and in the morning we did a few pool dives and tests and then went out on the water. The second i got off the boat and into the water i felt a little umcomfortable but not too bad. We gradually descended and i was having a hard time staying horizontal in the water and i think i used a lot of energy and got tired, then my breathing became fast and shallow and i then became claustrifobic and a feeling of panic, like i had to get the hell to the surface whcih i did quickly after signalling the instructor. i'v thought about it lot and don't know if i was just too tired or are generally afraid. I know i get a little bit of dread going down the steep cliff wall and not being able to see the bottom. the dive lasted a total of about 20 minutes and we only descended about 9 meters. I do attribute part of the problem to my smoking and general lack of good cardio conditioning.  So does being tired make you panic or does panick make you tired. I wonder if i would do better if i tried in a different enviornment where the water may be fairly deep but you can the bottom. I like to swim, can snorkel ok. Just dont know if diving is in the cards for me. Any thoughts??

Edited by gmb8585

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Monsoon

Try having an instructor take you on a shore dive. I know someone who had a lot 'issues' like you are describing and then an instructor took her on a shore dive where they went gradually into very calm and clear water. Now she has over 500 dives in her logbook and a bunch of certifications. 

 

Another thing that could help you is have an instructor that you feel really comfortable with and have no doubts about their ability to look after your safety. One less thing for you to worry about. 

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hyaku

What shop are you diving from? Up at Blue Abyss they walk in for the open water unless it's changed. If you panic a bit you can't get down. Then when you are down the air will be gone in no time and negative buoyancy is difficult. Years ago I had that. If your not happy with the shop get a referral and pop up to Blue Abyss. Twice I got left in water, boat back at a 'reputable dive shop'.

 

Relax and enjoy.

Edited by hyaku
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spooks

For the past 2 years i Have attempted to get my Open Water Dive certificate and have had to stop before completing it. Last year i did good on all the pool dives and even did the written exam and passed. When it came to the open water dives i think i panicked and had to stop. I was in Moalboal and in the morning we did a few pool dives and tests and then went out on the water. The second i got off the boat and into the water i felt a little umcomfortable but not too bad. We gradually descended and i was having a hard time staying horizontal in the water and i think i used a lot of energy and got tired, then my breathing became fast and shallow and i then became claustrifobic and a feeling of panic, like i had to get the hell to the surface whcih i did quickly after signalling the instructor. i'v thought about it lot and don't know if i was just too tired or are generally afraid. I know i get a little bit of dread going down the steep cliff wall and not being able to see the bottom. the dive lasted a total of about 20 minutes and we only descended about 9 meters. I do attribute part of the problem to my smoking and general lack of good cardio conditioning.  So does being tired make you panic or does panick make you tired. I wonder if i would do better if i tried in a different enviornment where the water may be fairly deep but you can the bottom. I like to swim, can snorkel ok. Just dont know if diving is in the cards for me. Any thoughts??

Suggest you have a chat with the instructor about a controlled line descent as it will help you with positioning. I am not sure that you have the correct weights, was the pool salt or fresh?, if fresh then add another 3lbs on your belt and ensure that your weights are evenly distributed and do not slide along the belt.

 

Once you are comfortable with line descent and ascent you can stand off the line, keep it in direct line and use that as your guide,it helps prevents vertigo.

 

With open water you will not be allowed to enter water that has no depth, so a line descent is not going to be an issue. 

 

 

Tired? just give the signal and hold on the rope and rest until ready to proceed , resting like that will help place you in control and lessen feelings of panic, also gives you the opportunity to focus on rule number 1....breath normally, in itself an anti panic measure

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smidsy

Hmm, a few different points there. Im fairly new at diving, with about 10 dives done.

 

The best dives are the ones where you forget you have the equipment on, and just have fun ! It takes practice though, but is worth the wait !

 

My Wife did the same as you, was great in the pool, but freaked out in the proper sea water. But for me, I loved it !

 

Im into Motor cycle riding, and same as with diving, the main thing is never to panic ! While riding my bike, iv been in very dodgy situations, and held my head, so pulled out of it.

 

Do you also find that you panic doing other risky things ? If so, then maybe its not for you.

 

But, as stated above, it could just be that all you need is a good instructor, who you trust, and who inspires confidence in you.

 

Sometimes, in the first 5 minutes of a dive, I get that claustrophic feeling, and I dont like being on the surface at all, especially if I get sea water in my mouth. But after a few mins, its quiet & peaceful. Its worse if im hungover, and I always fear gagging on my mouth piece. Thats why I prefer the falling backwards from a boat, as you submerge to the nice part quickly.

 

Its important you dont panic and rush to the surface holding your breath, that can be very bad.

 

Im a heavy smoker, and very unfit, but usually last 45mins on a tank.

 

Oh, and getting the bouyancy right, is just about practice, expect to be all over the place on your first few dives, dont let that put you off, it gets easier. But your instructor should be helping and guiding you.

Edited by smidsy

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hyaku

Suggest you have a chat with the instructor about a controlled line descent as it will help you with positioning. I am not sure that you have the correct weights, was the pool salt or fresh?, if fresh then add another 3lbs on your belt and ensure that your weights are evenly distributed and do not slide along the belt.

 

Once you are comfortable with line descent and ascent you can stand off the line, keep it in direct line and use that as your guide,it helps prevents vertigo.

 

With open water you will not be allowed to enter water that has no depth, so a line descent is not going to be an issue. 

 

 

Tired? just give the signal and hold on the rope and rest until ready to proceed , resting like that will help place you in control and lessen feelings of panic, also gives you the opportunity to focus on rule number 1....breath normally, in itself an anti panic measure

But he is in Moalboal. You walk in....it gets deeper. Then you just glide off the shelf. It really is a good place for starters. I remember my open water stumbling over volcanic rock into meter waves full gear then finning out to a bouy. We had to pair up and walk sideways to get through the swell. Candidasa Bali is not a good place to learn.

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Chris24

Try having an instructor take you on a shore dive. I know someone who had a lot 'issues' like you are describing and then an instructor took her on a shore dive where they went gradually into very calm and clear water. Now she has over 500 dives in her logbook and a bunch of certifications. 

 

 

Doing a few shore dives is exactly what I was going to suggest.  Another trick is to not try to rush your descent, that's what can lead to panic.  Tell the instructor that you want to tool around at 2 meters or so just to get comfortable and that you are a "slow descender".  It helps to go with a small group too where there is no pressure for you as the "slowpoke".  Very experienced divers descent quickly so as to have as much bottom time as possible, which puts pressure on you to descend more quickly than you might be comfortable with.

 

I had to abort a dive the first time I dove in Subic, it was the first time I had done a dive in water so murky that I couldn't see the bottom, and it freaked me out.   It felt tight breathing and 2-3 meters down I pretty much panicked and surfaced to sit that one out on the dive boat.  It was a bummer because I missed a dive to the LST.   On the second dive to El Capitan, an instructor worked with me and I made it down comfortably (i.e. slowly the first 5 meters or so) and then all was good.

 

I think it also helps to have your own equipment that you are familiar and comfortable with, many divers start with their own mask, then a dive computer, then their own wetsuit, then their own regulator.  I do much better with a heavy mask and a low-resistance dual-stage regulator.  Eventually I plan to buy both so it's not an issue, but have learned to stay with well-equipped dive operators and to tell the instructors what you're comfortable with so they can help match you with equipment that will work comfortably for you. 

 

You might also try doing several dive days in a row with the same equipment and work your way up to the more adventurous boat dives.

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spooks

But he is in Moalboal. You walk in....it gets deeper. Then you just glide off the shelf. It really is a good place for starters. I remember my open water stumbling over volcanic rock into meter waves full gear then finning out to a bouy. We had to pair up and walk sideways to get through the swell. Candidasa Bali is not a good place to learn.

Shore dives can often be far harder than controlled boat entry dives because of the swell and shore obstructions. Exertion is higher leading to feeling of tiredness, it can be a battle to get in.

 

I have not dived Moabal so have no idea what local conditions are like or if all dive schools have shore entry only options in that location.

 

I have no idea what options are available there, so I will not comment any further.

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Monsoon

Yea I agree with all of that. I would go so far as to say just hire a one on one instructor. My wife didnt seem to have any fear breathing under water (just the opposite of how I was at first). But she wasnt doing her skills whole heartedly. I finished in a weekend but she didnt. I scheduled a weekend of diving with a private DM / instructor and she did very good. My dives were boring and I spent a lot of time just hanging around thembut it was woth it.

 

A small detail but you never know - avoid partying the night before your dives as well.

 

Another thing to try - make your descent down a rope. Sometimes people feel secure having that "link" to the surface.

 

Truth be told when I first tried diving it was an abortion. I had a hard time going to a point where I couldnt stand up. Got through all of the pool skills brilliantly but just had a big block when it came to going beyond a few meters. Ill.never forget the point when I saw my wife sitting on the bottom at about 10 meters in crystal clear water in Anilao and I looked at my instructor ( who was a good mate of ours) and said, "Maybe this isnt for me."

 

He said, "Yes it is, come on lets try again."

 

That was it, I got down and he just let me look around and showed me all kinds of stuff. This site was great - no current, and infested with colorful sea life everywhere.

 

Two hours later went on another dive into a huge school of jacks. Been hooked ever since.

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hookedtothenet

I would go out with a dive master or instructor on a one to one basis if I were you and then you have all their attention and you will feel more comfortable and you should relax more and be able to control your breathing easier.

 

Sounds like because of your breathing and maybe lack of required weight that you were having buoyancy problems and were unable to maintain a horizontal position, unless of course there was another reason, possibly a strong current and your lack of experience to maintain a horizontal position?

 

I agree with others that the clearer and calmer the water the more relaxed you are going to be and then your confidence will build up.

 

Stick at it, I am sure you will achieve your goal of passing your Open water cert!  Good Luck!

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Guy60417

Try having an instructor take you on a shore dive. I know someone who had a lot 'issues' like you are describing and then an instructor took her on a shore dive where they went gradually into very calm and clear water. Now she has over 500 dives in her logbook and a bunch of certifications. 

 

Another thing that could help you is have an instructor that you feel really comfortable with and have no doubts about their ability to look after your safety. One less thing for you to worry about. 

 

 

What shop are you diving from? Up at Blue Abyss they walk in for the open water unless it's changed. If you panic a bit you can't get down. Then when you are down the air will be gone in no time and negative buoyancy is difficult. Years ago I had that. If your not happy with the shop get a referral and pop up to Blue Abyss. Twice I got left in water, boat back at a 'reputable dive shop'.

 

Relax and enjoy.

 

Totally agree here. I recently got my OWD certification and I was a total mess at the beginning (now I'm all the way up to bein just barely competent).

 

I did my training at Blue Abyss. Klemens is very, very patient -- he had to be to put up with me.

 

I panicked once (got water in my facemask and forgot what to do about it -- no big deal, right? But it doesn't take much to panic a newbie). Don't let it get to you -- I just practiced that some more and then was OK. It's good to go in from the shore (I think) because you're seeing the bottom for quite a while.

 

Maybe scuba just isn't for you, but I think it's worth trying some more. Try Klemens at Blue Abyss, if he can get me through the course, he can probably get you through it too. 

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TorJay

if fresh then add another 3lbs on your belt

 

Actually, in salt water you are more buoyant and will require more weight.  In fresh water you require less.  The thickness of your wetsuit makes a difference too. 

 

As for wetsuits, NEVER use a shorty in that part of the world.  A full suit will help protect you from several of the nasty marine life that you may encounter while under the water.  A hood is a good idea too even though I despise them.

 

 

To the OP, once you get your OW Cert immediately sign up for the Peak Performance Buoyancy Diver Specialty.  This will help you out immensely.

Edited by TorJay
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TorJay

One way to calm you down is to get yourself narc'd at 100+ ft or about 30 meters.   :D


KIDDING!!!  Dont do this.  Nitrogen narcosis can give you a sense of well-being and a false sense of security that could end up killing you.  If you do feel giddy at depth, just ascend slowly until the buzz goes away and carry on with your dive.

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spooks

Actually, in salt water you are more buoyant and will require more weight.  In fresh water you require less.  The thickness of your wetsuit makes a difference too. 

 

As for wetsuits, NEVER use a shorty in that part of the world.  A full suit will help protect you from several of the nasty marine life that you may encounter while under the water.  A hood is a good idea too even though I despise them.

 

 

To the OP, once you get your OW Cert immediately sign up for the Peak Performance Buoyancy Diver Specialty.  This will help you out immensely.

"Actually, in salt water you are more buoyant and will require more weight.  In fresh water you require less"

 

Precisely so if you practice in a  fresh  water pool you will need an extra 3 pounds in salt water to compensate.

 

 Been a while since I taught but I am sure that the basics have not changed that much.

 

Not unusual that even for shore dives that a floating push out  Buoy is set up with a 5/6 meter drop line for open water purposes. We did that all the time for such dives the rope would be marked each meter to ensure depth correction etc.  

Edited by spooks
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jtmwatchbiz

 

I like to swim, can snorkel ok. Just dont know if diving is in the cards for me. Any thoughts??

 

 

i'm not a diver and i have actually never tried it and like you i have always been a good swimmer and enjoy snorkeling. i'm sure if you tried it long enough and got plenty of guidance you would eventually get the hang of it but that doesn't mean it's actually "in the cards for you". it may or may not be for me as well. nice to see you have some experienced guys here in the forum who offer advice and understand what it's like to be uneasy. in the end i may or may not become a diver as well, and if not i will be just fine with splashing around and snorkeling. :)

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