Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dry Suit Diving - Getting Certified in Vancouver, BC

This weekend SP and I are getting our Open Water Scuba certification.

This was a last minute idea I cooked up a few weeks ago. I'm starting to regret it a bit, basically it's 5 nights of classroom/pool work followed by a weekend of diving. So far, we've completed the class work and one of the weekend days. The second day is today.

Other than being very time consuming, the worst part about getting certified in Vancouver has been the actual diving.

Let's start by explaining that it's October. Though the weather has held nicely this fall, the Ocean is maybe 8' C. This means that if you're a skinny girl like me, you probably want to do the "dry suit upgrade" as an attempt to stave off the cold.

Having worn the suit twice now (once in a pool, once in the ocean) I can tell you that the experience feels pseudo suicidal. Envision yourself voluntarily being sealed into body bag, weighted down, attached to all manner of hoses, and told to swim. I can swim in a wetsuit no problem. I am a triathlete after all. But calling Dry Suits uncomfortable is a serious understatement. The weights are born on your hips. And the body bag chaffs (the power of compression) so a little skin loss is normal too. I have injuries to show you have poorly designed this set up is.

But I've missed the best part.

You might have heard somewhere along the way that the diving in BC's waters is a hidden gem in the diving world. Famously Jacques Cousteau's proclaimed it the best temperate diving in the world. I can personally tell you, that getting certified here is awful. Whatever it was that he and others have found so beautiful, I have yet to experience. Go to the tropics. If you get so addicted to this sport that you think you want to try diving in BC, try it then (like I, you might find yourself wishing for warm waters quickly).

Let's start with the cold. 8'C is inhuman. All you have on your hands are neoprene gloves. I had lost circulation in 4 fingers by the end of 20 minutes.

The whole point of diving, afiak, is to go look at pretty stuff. When you get certified, it's a course, you spend most of the time sitting there waiting while the instructor goes around and helps out all the other people who haven't a hope in hell of actually being able to do the skill in question. So you'd think you'd at least be able to look at the plant life or whatever that's around you, but no. When you and your class are sitting at the bottom of the ocean, you stir up sediment. So you can't see more than a foot in front of you. It's so bad they give you a rope to hang onto. A lifeline of sorts.

So there you are, in your body bag, at the bottom of the ocean, freezing, holding onto your stupid rope, waiting and wondering why in god's name would you have ever have paid money to do this?

Don't, just don't.

1 comment:

  1. lol - I just found your blog now. That's so true about diving in BC! Just think how nice it will be in Australia :)