On September 23rd, the sophomore class went on our first open water dive at Dutch Springs Pennsylvania. Before this, we had only done 2 dives, both which were at Bushwick pool. This was a great experience for me and my fellow students as we learned how to prepare for an open water dive and what it was like to actually dive in open water.
In the week leading up to our Dutch Springs dive, we had a lot of work to do. We learned what we needed to bring and for most of the week, we tried on gear to find our fit for everything from wetsuits to fins and packed the van. We were ready for Dutch Springs.
The next day when we got to Dutch Springs, everyone was excited. We unloaded the van and all set up our kits. I couldn’t wait to get into the water. I was put into the second group so I watched as my classmates entered the water. I was happy for them, but I also wanted to be with them. I walked back up the hill and started to get my wetsuit on.
As my classmates started to exit the water, me and my buddy got our kits on and walked down to the water. As we stepped into the water, it seeped into my boots and the water was cold. We stepped out onto the first platform and it was amazing. We put on our masks and snorkels and swam out to the underwater platform that we would be diving at.
We started with our descent and it was relatively easy for me which was surprising as I had struggled in the two previous confined water dives with equalizing. However, once we got to a certain point my buddy struggled with her equalization and we had to resurface from around 15 feet. We waited for Lenny to resurface and he told my buddy to wait at the surface and he descended with me.
We descended and I was able to reach the platform after a few times having to rise a tiny bit to help with my equalization. I was on the platform and I was completely fine. I just looked around and was amazed at how I was doing and just being underwater in an open area. Lenny went to help my buddy and when he descended again and met us at the platform. He buddied me up with a junior diver who was with us and we started to do our tests.
We cleared our masks and retrieved our regulators while blowing bubbles. The basics of scuba diving. But it just felt amazing to be doing this surrounded by other divers. However, when I started to ascend my ears started to hurt. I thought nothing of it but it started to hurt even more and now I knew that I needed to stop. I signalled to Lenny and he told me to descend slightly and try again. I did and was able to ascend.
This dive was an amazing experience for me and I hope for all of my classmates as well. It was our first open water dive and there were so many experiences that came with it from trying on gear to packing our first open water van. I very much enjoyed this dive and can’t wait for many more experiences in this program.