As I shared on the blog my experience of my first ever scuba diving a couple of months ago, this summer I went ahead and enrolled myself in the open water course that allows you to dive up to 18 meters underwater. We completed the first three lessons at the swimming pool where we were taught basic things such as the way scuba diving equipment works and other underwater skills.
The lessons at the pool went pretty well for me. I experienced problems maintaining buoyancy and clearing mask when it’s flooded with water. Later on, the clearing of mask part became pretty much doable but I was still quite nervous about the buoyancy situation.
The second part of the course was open water lessons, which I successfully completed this weekend. Our chosen open water site was a lake in Poland, halfway between Lodz and Poznan, called Jezioro Budzislawskie. Since it’s mid-September, we were prepared for the cold water diving and the incredibly bulky wetsuits that we needed for such water.
The ride through the Polish countryside was very pleasant and it was actually sunny when we arrived at the site. The water looked calm and blue but there was already a group of divers in the water. We unpacked and soon after started changing into the wetsuits.
It took me about an hour to put on the wetsuit as it was incredibly thick and skintight. There was an extra layer as well – that’s just how cold the water was expected to be. By the time we go into the water, it was cloudy and the first touch of water was a shock to our bodies. But soon after, the temperature became a non-issue as we started focusing more on practicing the skills.
The visibility was very poor, so poor to the point that we could only see 1 meter field from us. We were shown the same skills like in the swimming pool, such as recovering the regulator in case you lose it, getting rid of the weight belt and ascending to the surface, maintaining buoyancy, rescuing your dive buddy if s/he runs our of air etc.
Our dive instructor told us that the lake was unusually unclear when we were there. Due to this, we barely managed to see anything except one fish and some green plants underwater. On the second morning, weather cleared for the better and the visibility improved slightly. We mostly swam from one underwater platform to another. I lost track of the group a few times because of the visibility but I found them again in a matter of seconds. I also managed to step on the plants at one point because of having little control over buoyancy but I was careful not to repeat that again. At one point, we were led by the instructor to a colder and darker part of the lake and the water temperature difference was huge. It was a surreal experience. Floating around in cold and dark water when you can see almost nothing.
After we completed the last dive session and headed towards the beach, I was overjoyed that we finished the course successfully. I was more than glad to change into normal clothes and get rid of all the bulky dive gear that I had to carry around for quite a while. At the end, we were smacked by one of the fins on our bottoms by other divers as a silly welcome tradition. I am now officially part of the diving club and look forward to many underwater adventures to come! 🙂