Recently, our newest team member and social media guru Elizabeth Henry dove beneath the waves for the first time! Congrats Elizabeth on your dive certification. Check out her personal account of the ups and downs of learning how to scuba dive….in the middle of the Arizona desert. 

 


 

After going on a recent shark tagging adventure in Miami, I decided that I was finally going to learn how to scuba dive. I have always wanted to learn. Only problem: I live in Arizona.

 

After scouring the internet, I proceeded to find Phoenix Scuba. Before I knew it, I left the store with shoes, goggles, snorkel, and fins. A few days later, I went to my first class and wondered, ‘What am I doing here?’ However, after the first three hours in the pool, I was like a little kid who couldn’t pay attention in class. I haven’t had this much fun in years.

 

Three

Scuba Pool Party!

After passing the final exam, I was all geared up and ready to get certified at Lake what? Pleasant? Yes, Pleasant. I was afraid, very afraid. Of the tires, cans, shopping carts, and murky water I envisioned from my youth. OK, it still sounds fun.

 

I asked what the weirdest things the instructors had seen and one said a giant, ancient catfish. Of course my mind went straight to River Monsters. Yes, I watched it once in a hotel room and it was about catfish known to attack people. ‘What did I get myself into?’ I thought.

 

To complete the certification, I was required to do three dives at Lake Pleasant. After feeling supercomfortable in the pool, I was convinced this was going to be great. Day one consisted of five above water drills including removing and putting the BCD back on, removing leg cramps, and switching from regulator to snorkel. Piece of cake!

 

Four

Donned out in full gear

Next, all of the divers were briefed on the five below water drills. They consisted of partially filling your goggles with water, removing the goggles, putting them back on and clearing them, and sharing oxygen. Seemed easy enough. However, when I went to go down 20 feet from the surface to perform those drills, I freaked. I was completely scared. After an encouraging “get your booty under the water,” from my friend, I slowly started to descend holding the line the entire way down.
I did the partial clear and then the mask removal. I breathed out my nose to clear it twice then accidentally inhaled water through my nose. That was it. I couldn’t see and I was coughing under water. This was no longer fun. Completely freaked, I used the line to pull myself up 20’ so I could cough normally and get my bearings. At this point I was so embarrassed. Then Steve, the owner came up and worked with me individually to make sure I understood what happened. He took me to shallower water and had me perform the drills to build up my confidence. Even so, I left discouraged thinking I would never be able to dive.

 

Class at Phoenix Scuba

Class at Phoenix Scuba

After practicing in my pool, I got it together for the last dive. I was still discouraged from the previous week, but forced myself to finish this. Fortunately, we only had a handful of tasks. We entered the water gradually this time. Before I knew it, I was at the bottom about 20′. It didn’t seem as scary. For a moment I did think to myself that there was no way I was going to be able to stay down. However, I quickly overcame it and before I knew it, I was done. I finished confident that I could do this in the ocean. What a great accomplishment. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done and was quite rewarding.

 

Special thanks to Steve, Kelly Cody and Matt of Phoenix Scuba for all of their support.