My underwater experience

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Team Moody has been reaching out to single Airmen across the base to try to open them up to new life experiences.

This program is called the Single Airmen Initiative and has hosted a few adventures already, and its latest excursion was the discover scuba course.

Discover scuba is a course that is designed to give you a chance to get the feel for being underwater and see if the world of scuba diving is right for you.

I participated in this course because I have always wanted to see the life that exists underwater and explore some of the most amazing places in the world.

Unfortunately, what kept me from doing this before this point was my fear of drowning in deep water. I know this is not the best fear to have when attempting to be underwater for a long period of time.

When the opportunity to participate passed my desk, I knew this was my chance to do something I have always dreamed of.

So I pushed those feelings away and took a leap of faith. I signed up, and a few days later I was sitting at the indoor pool with 13 others on an early Saturday morning.

As I waited, the "butterflies" in my stomach grew, that was until some of the instructor began talking about previous trips they had been on and some of the things they had seen.

Hearing their stories was amazing and inspiring especially how the main instructor has dived all over the world and worked with salvage crews to recover lost pieces of history.

After everyone had arrived, Dave Stone, the head instructor for the class, "broke the ice" by talking to us about the apprehension everyone is having and how it's normal before every dive, no matter how many times you have gone.

Talking with a few people in the class, I learned that most were a little nervous. However, as the class progressed, it looked like everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves.

We started with the classroom portion, which surprisingly only lasted an hour and a half. During this short class, Stone was able to cover things like the physics of diving, the proper safety, the use of the gear and a few other smaller pieces.

What was interesting is that all this information makes up the actual course, which is a total of 14 hours of instruction during the open water course. At the end of this portion we applied a little of what we learned by putting together the scuba gear that we would be using a little later on.
After the class portion, we split into two groups. The first headed to the pool while the other took an hour off to relax.

I was part of the second group to go in, but I decided I would tag along with the first to get a look at what they would be doing and take some photos of the Airmen and their experiences as they began to go underwater.

Stone walked them through the process of putting on the gear and how to wear it properly, and then he did some exercises in the shallow end to get them comfortable with the gear.

Watching them from the edge of the pool made me even more anxious. I wanted my turn to come quicker, and I actually felt anticipation. I wanted to get into the pool and try my hand at it.

After the first group finished, it was finally my turn to get into the pool. We began to work towards the deep end. Breathing through the mask was very different but after being down there, it got easier and easier.

Unfortunately, the class came to an end but the experience has opened my eyes to a whole new world under the water, and my next step will be to take the full class and eventually make it to the open waters.