Anyway, I ended up deciding to go ahead and do the open water course, figuring that, indeed, it is always good to try new things, and what the heck, I might really like it. (cough)
The course was three days, with two "real" dives each of the second and third days. The confined water portion was kinda weird because we were just in the shallow water in the bay, but visibility SUCKED, so as we were practicing skills, the instructor couldn`t see all of us at once, and had to move around a lot and do each of them with each person individually. I think that made him more cranky than he already was.
I was VERY concerned about being able to clear my ears, because I almost never fail to have trouble with that when I`m on airplanes, so the first two real dives, I went down on a line, hand by hand, clearing my ears every foot or so. I had no problems whatsoever, to my great surprise, so the second day, I decided to try decending without a line, and that worked fine, too, so... so much for preconceived worries! :)
The first dive, I almost didn´t even notice that I was 12 meters under water and surrounded by beautiful reef and fish life, because I was so busy trying to keep track of everything -- get my buoyancy right, don`t drift off in the wrong direction, don`t whack a coral with my fin, remember to breathe, clear my ears, etc -- every few minutes, I would kinda wake up and think, "whoa, look where I am!" just before having to clear my mask again or something. The second time, we adjusted my weight belt some, and I noticed a little more.
Chris, the instructor, described scuba diving as like driving a car, in that there´s a lot to keep track of, but after a while, a lot of it becomes second nature, and you don´t have to think about it as much. It was really interesting to see how that played out even in the course of a few dives.
The last day, we had our final exams and such, and then did two more dives. By the fourth dive, I felt pretty comfortable in the water, and confident in my abilities as a new diver, which, I suppose, is the whole point of the open water course, eh?
Of course, by this time, I was beginning to get a sense that, hey, I really LIKE scuba diving! This is cool, and fun, and WOW! It helped, too, that I was, apparently, pretty good at it. One of the divemasters accompanying us the last day commented on my "perfect buoyancy", which made me preen. :)
So, I ended up doing 8 fun dives in the next few days -- tried to do two on Tuesday, also, but after 5 beautiful minutes underwater, the boat captain called off the dive due to bad weather on the surface. So, Wednesday - Saturday, I did two dives each day, including one to 30 meters, which was probably among my favorite dives because it was really different from all the rest. Several of the dives included swim-throughs and tunnels, which worried me at first, and the first few, I felt REALLY clumsy, bonking things left and right in the narrow passages, but by the last one, I mostly had the hang of it.
-insert preenage here- Lots of people I dived with, from divemasters to the videographer to instructors commented on my comfort/good technique, which probably contributed to my good feelings about the whole experience, because it`s nice to be good at something. The last day, my instructor joined us on the fun dives, and followed me through a swim-through, and later, on the boat, told me I`d done it "like a pro". Given how grumpy he`d been during class, that was particularly nice to hear. -okay, I think I`m done-
I thought about doing the Advanced Open Water class in my last couple of days, but we decided that would be too rushed, and I should just use it as an excuse to go back to Roatan sometime soon. So, scuba vacation, here I come! Sometime soon, I hope :)
And in the meantime, I guess I need to get a really thick wetsuit for diving in the northeast...