We came, we saw, we DOVE!

The SEA TURTLE team got up bright and early again Sunday to go to the pool. For some reason everyone was awake and didn't seem even a little bit sleepy. I think it was because everyone was excited to PUT ON SCUBA GEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME AND SWIM UNDERWATER!

After we suited up and gathered our gear, we learned how to set up our tanks, regulators, and BCDs (buoyancy compensation devices).

SEA TURTLEs setting up gear.

We entered the shallow pool first so the students could swim around and get used to their new gear.

Kylie is ready to start!

We started our skills after everyone was feeling comfortable underwater. Students have to pass specific set of skills before moving onto more challenging ones. Basically, the instructor (me) would talk about a skill and demonstrate how to do it. Then the students would give it a shot (and get any needed help from our three amazing Divemasters - Barbara, Bill, and Samantha).

We started with the basics like breathing with a regulator and clearing a partially flooded mask. Eventually we built up to taking off our masks underwater for a full minute before putting them back on properly.

Here I demonstrate mask removal and replacement (not upside down!) before asking the students to try. (Yes, they all passed!)

We also learned how to inflate and deflate a BCD, how to ascend and descend safely, how to remove a weight belt, how to recover a regulator, how to breathe from a buddy's alternate air source, and a lot more.

Students properly ascending from the bottom.

I'm very happy to report that the students exceeded our expectations (which were very high for this group anyway) and everyone passed with flying colors. We even had some extra time to practice a little synchronized swimming...

- Sarah

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