**UPDATE: Unfortunately, KCD has gone out of business after a long, successful run in Brooklyn. While there are many other places to learn how to dive in NYC, it’s very sad to see Mia and her business close. I wish her all the luck & much success in the next chapter of her scuba diving career and everyone who was involved with KCD. Mia was kind enough to give me some really good deals with extra gear, so now I own my own wetsuit! Thank you for everything & the great experiences, Mia!**
Honestly, today was make it or break it for me. Last week, I could not or did not know how to equalize my ears. Today, I spent much of my time practicing and slowly sinking down into… the pool bottom. *cue dramatic music*
I was worried my ears would not allow me to go deeper than five feet. But I can go on flights can’t I?? It took maybe more than ten minutes, but I made it! I call that love. And determination. Probably a mixture of both. If you have absolutely no idea why equalizing my ears to be able to scuba equates to love, maybe you need to read My Little Scuba Adventure Day 1.
My instructor’s patience with me today was a relief, though I definitely wasn’t surprised. My descent into only 12 feet of water was painfully slow and it just reminded me of why I’m happy I chose to take my lessons through KCD. It’s a delicate learning process for new divers and I’m realizing more and more how important one on one care is for each and every detail. Knowing the material is one thing. Executing it is a whole different ball field.
I’ve been working with limitations most of my teen and young adult life. I’m not saying that they are earth-shattering limitations or debilitating. They are simply limitations, and I believe most people have to face limitations such as these throughout their life.
I believe my ears are a limitation when it comes to scuba diving, without a doubt. One ear is more ‘stuffy’ than the other. When I describe my ear equalizing experience with the instructors, I am told it is similar to diving after getting over a cold. Only with me, there’s no cold involved and it may always be like this.
Here are 5 points to remember when you’re learning something new with limitations (especially when involving certain risks):
- Before anything, make sure you are medically qualified.
-A good scuba shop, like Kings County Divers, will need you to see an EMT before going forward with lessons if you have any medical conditions of concern.
- Trust the system.
-The system in place is there for a reason and has been tested by thousands before you. KCD uses and refers back to Scuba Schools International (SSI) throughout their teachings.
- Trust your instructor.
-Make sure there is a trust bond and sense of security between you and your instructor. This is essential.
- Don’t go beyond your limits.
-If you are uncomfortable or in pain at any time, stop and indicate as such. Your well being is your instructor’s utmost concern. Therefore, you should…
- Go slow!
-The only way I was able to equalize my ears to dive to the 12 foot bottom was by going extremely slow. However, not once did my ears hurt or actually bother me. My dad cannot scuba dive because of his ears. There is a possibility that he was never told to go slow enough to be able to adjust his ears properly as he descended (because I’m pretty sure what I have, came from him, which came from his own father).
For scuba diving in particular, I would recommend always having a patient, understanding dive buddy. Unless you’re specifically trained for solo diving, and have substantial experience as well as extra equipment to make up for having no partner, always having a dive buddy is an essential scuba requirement, along with ‘always breathe.’
I know that when I finish with KCD and earn my certification, I have a perfect dive buddy.
Stay tuned for my next scuba adventure!
Briauna Mariah (: