There are five items each budding diver should plan on getting for their own: booties, mask, fins, gloves, and snorkel. Check! After finishing up book work and a written test for the Open Water Dive PADI certification class I’m currently taking in Puerto Peñasco with Rocky Point Divers, I guess purchasing these items from the dive shop made it official. I would be heading into the water. Our first foray into the waves with mask, snorkel, booties, and fins came after my two classmates and I treaded water for the required 10…(did it only feel like 20?) minutes, and swam an additional 300 meters. Then we moved on to pool work, and soon we’ll be out at sea!
Rocky Point Divers, begun in 2015 brings together the talent and skill of PADI Instructor Jim Pavletich and SNSI Dive Master José Flores, offering dive classes, scuba gear sales, rentals, and more after having teamed up to share a space with Del Mar Charters. Jim’s passion for everything scuba exudes from his very being as he tells us, “scuba is not an aerobic exercise, it’s a lazy man’s sport.” Don’t be fooled, the aerobics of course comes from wrestling into the wet suit on dry land, lucha libre style and hopefully facing the right direction, along with picking up an aluminum tank filled to 3000 psi that you later strap into the BCD (that’s a buoyancy control device, by the way (the vest)) and get on your back without breaking a sweat. Oh, did I mention the weights that will eventually go into your BCD weight pockets to help keep you neutral in the water?
BCD, SMB, octopus, DCS, mask shield. Yes, as any discipline, scuba requires a new vocabulary which, as a translator, I am working to conquer – along with hand signals. This past week, my two scuba companions and I ventured into the dive wilderness by wrangling into our wet suits, strapping on our gear, and heading into Jim’s confined and cozy pool, 2 hours a day, 5 days straight. By the end of the week we could do a side entry, insert our weights while in the water, share our octopus if a buddy made a signal they were out of air, take off and put our BCD back on while underwater, clear our masks (very important), and blow up our BCDs orally in the event our cylinders were to run out of air (also very important), among other essential dive tasks. We had gone through all the PADI steps we could in our confined water environment in readying ourselves for the shallows seaside…and then eventually the boat.
Among the tasks I began to feel comfortable with during this first week of pool work was that of clearing my mask, and blowing up the BCD on the surface. I wasn’t so great at actually not breathing out my nose, hence the “homework” I was assigned to watch TV with my mask on, and then there were the “fin pivots”, a technique meant to help master neutral buoyancy using one’s lungs and BCD. Apparently, the underwater hand signal for fin pivots (or at least Jim’s hand signal) is one hand over the other in front of the instructor and then what would appear to be a PacMan motion (or, umm, in the sea waters it could appear to be mimicking something with…oh say, jaws….). The thing about fin pivots is first to lay on the bottom of the pool and then, between measuring bits of air in your BCD together with your actual breathing, be able to rise and fall in the water just by inhaling or exhaling. By the end of the week, I will admit, I managed to get to the bottom of the pool through weight management (remember those weight pockets), letting air out of the BCD, and remembering not to breathe out my nose.
By Friday of our pool week, my scuba buddies and I knelt on the bottom of the pool, breathing through our regulators, eagerly awaiting task commands from Instructor Jim. He pointed at Theo and mimicked throwing the regulator out of his mouth, Theo threw it out of his mouth and then retrieved it. OK! He pointed to Cynthia and then made a signal across his neck (as if, quite frankly, he were part of a slasher movie) – buddy’s got no air, she pulled out her octopus and successfully shared air. OK! He pointed at me, demonstrating I should take my entire mask off and then put it back on underwater, all the time while breathing through the regulator. Task conquered, ah yes and mask cleared. OK! He pointed one finger up, we looked up. He pointed his thumb up, we went up to the surface. Back underwater, in a near final step of our “pool graduation” process, he instructed us calmly by making the PacMan movement…my buddies obediently worked their way down and lay on the pool floor where they could calmly breathe while doing fin pivots…meanwhile, I looked around for jaws. (To be continued…)
Rocky Point Divers is located at Calle 4ta y Recinto Portuario in the offices of Del Mar Charters. As official Oceanic, Hollis, Ocean Pro, Lavacore, XS Scuba and more, they offer equipment, replacement parts, and servicing of equipment for everything that has to do with the water world! Scuba and snorkel rental equipment is also available.
Contact information: US 520-407-6054, Mexico 638-383-2802 Calle 4ta y Recinto portuario just before you enter the old port next to the marina.