I showed up to the pool closest to the PADI dive shop at 8am with the two other participants. The dive master was already in the water in full scuba gear. On the side of the pool, she had prepared three sets of mask, fins, weight belt, buoyancy compensator vest, and tank with two mouthpieces. The other two participants were related and brought family members with them. We had an audience.
One by one, the dive master asked us to put the mask and fins on and enter the water. Using the equipment she had on, she explained the purpose of the buoyancy compensator device was to control our depth in the water. A handle with two buttons on it was connected to the vest. One button inflated the vest making us rise in the water, while the other deflated it allowing us to dive lower in the water. Then the dive master showed us the primary mouthpiece for us to get our air. The secondary mouthpiece is a backup in case something happens to our dive buddy’s tank. The dive master placed some weights in pockets in the buoyancy compensator vest and taught us to rest on the surface by leaning back and getting the vest under us. After learning hand signals for up, down, and ok, we were free to swim around the pool with no need to come up for air.
With a few laps around the pool under our belts, the dive master taught us two ways to clear water out of our mouthpiece. The first way she taught us was to press the front of the mouthpiece. This ejected air from the sides. The other way required us to breathe out forcefully to clear the mouthpiece. Each one of us practiced while we continued to swim around the pool. After about an hour, the dive master signaled us back to the surface and helped us out of the buoyancy compensator vests.
I really enjoyed the Try Dive. Scuba is something I’ve been interested in for a while, but the investment in lessons and certification is pretty steep. The Try Dive was a great way to get just a taste of scuba diving in a really safe environment. Hardest part for me was holding the mouthpiece loosely. It feels like something you can bite down on, but there’s no need. The dive master also corrected my swimming. I’m used to swimming on the surface of the water and using my arms and legs. She told me that underwater with fins on, I can just use my legs. My arms aren’t doing much and it’s just going to make me tired. Even if I don’t pursue scuba diving, that advice is helpful for the snorkeling I’m sure to do.
For a live blog of my Mariner of the Seas sailing, check out this thread on the Royal Caribbean Blog message boards. You can read about the Sunset Harbour Cruise I took in Nassau on that same sailing here.
The Try Dive is listed as an Onboard Tour. This activity requires a waiver signed at the dive shop. Rather than a ticket in your cabin, you'll get a receipt and a note asking you to visit the dive shop on your first day. The Try Dive lasts one hour and costs $34 if purchased on board.