Helping Hands

"Schnrrrff," is the sound made by a person who has water up his nose. I bring you this fact, and it is a fact, as a result of personal observation, research, and multiple personal experiences. Also, forget the value of the learning experience: anyone making this sound is not enjoying himself. If you have forgotten the sensation, trust me on this: the joy has gone out of this person’s life, at least momentarily.

I never set out to investigate this feeling of water up one’s nose as compared with, say, gagging on that same water as it somehow finds its way into the throat and mouth (and trachea, and lungs, and goozle, whatever that is) to expand and solidify. However, I was allowed to experience all this and more after I signed up for my basic open water diving class, like an unsuspecting lamb led to the … well ….

So, you disagree, huh? Sounds what? or you just don’t believe it? If you are having any problem at all in accepting the comments above, then you are not a newly certified diver. Or else you look back on all this and laugh, so your mind has obviously repressed the memory through various functions of your protective mechanism. This reality is like remembering childhood ?????" it’s difficult to deal with anyone undergoing the experience unless one can relate to the specific experience.

In plain American, many of us ("experienced" divers) have forgot where we come from. Most new divers are frightened, primarily of the unknown, and some are more frightened than others are. Does anyone remember the first time to drop into the ocean, down through thirty feet of sea snot with no idea that visibility would ever exceed two feet? Remember the relief of passing through the thermocline and seeing the rest of your dive group, and the sheer joy of seeing the instructor (read safety) patiently waiting to begin the testing procedures.

Then, the "Schnrnff" when the mask was removed, replaced, and partially cleared. I mean, how soon did your mask clearing expertise come along. As I remember it, earning a C-card was about the only good part of the checkout dives.

Then, I made my first REAL dives and looked to my fellow divers for some help in calming the jitters ?????" never mind that I was covering them up so that I looked really calm. You know, I really shouldn’t have managed to look so cool and collected because the other divers on the boat never knew to tell me to think good thoughts and breathe slowly. As a new diver, I didn’t understand that some of them had never dived that site before and were not a bit more calm than I was. With my being nervous and a novice, I managed to breach a few minor points of shipboard diver etiquette, and was promptly ostracized without even a cursory explanation of my transgressions.

I’ve made a quick point: at some time there will be something to scare any of us, and it’s nice to have an experienced hand to give a bit of reassurance. If you’ll notice, most of us old-timers sit and watch with indifference, and get more caught up in snubbing new divers who break our unspoken rules than in just being their friend and helping them to have an enjoyable diving experience. As I said, we have forgot where we come from.