JANUARY 2011: My Surface Interval named one of the best scuba diving blogs

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Outdoor Show Try Dive Pool

Phew! Thank god for the stand selling roast beet rolls. Because that's what kept me fuelled over an extremely busy weekend treating people to their first taste of life underwater the Outdoor Show, at the NEC in Birmingham.

Aquasport International ran the try dive pool - and it was non-stop from the moment the doors opened at 10am on Friday until they closed at 5pm on Sunday.

And 450-odd people later we were finally able to catch our collective breath.

Schools, scouts, students, families, boys, girls, mums and dads. The heated pool was packed with just about every kind of person you could think of, desperate for a go at scuba.

This was not a full-on discover scuba session, but a quick taster. So once they were in the water, we explained how to use the equipment and showed them how to breath from a regulator.

Then we got them to dip their faces in the water so they could experience for the first time what it feels like to survive beneath the surface.

When they were comfortable with that, we dropped onto the bottom so they were completely submerged and then took them for a swim - well they swam while we walked or sat in the middle with them pottering around us.

Those who could grasp the principles of buoyancy had a good play with the BCD adding and dumping air (we are scuba divers not scuba crawlers, I explained). A few swallowed a bit of water - but it was their own fault as they grinned from ear to ear.

Those who were a bit wiser saved the smiling until they were back on the surface and that's when we knew whether we had done a good job or not.

I was particularly touched by one young lad who needed a little extra guidance.

He took to it like the proverbial duck as his proud parents watched from the side. After our session he proudly clutched his certificate and came running back to the pool side saying his parents had booked him on to a course.

"I want you to teach me again," he said.

It's at moments like that you realise how special our sport is, the opportunities it opens up and how people look to us with a little bit of envy as though we are adventurers. We can sometimes forget that after a ho-hum dive.

Special mention must go to Trevor. I thought I could stay in the pool a long time but he beat me hands down. Even as the temperature dropped from about 28c to 22c over the weekend he showed real Grrrrr while by the end I was a bit more brrrrrrr!

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