What would possess a SCUBA diver to take a perfectly good mask off underwater?
Why do we ask students to do it?
It all started a long time ago in an ocean far, far away (at least from Colorado)…
It was my first dive trip and I had the good fortune to be on a live-aboard in Cairns, Australia. Like every certified SCUBA diver, I had to remove and replace my mask both in the pool, and later, in open water but hadn’t really thought about it since.
It was my first dive from a small boat which had ferried us from the live-aboard to the dive site. I was buddied up with a photographer from Wisconsin named Dave, geared out and ready to go (yes – dive knife attached)!
This was great! There I was in the middle of the ocean getting ready to back-roll off a Zodiac (or Zodiac-like boat) just like Jacque Cousteau!
Yeah… that ‘whump’ was my head hitting the bottom of the boat after getting disoriented by the back roll. What a way to start the dive. Properly humbled I let the boat crew and my dive buddy know I was ok and we made our descent.
The dive went just fine for a while. I was at 60 feet when I heard the snap of my mask strap breaking and felt it leave my face.
In 2005, a more experienced SKuba Steve was diving in Bonaire with another photographer (Doug who’s responsible for many of the photos on this site!).
Over a sandy prairie of garden eels at about 93′ my velcro slap strap finally expired and again my mask drifted off my head.
In both cases I was able to recover my mask and safely ascend (Australia) or continue the dive (Bonaire). Why? Simple… I knew what to do!
In Australia I was new and the experience was uncomfortable. By the time I lost my mask in Bonaire I didn’t even really care.
The ability to remove and replace your mask underwater is an important skill that I have appreciated having as a diver.
I hope every dive experience you have is trouble free and full of wonder… but just in case a situation comes up where you need them be grateful you were taught the skills to correct situations underwater safely and confidently.
The surface interval’s over… get out there and dive!
© 2014 Stephen Krausse. All rights reserved.
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