Dive, dive, dive

Darrell Cole
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Dive, dive, dive

AMHERST- You want me to do what?

When Mike Roberts of Divetech called me last week about doing a story about the diving course he is offering at the YMCA, I had no idea it would entail me getting wet or going underwater.

Roberts wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to dive and thought it would be a wonderful experience for a reporter who likes to keep his head above the water.

"You'll enjoy it," I remembered him saying. "It's really quite an experience."

"Sure, whatever you say," I responded, not seriously expecting to be talked into this. I've done some interesting things during my 20-year journalism career, but I sort of wondered if I was becoming a little nuts when I agreed.

Thursday came and I donned my swimming trunks and T-shirt and walked hesitantly to the pool deck at the Cumberland YMCA not really knowing what to expect.

I've always been a pretty good swimmer, but the thought of weighing myself down so that I would sink to the bottom of the pool was a little, well overwhelming, even if I was wearing a tank of compressed air.

"What happens if I can't get up or if something goes wrong?" I asked.

"Not to worry, I'll pull you up if you run into trouble," he replied.

The safety instructions were rather basic and the advice well taken, especially when he reminded me that it's important to breathe.

Trust me, being able to breathe seemed to be very important.

From there, he told the three of us, including YMCA aquatics director Clarice Valotaire and health, fitness and recreation director Jessica Allen, how to put on the mask and we took turns putting on the tanks and going for a jaunt back and forth across the pool.

After putting on the air tank and weight belt, and the swim fins, it was time for action. Besides learning that I'm probably a little more buoyant than I should be (man, I've got to lay off those double-doubles) it was really a surreal experience to go under the surface without having to hold your breath.

I still thought I was losing my mind when I first went under. Then it was 'holy cow' this actually works. It was so peaceful. There was just you and your breathing...and of course Mike giving me hand signals to make sure everything was hunky-dory.

Later, after I was relieved of the tank, belt and fins, Mike explained what the course is all about.

"The course is about giving people a chance to learn about scuba diving in a nice, safe and controlled environment at the YMCA pool," he said. "You don't have to be a strong swimmer, everything is very controlled and it's at a very relaxed pace."

Roberts, who has been a commercial diver for 25 years, said diving is an amazing experience for both professionals and those doing it for the first time.

"It's a hard experience to describe. It's peaceful and relaxing," he said. "It's a cool thing to try."

Mind you, the pool at the YMCA is not the Atlantic Ocean, but water is water and it's something I would definitely try again.

Sign-up sheets are going out early next week with a fee of $20 for members and $25 for non-members per two-hour, four-person session.

Sessions will run Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Thursday's from 1-3 p.m.

For further information, contact the YMCA at 667-9112.


Organizations: YMCA

Geographic location: Atlantic Ocean

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Recent comments

  • Gerard
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    I'm pretty sure I saw one or two at Frenchy's!

  • Mike
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Hi Knowital
    For your information, I provide my time and equipment for FREE!!! the Y does not have to pay any money towards the scuba course and actually make some fund raising money from the scuba courses, nice to see you live up to your name!!! maybe get your facts right before posting crap????

  • Oft
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey Jacques Colesteau!
    Where can I get me one of them shirts??

  • Pam
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey know it al ... just so you know Divetech volunteered to do this for free as a fundraiser for the Y. It's not costing the Y anything. Maybe you don't know it al after all....

  • blair
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey know it all, maybe you should think before you speak. The YMCA is good for thhe town. As you may not know.

    Maybe they should put some of the money towards the Amherst Ramblers, that's what this town cares about isnt it?

  • Pam
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    To know it al ... none of your tax dollars have been used for this opportunity for our community members so you need not worry. Divetech is volunteering their time and equipment to help raise money for the Y. Amherst is lucky to have so many businesses and community members support and become involved in our community, not just at the Y but in many different fundraising activities.

  • know it al
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    well good to see our 500,000 tax dollar donations to the Y put to good use as always - I think the town should reconsider the money waste , this waste of tax money is unacceptable