I participated in a try dive with the Oxford University Underwater Exploration Group (OUUEG) on Saturday 29th of October, where I, for the very first time, took my first breaths underwater! The afternoon began with a small group of us, most of us complete beginners, who gathered outside the kit hut at Iffley Sports Centre. We were met by our instructors for the day and after quick introductions we got right into learning what we would be doing and all the equipment we would be needing. We took some time finding the right fins and masks before learning how to use a BCD (Buoyancy Control Device – a kind of jacket that can be filled with air). We also got to grips with how to use regulators and how to check our air supply. We then moved all our equipment – including some heavy air cylinders – to the pool side and we were ready to get in. The instructors were always friendly and happy to answer all of the many questions I had.
Once in the pool, we put on all our equipment, did the final double checks to make sure it was all in working condition and fitted securely. We learned a few of the diving symbols, where we used our hands to communicate underwater whether we want to go down or back up to the surface, and if everything’s okay or if something doesn’t feel quite right. We then submerged and I was swimming and breathing under the surface of Iffley pool, and if I didn’t have the regulator piece in my mouth, I would have been smiling the entire time underwater! We practised descending and ascending and swimming lengths of the pool, using the signals to let each other, and the instructors, know how we were doing.
Once we were finished, we transported all the equipment back to the hut and had a final wrap up for the evening. I cycled back to college, excited to get into the world of diving; to learn more while meeting even more friendly divers along the way and to, hopefully, one day soon move from diving in Iffley Swimming Pool to quarries, lakes and seas in the UK and around the world.
Thank you OUUEG for giving so many of us our first taster of diving!