WEBB School experiences the thrill of diving!
Recently, students & teachers of The WEBB School in Claremont California, experienced the thrill of diving for the 1st time in their campuses pool. The majority of the Discover SCUBA students and a few more decided to take the next step by enrolling in a open water certification program, sponsored by SCUBA.com of Irvine, California and included all of the diving equipment.
Lead by veteran Instructor Clarke Skinner, with Instructor Darrick Cusick and Divemaster Arthur Gates, the 3 man team led the 14 dive students and 2 refreshers through their academic and confined water training 1 night a week. The open water candidates breezed through their lectures, testing and their pool sessions.
One of the great pleasures of being a SCUBA diving instructor is seeing students draw their first breath, underwater. The apprehension as they slowly inhale, testing the regulator always brings a grin to my face and warms an Instructors heart. Their life has just changed as they start the “Adventure of a Lifetime”.
Four pool sessions prepared the students for their open water training dives. They were trained in all skills required. Their progression was rapid and they took to diving like the preverbal “fish to water”. WE had a 10 and 13 year old in the group. They were fearless as most kids are. They were tough little nuts… The adults had to keep up with them! We set them up with the kid’s size wetsuits, BCD’s, gloves, boots, fins, hoods and 50 cf aluminum tanks.
After their beach briefing and buddy check, the soon to be divers grabbed their mask and fins and under the watchful eye of the shore Divemaster, walked right into the balmy 61F degree water to their waiting instructors and dive floats. Conditions were calm as we entered the water on our training dive at Shaw’s Cove. We swam out to their assigned floats where weight checks were made and the dive began, as they submerged to the 21 foot sea floor along the reef.
Visibility was 20 feet and there was a little surge present. Practicing their buoyancy and breath control and buddy awareness was practiced on there first dive. Were we greeted by the Garibaldi’s, Senorita Fish,
kelp bass, Sea Hares, Neon Gobies as we explored the nooks and cranny’s of the popular dive site. All and all it was a good dive day by Southern California standards. Our second dive the tide was going out and the visibility dropped a bit near shore. The surge increased. Skills were tested after we all settled on the bottom. We then took off for another fun dive and again the exit was easy and we hauled our gear up the stairs, cleaned up and called it a day.
The following weekend, the dive conditions were a little tougher. The groups were shown the legendary “Monastery Crawl”, of Monastery Beach, If the conditions change to where the divers cannot walk out through the surf, they leave all the
gear in place, BCD’s inflated, 2nd stage in place and they body surf into shore. When they’d reach the point where they were no longer being pulled back out by the sea, they “crawl” up the beach until each partner can help the other off with their fins and stand up.
With everything finished for the day, the newly Certified Divers worked their way up the stairs and were debriefed. We then grabbed some lunch at one of the favorite lunch spots in the area called “Gallos’ Deli”, on the south end of Corona Del Mar along the Coast Highway. It was then back to SCUBA.com to get all the gear cleaned up.
The 12 week program was a great success. Some of the kids will be graduating from The Webb School this June and will head home locally, somewhere in the USA or back to Europe or Asia or the Middle East.
Some still have a few more years before graduating and will have the opportunity to dive some more here in Southern California. They all worked hard and earned their diver certifications. It was out pleasure to help The WEBB School students reach their goal. They now can look forward to a Life Time of Adventure.