Navy SCUBA Dive School Post Pool Week

Jan. 13, 2020

Getting through "Pool Week" at Navy SCUBA Dive school in Pensacola, FL was a huge win for me.

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Post Pool Week (Dec 7 2012)

 

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible.  I didn’t see it coming.  It’s almost as though the light burst into view after days of being lost even with pool week being more than seven days behind us.  The past couple days have largely been spent “on station” preparing, tending, performing, and cleaning dives.  We have been hidden from the light during these dives, searching thorough piles of mud at the bottom of the bay for various objects and obstructed from the sun under the hull of our dive boat.

I royally F’d up the jack-stay search big time yesterday, wandering over to the buoy from the other search, and set the instructors on fire.  I had to endure furious yelling over the underwater speaker about how much of an idiot I was.  I felt pretty stupid not being able to follow a rope underwater.  I could blame my buddy for jacking up his end of the work, but we made a poor decision by splitting up the work in the first place.  Neither of us came out on top of this one.

On top of that, motivation and execution from everybody was poor that day after a heavy morning PT.  We were drained and making mistakes.  A lot of people are nursing lower body injuries, and I suspect most of their attention was on what to do about that.  Missing PT for medical is highly frowned upon since we have such a short time here.  Limping guys are usually forced to fall in and work out regardless.  Our performance was deemed bad enough that Instructor T. told us at the end of the day, “That was horrendous.  If you don’t turn it around tomorrow we will spend the whole afternoon doing burpies.  You guys are right on the edge of a world of suck right now.”

Thank goodness we turned it around.  Everyone came out today with an attitude for efficiency and success.  We were out before 1400 and stayed motivated throughout the day.  That inkling of worry in the back my mind everyday of what punishment could possibly come is what kept my attention off of the fact that we are just five working days away from graduation.  There is always a chance of getting sent to the pool deck for over-unders and grueling poolside calisthenics.

But for the most part since the end of pool week, over-unders have been absent, and remedial PT and swimming has not been aimed at getting us to leave.  We have done some breath hold exercises while freestyle swimming, breathing every so many strokes, and played “the ball game”.  Divided into two teams (officers and civilians vs. enlisted is our split), each team is tasked with keeping a buoyant ball pinned to the pool bottom.  The first team to let their ball come up loses, and usually has to do 50 4-count flutter kicks, or some similar exercise.  Our officer and civilian team has been pretty unstoppable so far, winning out every match and only one individual game.

We challenged the 2C class today and beat them three of three times.  It was considered quite an embarrassment for them, since they are divers for a primary job, and it’s collateral duty for us.  “They’re just SCUBA,” is a common phrase.  But we brought the heat today, and have brought it to other classes as well.  We defeated a dive medicine class last week in Friday’s ultimate Frisbee.  It was another outstanding performance considering that their instructor makes them practice.

Yes, we played ultimate Frisbee.  It might be hard to imagine that I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until now, but it’s true that every time we were told to get in the pool, I conserved whatever energy I had anticipating some sort of brutal breath hold beat down.  We did some relay races with involving breath holds, freestyle, and pull-ups, but the punishment for losers was only flutter kicks.  Verbal counseling was at a minimum.

So now, since we did very well today, and there is promise of another class challenging our reign at ultimate Frisbee tomorrow, I have begun to relax a bit.  The next two days are scheduled to a point that getting beat doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  We have most of the day off tomorrow except for PT and set up since we have a night hull inspection dive planned for the evening.  Friday should finally see us getting our CPR and 2nd class swim certifications.

After that ought to come the coolest shit we get here.  Weather permitting; the last three days have various checkout dives to do quite a way away from the schoolhouse.  We need to complete a 100-foot dive among other open ocean dives.  Senior chief talked about diving a wreck out in St. Andrews.  I’m stoked.  The weather hasn’t been the best lately, but it has been fine enough.  The sun usually finds it’s way between the clouds by 1300, but the mornings and nights have drizzling rain and cool winds.  I imagine everything will turn out all right.