Monday, August 17, 2009

Tryouts for the Newport Aquarium at Scuba Unlimited

Something you may not know about one of my new projects is that Jill and I have been going through the motions to become volunteer divers at the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky. After the initial interview we have a "tryout" to complete. This last Sunday was our day.

It started in the quarry on Saturday with a practice dive in the quarry to make sure the weighting was right with the equipment we were using. Jill hadn't been in the water for about a month and was overdue for a dip. It was a fabulous dive and we were ready.

Long Drive on Sunday took us to Cincinnati and Scuba Unlimited. This shop was pretty cool (I love dive shops anyway) and we were welcomed by Craig, Ed and Jenny. There were 18 other volunteers. The tryout was not a "Pass/ Fail" but they wanted to know where we stood with our diving knowledge and our buoyancy skills and to recommend remedial training if necessary.

Our testing started with a written exam. A WRITTEN EXAM! I was not sure since I hadn't studied and I was WAY more stressed about it since I was sure that if I failed I would never hear the end of it. As it turns out I got three questions wrong. The first was a trick question... you will have to ask me about it in person... the second was about coral reefs and that they didn't need fish. The third was because I didn't know Nurse Sharks were Nocturnal. ( I see them all the time swimming in daylight) With the three wrong I still passed!

After a briefing we headed for the YMCA Pool... we had to demonstrate that we could get into the water quietly, then hover horizontal, hover vertical and then swim through this pretty cool buoyancy course. They were looking that we were aware of what our fins were touching and then how we reacted to it. There were seven hoops to swim through with "vines" in between. A pretty stressful exercise for me. Not because I didn't have confidence in my ability. It was a simple statement from one of my peers, "wouldn't it suck if you failed?" Got me just a little nervous... couldn't really live with the ribbing... :)

Anyway... the evaluation went without a snag. Next step, Aquarium Orientation! It is one of the most awesome Aquariums of its kind and I can't wait to be part of it!