It is freezing cold outside, I mean really freezing, not the, I live in Florida and am used to sweltering hot so anything below 25 degrees Celsius is cold, I mean it is well below zero Celsius, there is snow and ice, and staying inside seems like the best plan for the day.
Normally I am fortunate enough to be able to take some time to head south and get out of the cold, and get some diving in, but not this year. Well wait, I did just return from Cuba so that is a break from the cold, but there was no diving involved, but still it was warm and sunny and there was a beach and palm trees.
My plan for this winter was to head to Key Largo to complete my Open Water Instructor training, but I have traded the salt and sand of Key Largo, for the warmth and beauty of Syracuse NY. Anyone that knows Syracuse likely would not describe it as warm and beautiful in the middle of the winter, but I have chosen it as the local for my instructor program none the less.
I had been set on the one week program in Key Largo, but things change, and in many ways I think my choice has been for the best. Instead of pushing through a course in a matter of 12-14 days, I will take a few months to complete the course, but the program will be a mentor-ship. In hand with the class sessions there are several pool sessions, shadowing an instructor and assisting with the teaching to give me hands on experience and understanding of how an open water class operates. I will have much more time to study the materials, more time to absorb what is discussed and taught in the classroom, and I will have more time to properly prep for the classes I will be required to teach as part of the training. In all I feel that it will be a much more rounded experience, making me better prepared to go out on my own and teach others the sport I am passionate about.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with the one week programs, I was going to do that, and what stopped me initially was the cost given the Canadian dollar right now. I believe the one week programs that are out there are good, and have a real place for experienced divers that are looking to get their instructor certification. But having looked closely at the one week program, and now experiencing the mentoring approach, I can see the real benefit in taking the longer path.
So I am a couple of weeks into the program now, I am plugging away at the online portion of the learning, and in class every couple of weeks, and doing pool sessions every week. There are challenges, the biggest so far has been weather that allows me to make the drive to Syracuse, and the past couple of days I have been bogged down on the physics of diving lessons. Never was my strong subject.
When it comes to diving winter also provides an opportunity to go through my gear, clean it up, make sure it is all maintained and in order and set for the new season coming up. I have a challenge for myself to get better about keeping better records of my dive gear and maintenance logs. I think this is an important factor in diving, good records of maintenance, cycling batteries, keeping track of when items might need to be replaced or upgraded, and doing the aspects of maintenance that we can do at home. Waxing zippers, inspecting harnesses for wear and tear, making sure seals are in good shape. I have to be honest I can be bad about these things, and need to be better. In hand with that I am setting to the task of better organizing my gear and doing some building in my basement to have better storage and drying space for my gear. To often it just gets piled in a corner or left in the gear bag in the back of my truck awaiting the next days trip. It’s a bad practice and I need to break that.
That is my winter in a nutshell, if I get really brave and may put on my dry-suit to participate in an ice diving class, but I may also just watch from the warmth of my car with a hot chocolate.