Yesterday we started together, me and Nina, with the open water course. She has already done the necessary theory and the first training dives are a fact. Things are going really well, but as with most students, there is a challenge to overcome. For Nina, that’s clearing the mask.


Nina is a young lady of 13 years old and she is doing a fantastic job. She copies a lot of my diving behaviour, has a good sense of balance, but that mask is still difficult. We are in very shallow water, so she can stand up and have her nose above water if she needs to. As soon as a little water has to go in, she comes up spitting. Well, you really have to learn to get that under control. The right technique helps and by doing it you learn to trust yourself. Ultimately, as divers, we must learn to solve our problems underwater, even if it sometimes feels very annoying. As dive instructors, we know all too well that clearing a leather mask can be quite a challenge for new divers. And if a new diver finds this difficult, it is not easy to overcome. As soon as you feel some water on the inside of your nose, the natural response is to spit. Some of us naturally keep some air in the nose so they don’t feel it at all, but others don’t and run into that problem.

On this second day we will further complete the theory and then enter the water for the other confined water training sessions. Clearing the mask is something that comes with it, where you first start with a little water in the mask, then a half full mask, then a full mask and eventually the mask even has to come off the head.

We enter the water for the next training and I decide to save the mask for last. That gives her the chance to get the other things under control first and build trust. In addition, we relax more and more the longer we are in the water and of course that also helps. And so we chat around and do the necessary exercises. As said she is doing great, her trim is nice and horizontal, she doesn’t blow around with her hands that much, automatic search and the like are all going well. And so it is time to clear that mask again. I bring her to water where she can stand in the water up to the waist and before we try the exercise again we will first discuss it. I explain to Nina that it is important that she takes her time. I’ll do the exercise first and then it’s up to her and if she just needs 1-2 minutes to mentally prepare then that’s ok. We sit down and after my demo it’s up to her. I look in her glasses and see that she is very alert, but luckily she takes her time and after a few minutes she dares. Wow and she does it! How good to say! We do the exercise a few times and each time she finds more peace and therefore has more control. Fantastic, I have great admiration for that, conquering yourself. It’s probably like skiing, where you strap a youngster under some slats and just let it go down the mountain with no problem. Learning to dive at a young age is like that, the students follow easily and overcome their limitations more easily. Apparently we think more as we get older or are less flexible or less likely to trust it. Whatever it is, learning to dive is easier when you’re young.

Anyway Nina is doing great and she got her Open Water certificate in the days after. At one point I explained to her that if your glasses fog up you can also let in some water, tilt your head forward and then clear the mask, and then the fogged glasses are heroes again. And to my surprise, she picks that up completely of her own accord while diving. What a winner.

Love life… Blow Bubbles…