First Open Water Scuba lesson

                   getting suited up                     before the plunge                after: goggle marks and crazy hair

Suiting up for scuba requires tons of equipment: these are the bc vests hooked onto the oxygen tanks (behind), the regulator is already attached to the right one, then of course you got the fins, goggles, snorkel, all the emergency pieces, weight belt, booties, gloves, and the wet suit. 

Even there was a lot of duck weed on top of the water, once we moved around a bit it all skimmed to the sides. For myself, I've only ever had one other dive when I was in hawaii last summer before getting certified. So each time I still have to get reacclamated to the breathing and weight of everything. But overall, it was a great experience. Because the water's visibility was at 30-40ft that day, I was not the other one interested in scuba. I was joined by several others, some recreational, others teachers and those getting certified for open water (like me) or for more advanced cavern and cave diving.
Completing the skills wasn't a problem really. Mask clearing and taking off the weight belt while underwater are just a few of the skills. The trick through everything is staying calm and thinking through what you need to do. Many things can catch you off guard, especially as a newbie. After the skills, when we were just nicely swimming through the sticks and rock ledges part of my mask began filling with water again. So I tried clearing my mask but I didn't time my breathing correctly. So instead of seeing clearly it was no full of water and I couldn't see a thing. That's one of those times you have to fight the panic instinct (which would just use up more of your remaining O2) and take off the mask and start again. 
My favorite memory, apart from having a good first experience in open water, was watching the cave divers.  We dove in the sinks, and around this area several are connected. So it's a popular area for cave divers since there are a lot of different kinds of tunnels, caverns, and caves. In fact, in Orange Grove (pictures above, where I was at) there's a cave below it. So my instructor and I swam next to the cave mouth and watched them with their lights swimming through the cave, completing their skills. Obviously I couldn't take any pictures but I found some good ones online that look pretty similar to what I saw. It was completely breathtaking.

this was me, swimming along the edge of the cavern
this was not me :)

..and here's a map showing what the caverns and caves really are.