Sunday, July 20, 2008

We have a fish in our midst

Our daughter has been a Finding Nemo fan since 9months old when my husband/her father won her a stuffed Nemo at the local county fair by bouncing ping pong balls off glass plates and into fish bowls. Once she could watch the movie she did...always asking about the divers, their masks, etc.. And the 2nd and 3rd birthdays have been Nemo-themed.

Now at nearly 4 years session of Mommy and me swim classes at ~9mos old, 1 set of very expensive privates and 2 not so expensive privates at ~age 2, and local community service district group lesson at 3 and a half...our daughter took off swimming. I am not sure what worked best lessons, expensive privates, but I can tell you the fact that we have a pool and are in it a lot is what most contributed to her swimming without any flotation aid at such an early age.

This fall we have a trip planned to Turks and of the #1 dive spots in the world. We are very excited about it. But we got to thinking now with her swimming ability...could she potentially snorkel there and fullfill her Nemo fantasy. So this weekend I went out to Target and found a cheap Speedo set which size-wise was aimed at 3-5 year olds and included a snorkel, mask, and fins. We decided we would just let her play around over the next few months leading up to our trip and see if she got it.

The first time in she didn't quite get it...still lifting her head out of the water when she needed a breath, but taking her breath through her snorkel. Then on day two my husband got out his snorkel and mask and showed her how it was done...actually sitting with her on our 3' deep step and making funny faces. Within about 15minutes she was cruising all over the pool with her head down.

Now we do have some issues...she is quite excited in her breathing pattern, so we need to get her relaxed. But she also does not have the lung capacity it seems to blow out the water that gets into her snorkel. Also that 3-5year old mask...well it still does not create the greatest seal around her face. So our next step is contacting some friends who own a local scuba shop, FishEye Scuba, and see if we can get better fitting gear and a snorkel with two feature:
  1. Purge Valve: This is usually a one-way flap at the bottom. Its purpose is to let the water fall through this valve when the diver surfaces. The water in the snorkel will fall to the level of the ocean's surface.
  2. Anti-Splash Guard: Its purpose is to prevent water from entering the top of the snorkel from waves, spray, etc..

We're very excited as we know PADI offers programs starting at 8years old, Bubblemakers, Seal Team. At age 10-14 a child may qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver and 15 for Open Water Diver. And then there are exciting programs such as the National Geographic Diver Program that really can enhance a child's appreciation for the underwater life and it's conservancy.

Our daughter has just begun to open the door to an exciting underwater world...and we hope she will meet a real Nemo soon.

No comments: