On Friday, September 21, 2001 5:10 AM, Heather Koziol wrote:

> I am a new scuba diver and had a terrible time in the certification dives
> with taking my mask off and replacing it.  Is there any secrets to doing
> this without panicking underwater???

G'Day, Heather!  What I'm about to say may not sound terribly supportive or
helpful, but it's intended to be in your best interests.  (And equally as
important - in the best interests of a prospective buddy.)

There's a common fallacy that learning to dive is easy.  While some people
find it so, others do not.  In some instances all that's required is
additional training and practice in order to master the basic techniques and
skills.  In your case that *may* well be all that's required!  :-)

On the other hand, you have mentioned the 'P' word!  Usually an extension of
fear, panic is often difficult to control.  It's also an indication that you
may not be really comfortable with the idea of diving.  (I'm not comfortable
with the idea of parachuting.  I have this huge fear that the forces of
gravity are more substantial than a piece of flimsy fabric!).

If we're honest with ourselves, we all have a fear of something.
Confronting those fears is often the quickest and easiest way of dispelling
them - in theory!  Under water, however, is not the best place to put that
theory to the test!

I may well be wide of the mark, here.  And if I am then I apologise.  But if
you are experiencing panic - as opposed to mild concern - when you've been
practicing face mask drills in a controlled situation, then perhaps you need
to consider whether you're really cut out for diving?

A buddy's careless fin kick can easily dislodge a face mask when under
water.  If a full blown panic attack occurs as a result then you are putting
not only yourself but also your buddy at risk.

As Chuck has already stated, time and practice may be all that's required.
If that's the case, then make that investment.  :-)