New Sea 2010 - Day 1

One Long Decision.  This was the name we choose for our watch.  How true it was.  The joke goes, "How many Outward Bound instructors does it take to change a lightbulb?"  "One to change it, and 5 more to debrief it."  When you gather 11 trainees together on one boat you have a similar issue; simple things taking longer than normal.

On May 18th I left the warmth of sunny Florida to fly up to the cooler weather of Maine.  This would be my first visit to the lovely state of Maniacs.  I arrived in the afternoon only to sit at the airport of a few hours waiting for my ride, a fellow OB trainee, to pick me up.  My ride arrived about 4:30 and we headed from Portland to Spruce Head.  I am now convinced after the drive that Maine has the most Dunkin Donuts per capita/square miles of any State.

The next day at 5pm started New Sea Training.  I was already fearing the daily dips in the 48 degree Maine waters.  I had been tracking the water temperatures on the internet for weeks.  I had done lots of research on the affects of cold water on the body and tried to convince myself to believe the comments about the benefits of cold water swimming.  In order to come to grips with my anxiety I walked down to the pier and stuck my hand in the water for about 30 seconds.  This action confirmed my disillusion with all the positive research I had read.  That water was cold!

We met as a group for the first time at 5pm that day.  Having gotten a short tour of the base earlier, I had my hopes dashed that I would get a day reprieve from jumping into the water by the program director.  His casual comment was confirmed during out first gathering when our trainers announced, "Go get your run and dip clothes on."  Those eight words resulted in a blood pressure rise of about 100 points.  The time had come to face my dread of cold water.  We went on a short one mile run and ended at the pier.  One by one we jumped in for our swim assessment which consisted of swimming 10 yards on our stomach and 10 yards on our back along the pier.  Well, I survived my first immersion in sub 50 degree waters.  After a short evening meeting, that concluded day one of training.

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