After a safety briefing and an introduction to the equipment we waited on the side of the pool with our fins (scuba divers don't say 'flippers') and mask (goggles don't cover your nose).
When it was time to enter the water, buddy pairs joined an instructor in the chest deep water of the shallow end. We tried breathing through the regulator (the mouthpiece the air comes through) above the water, and with our faces in the water. Then came the time to try deflating our BCD (bouyancy compensation device, an inflatable jacket that the tank is attached to) so that we sank into the water more.
We were still in water that we could stand up in, if it all became too frightening or it was happening too fast, but by bending our knees we could sink down and really breathe like a scuba diver. For those of us who were comfortable with this, we swam down towards the deeper end with our ever vigilant instructor keeping an eye on the two of us.
In the 3m (10ft) of the deep end of the pool we were able to float freely in the water, not touching the bottom, not breaching the surface. We were able to try out adjusting the air in the BCD jacket to keep us at the depth we wanted without having to swim to stay still and to try equalising the pressure in our ears by squeezing our noses and blowing gently.
Cliff and his team of instructors at Cambridge Dive Centre were great hosts and teachers of the art of scuba diving. They were very careful about our safety and yet all with a very relaxed air that put our young divers at their ease. We would reccomend them to anyone thinking about learning to dive.