|A picture of my regular, a Scubapro MK2
Actually, it was worth giving up four hours in the sun for. I spend a lot of time with my dive gear, and it's good to know how it works. Also, taking things to bits is fun, although slightly alarming. The tiny bits of rubber in question are two pieces of rubber, each half the size of a penny, which sit inside the regulator (the thing you breathe through) and form part of the valves within it. In other words, they ensure that the air comes through only when you want it to, and not when you don't.
Some people on the course found this a bit alarming, although this may have been induced by the fact we'd all been sniffing glue. (The sort kept in the workshop to stick ripped-up wetsuits back together - it's not a very big workshop.) I can relate (to the alarm, not the glue sniffing - my poison of choice is ethanol). At 35m deep, sometimes, it's better to think along the lines of "It works by magic, la la la, DIVE FAIRIES", than to know exactly how tiny and delicate the mechanism currently keeping you alive is. On the other hand, my gear is serviced by the same chap who ran the course, and he has clearly forgotten more about how dive gear works that I will ever know.
So, I can now take my scuba mask apart and wash it, which has hopefully got the mould off it. Tonight, I shall learn if I can put it back together again.