I figure since I’m going to Australia in November and the Bahamas in January, I’m a fool if I don’t get my diving certification and take advantage of the opportunities. So I signed up for a 2-1/2 week open water course, the first class of which was last night.
It was just an orientation/introduction, course outline, etc., and we were fitted for wetsuits and weight belts and allowed to purchase our personal equipment. I bought the basics that we’ll need: mask, snorkel, fins, boots. The rest will be provided by the shop for classes.
We’ll have one more Tuesday night class session, then consecutive Sundays split between four hours of pool training and three hours of classroom time. After that, we take four open water dives, and get our C cards.
Anyone else here certified? I’m really looking forward to doing this, so any tales you can share, recommendations you can make, or whatever, are welcome!
Well all I can say is congratulations. I own a dive shop in the the Northeast and you will enjoy the hobby for years to come.
pssst if you need any help with the dive tables or anything give me a holler
Certified in December '91 in a quarry in PA. Never went above freezing that weekend. Damn cold.
Coolest dive? Epcot Living Seas. Great experience.
Best dive? St. John
Diving is great and cheaper than golf!!
Hey, pl, I know you are a DC area doper, where are your checkout dives? Are you doing a referral checkout or going local? Some shops check out at Guppy Gulch, Bainbridge, Willow Springs or Lake Rawlings. Let me know and mebbe some East Coast dopers can set up a dive weekend w/ you. What shop/instructor? I know a lot of MD area shops.
Cayman Islands. Some of the clearest water I’ve ever dove. Cool fish and wrecks, great conch fritters at the Hard Rock Cafe. Check out the Cuban cigar stores in Georgetown. Awesome smokes!
They have dive trips to the Cayman Trench which is a mind boggling experience. You’re in relatively shallow water around the island except for this trench that goes about five miles deep. You dive around the edge of it and just take it all in. Kind of like the movie “Abyss”
Oh yeah, you probably know, but… don’t declare the Cubanas on Mr. Customs Form!
The shop I’m getting certified at is Aquatic Adventures in Alexandria, VA. There are three instructors, all PADI certified: Jim Little, Patrick Evans and John Bloxham. They both do referrals and offer their own checkout dives at a quarry near Manassas, VA. I’m going with their own dives, since it will be the weekend after I complete the course. I’d definitely be interested in some local diving weekends after I get my card, though–thanks for the offer! Maybe we can discuss it at RT’s this weekend.
I got certified about 25 years ago, and still dive. This year, though, I haven’t been in the water once, and I’m bummed about it.
Thinksnow, I’d bet on Cozumel. Cancun is the party spot, but Cozumel’s economy is about 90% diving, and 10% cruise ships. They have some great drift dives there. You jump in, get neutral, and watch the reef unfold as the current carries you along. One catch to that, though - once you go by something, you can’t go back to it. I tried, and couldn’t do it. The current is too strong to fight for long.
pldennison, please understand that the basic certification will get you into the water, but you should treat it as a license to learn more. This class doesn’t train you to do deep, decompression, wreck penetration, or cave diving. That’s OK, though, because there’s lots to see in shallow water, and of course there are always more classes available. It’s a great hobby - you’ll love it.
PS: with a bit of practice, you can blow an air ring that will stay intact all the way to the surface of the pool. Try it…
Fiver,It’s along the lines of the philosophy “You can do whatever you want in Disney; it’ll just cost you.”
Basically, you pay $150 or so and get a back-lot tour of The Living Seas (they filter more water in an hour than the entire town of Kissimmee does), pre-dive, half hour in the tank (I got about 35 min), a certificate, dive log stamp and a t-shirt. Well worth it!! Plus, family and friends can watch you through the 7 inch thick plexiglass. (you also get to torment the people eating seafood in the restaurant below decks!)
Call Disney (I think it’s 1-800-WDISNEY) and ask. It’s the coolest.
pl, I’m sure your DI will hand them out towards the end of class, but if he doesn’t, ask him about a 6 month trial subscription to Dive Training magazine. (You can also get a card from the dive shop.) It’s a great mag for beginners through seasoned instructors. It’s the only one I get anymore. If I remember, I’ll bring a couple of back issues to the firedope for you.
Ralf, I’m definitely planning on doing more. (Frankly, I’ve wanted to get certified for years, but always put it off.) Unfortunately, the shop where I’m going won’t be offering another Advanced OW course this year, but I may look around and see if I can take it somewhere else before November. After that, I definitely want to take wreck, night and cave classes. My wife is paranoid about it (she is NOT a water person), but I’m as excited as hell.
AT the very least, if I can’t get into an Advanced course before my trips, it appears that there are a lot of shallow reef opportunities in the Bahamas while I’m there. And just to say I was in the water at the Barrier Reef will be way cool!
Let’s see, my NAUI cert is about… um… 17 years old now. Damn, I’m old. enipla, when you get to Belize, be sure to dive the Blue Hole. A great drop-off wall dive, where you can just drift quietly, blowin’ bubbles. I love to dive, since I don’t know anywhere else on earth you can be weightless for a long period. It always makes me think of being an astonaut in free fall.
pldennison, I’m green with envy at your trip to Austraila. That’s one of my dream trips.
FWIW, some of the best diving is less than 50’ down. Going deep is fun, exciting and can open up some areas for you, but the most amazing wildlife you’ll see will likely be no further down than 40’. IME, that is.
pld, tell your wife that it’s a safe sport, and the stuff like Jaws was faked. With training and good skills, you’re more likely to get hurt mowing your lawn.
Scylla, you’re right. I’ve seen classes that turn out certified divers in 5 days, or even over a weekend. I’d rather they took a bit longer, and gave the information a little time to seep into a person’s head. And I’ve seen people take advantage of the cert. system and go from nondiver to instructor in just a year or so. I’d rather there was some minimum amount of time in the water required along with everything else.
RalfCoder - who’s landlocked here in Michigan, and wants to get wet at least once before winter comes…