Scuba diving is one of the most spectacular things I have ever done. The very concept of it is truly quite mind-blowing…
Think about purposefully placing yourself in an environment that you’re unable to survive in. Relying 100% on ‘man made’ equipment (which isn’t very comforting considering ‘man’s’ track record…). And then, as if you haven’t already taken away the ability to naturally breath, throw some deadly, unpredictable, and unknown creatures into the mix that may or may not be 20 times as big as you. The main question remains though… why would someone pay decent money to be in this situation? …
For me it was to experience something new. To see a part of this ‘underwater world’ that is so important, yet so untouched. The raw adventure and personal exploration that occurred while scuba diving sounds quite fluffy and perhaps over exaggerated, however for me it was just that. Scuba seems to be a very individual activity… which is ironic considering it is never recommended to be alone while scuba diving. However when you are actually diving and exploring the unknown, you can’t talk and your ‘feelings’ towards what ever it is that you may be experiencing, whether it be a cool new fish, a moment of panic realizing your 12m underwater, or the urge to pee is mostly kept to yourself. Of course, there are hand signals and slates that divers use to communicate underwater, however you really have to think about what it is you want to tell them. Contrary to human interaction above water, where we just blurt out the first and foremost thing that happens to be on our mind…
Prior to my Madagascar Trip I had only tried scuba once. It was seven years ago and the opportunity was offered through the phys ed class. I vividly remember not being able to clear my mask at that time but luckily it didn’t tarnish the whole ‘diving’ experience for me. Here’s my experience of becoming a certified SCUBA diver…
- Paid for a super awesome trip that included a PADI scuba diving certification. I would highly recommend being certified with PADI. After all… PADI is “the way the World learns to dive”. Even though PADI kind of has a monopoly over the scuba diving industry and will charge you outrageous amounts of money for the infamous ‘blue books’, it’s totally worth it to be PADI certified.
- Begin the Open Water Diver course.
- A couple of days of curriculum based content. Working out of the book and completing knowledge reviews
- A couple of days of ‘confined’ water experience. Typically this section is done in a pool, but considering we didn’t have a pool at our convenience, the ocean was our next option…. naturally 🙂 During these dives at 3m we practiced things like clearing our mask underwater, taking the regulator out of our mouth, taking our BCD’s off underwater, and even sharing a buddies air supply.
- Then… we got to the real diving! Going down about 12m we practice all of the same skills and we even have to swim for ~20m without a mask on!
- Boom! Certified!
- Take the Advanced Open Water Course
- This course is not mandatory to be a certified scuba diver, however given the nature of my trip, it was required.
- For my Advanced Open Water I completed the following specialties:
- Deep water dive (30m)
- Underwater Navigation (hello compass skills)
- Peak Performance buoyancy
- Night Dive
- Underwater Naturalist
- Boom! Advanced Certified!
- Next steps…. A ‘wreck dive’. I’d get to explore a ship wreck!!