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Scuba Man

I've always loved to snorkel and dive and get up close with the sea life. I date this proclivity to the day I swam at Xel Ha in the Yucatan, and (due to being insanely nearsighted) got up very very close to a shark.

It was exciting. Thrilling even. Fortunately, it was a nurse shark, and harmless.

Anyway, I do have a point.

I've dived rarely since then, because frankly I don't relish the idea in Puget Sound. But now I have the opportunity to become certified in Scuba, and then do a serious dive with manta rays or whatever on vacation later this year.

Is it worth the time and expense? Does anyone know if snuba or rebreathers or assisted dives are easier than a full-bore certification? Chances are I would use this skill only every five years or so. It's soooooo tempting, but...


( 8 sutras — Your wisdom )
Jan. 27th, 2008 09:42 am (UTC)
Go for it!
I am a certified PADI diver but I only dive on holidays since doing my Open Water certification in 2000 and I've still done 70+ dives in that time. I've only ever dived in the Caribbean (Mexico/Belize), Red Sea (Egypt) or Indian Ocean (Maldives) - I can't understand the appeal of the English Channel with 5' visibility! I have seen manta rays, moray eels, a whale shark (!), white-tipped and grey reef sharks and turtles.

I went to Xel-Ha in 1996 while travelling and, like you, that fired me up to do more. It is definitely worth doing the Open Water course as this means you can go anywhere you like to dive, dive to 18m (30m if you do the Advanced OW course), and not be dependent on there being 1:1 escorted "resort dives" available. You will see loads more!

The best way to learn if you can is to combine the course with your holiday. We learned in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and did all the confined water sessions that people normally do in the pool in the shallow part of the bay so there were fish swimming round while we were practicing. Most diving schools can do the whole course in 3 or 4 days, leaving you the rest of the holiday to put your new skills into practice. The other option is to do the swimming pool sessions and classroom stuff at home and then do the four open water dives (the fun part!) on holiday when you get there.

I haven't done snuba - it sounds ridiculous - and the only rebreathers I know about ones uses by experienced divers who've also been trained in their use - they have great big tanks. If you're not sure, you can always do a resort (try) dive first - I did this in Mexico and in Egypt on holidays before doing the PADI course. You do get to find out if you're actually comfortable with the idea of breathing underwater, and you get to do a nice dive to 12m and see some coral and fish.
Hope this all helps! Where are you going on holiday?

Edited at 2008-01-27 09:43 am (UTC)
Jan. 28th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Re: Go for it!
Wow, that's very helpful, thank you! I suspect doing it at the shallow end of the bay is the way to go. I just wasn't sure, because it's quite a time commitment over several days.

I'm going to Hawaii, with any luck. Night diving with manta rays is the goal. We'll see. I'd be happy to get down to the reefs with the turtles, frankly.
Jan. 28th, 2008 07:08 am (UTC)
Re: Go for it!
Hawaii sounds great. There are more different species of fish in the Pacific Ocean than anywhere else so it's bound to be really good. Night diving with mantas sounds awesome!
Jan. 27th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, I loved snorkeling at Xelha! One of the highlights of my trip to Mexico mumbledy-mumble years ago.
Jan. 27th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
I haven't known anyone who's done it who regretted doing so.
Jan. 27th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
Is it worth the time and expense?
Worth every penny to me. Granted I didn't get a chance to use that cert a whole lot (spent too much time under the water in a tin can)...but let's face it, there's nothing quite like being under the ocean's surface---breathing!
Jan. 28th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Cool, very glad to hear from people who have done it. I suspect I'll give it a shot.
Jan. 28th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
I got certified a few years ago, and could not extol the virtues of it enough. I've been diving out here in the sound, and a fair bit in SE Asia (Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, etc.). Both were great, for different reasons. My step-father has over 10,000 dives, so it is great to have that as an interaction with him, and he is just a wealth of stories and knowledge about it.

Go for it, really. Even if you only use it once every few years, it is worth it.
( 8 sutras — Your wisdom )

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