Run the equator: Got bubbles?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Got bubbles?

Imagine being on vacation somewhere on a tropical island at a resort, and everybody you meet at the bar is talking about how great the diving on the coral reef is and how awesome that German wreck from the second world war looks, how the canons are still pointing toward the sky, as they were when it was sunk by British planes. Wouldn't you feel a little left out of this conversation and a little frustrated for not being able to see those wonders yourself?

That's mainly why I took up Scuba and got certified this weekend for open water diving. It's not something that I couldn't live without, and I was definitely not very happy to have to do my certification dives in the cold waters of Puget Sound, but any healthy adult who, like us, plans to travel to many places which are also famous diving sites (Belize, Honduras, the Galapagos islands, Egypt, to name only a few) would be foolish not to do it. The other reason, is to keep an eye on Angela and prevent her from grabbing a shark by the tail.

From last year's Jamaica trip Angela and I had "Scuba diver" certifications. "Scuba diver" is the entry level in the diving experience hierarchy and should be used to go to a maximum depth of 40 feet. Now we got our "Open water" grade which will enable us to dive up to 60 feet deep; it's enough for now. To upgrade from "Scuba diver" to "Open water" we had two options: either do the full open water class again, together with other 10 people or so and two instructors, or get a referral "upgrade" training, pay about the same price and have one instructor just for the two of us. So we chose the latter, did a couple of pool sessions, the written exam and the two dives today, and we're done! The water was freezing and we couldn't feel our toes after getting out but diving is a good shot of adrenaline no matter how miserable the conditions are. And once you're down there you forget everything about the cold, it hits you only when you're back at the surface.

The next step - advanced open water certification (100 feet) in Honduras!

3 comments:

Steve said...

I used to be Advanced Open Water certified, but its been like 15 years since I went diving. Are you guys going to the Caribbean at all?

Anonymous said...

well I don't think someone in Egypt, Thailand, Dubai, Turkey, Greece, etc will give a damn about your certificate, if you pay for renting the stuff, you can do everything you want. believe me, I know what I'm saying ;-) of course, knowing the basics is good, but paying for it and diving in the cold Pacific, brrr, com'on :-)
mitru

Big Fat Rat said...

Steve:

Yes dude, we're going to Belize and Honduras. Ah, the beauty!

Mitru
I don't know man, I wouldn't dive at the places who allow you to dive without a certification, this puts everybody at risk. Our (limited) experience with diving resorts has been different: we got certified at a resort in Jamaica, and then we went to another resort a few days later and they wanted to see our certification and asked who our instructor was.

In any case, you actually learn important skills when you take the class, things that may save your life in an emergency.