In exactly two weeks I will be in the air, on my way to New Delhi! This trip has been a plan in the works for just a little over a year. I can't believe it is right around the corner! As the date gets closer, I'm realizing there is still so much to do...one of those things being - Scuba certification!
Going to the Maldives, where the reefs and dive sites are supposed to be incredible, I knew I had to get scuba certified, plus I think my travel companions are all certified...I don't want to be left out.
I was holding out on doing this, as the classes in Chicago were kind of expensive and time consuming. I also thought maybe I could get it done while in the Maldives. My wise older brother talked some sense into me and I took the plunge. He brought up a good point that you don't want to spend your trip learning this for the first time, certification requires a few hours of classroom work. He also mentioned that his first time diving was funny with his sinuses, so it's a good idea to see how you feel diving. Thanks for the advice, John!
I signed up for a class at underwater safaris (www.uwsafaris.com). I was very pleased with them, and my instructor, Orest.
Reading my homework assignment before our first class, I was a bit intimidated and overwhelmed with what I had signed up for, but Orest did such a fantastic job. He was very patient, and thorough. He worked with each of us to make sure we were confident on each skill set. My nerves were quickly put to ease that first class, and I really enjoyed each class.
The training is through PADI (professional association of diving instructors), a world recognized certification course (our boat requires PADI certification). The course consisted of four 3 hour classes, with reading material, quizzes, and pool work, where we learned the skills required for the open water dive required for certification.
This weekend I've been completing my open water dive at Haigh Quarry an hour south of Chicago, in Kankakee. Luckily enough, Orest was the instructor leading the weekend open water dive, so that put me at ease moving from the pool to the Quarry. Also, my buddy in class (buddy system is key in scuba diving) signed up for the weekend course, so it was great to have some familiar faces today.
The other unexpected benefit of the dive certification is that I made a few new friends in the city!
One more dive tomorrow, and I will be certified and ready to swim with exotic fishies in the Maldives.
Now that I'll be certified, my mind is already racing with future vacation spots involving diving...Honduras, Australia - Great Barrier Reef, the list goes on...anyone up for tagging along?