Thought I'd share an actual adventure with you for a change. Deb and I went to Sandals Montego Bay for our honeymoon a few months back agreeing to find some much needed relaxation there. That lasted all of about one day. I've always been a big fan of snorkeling and decided before the trip that I wanted to try scuba diving while down in the Caribbean. Deb, always up for an adventure, was in as well. The only prior knowledge of the different accreditation levels I have before sauntering up to the dive shack was "resort training" and probably something more involved than that. Apparently you can get learned up to three ascending recreational classifications while at the resort. They are: resort, supervised, and open water. They made a pretty good case for taking the open water course and we, after some deliberation, anxiously signed up. The open water certification allows you to rent equipment, request air fills, and dive without any higher supervision, provided ya do so with a buddy. Now, it did cost a little coin and it did involve four certification dives over three days with a decent amount of coursework and studying but afterward we totally agreed it was worth it for a bunch of reasons. Most notably, our life long certification allows us to dive where ever we want without an instructor and we got to do our dives in 85 degree crystal clear Caribbean water. Beats a freezing flooded rock quarry in Pennsylvania any day.
If you're thinking about doing something like this, there are a few things you may want to be aware of before hand. Our swim test was 400 meters in the pool. Probably a good idea to warm up first or make sure you didn't imbibe too extravagantly the night before prior to embarking on this non-trivial task. Moving on to coursework, be prepared to invest a few hours reading and taking practice tests during your down time. We were given a video with a non-functional dvd player. The book would have to do. When it comes to the actually diving, don't psych yourself out. Breathing while submerged under 40 feet of water is not a natural environment for humans but the equipment is safe and thanks to your redundant regulator and your buddy's redundant regulator, you are never without air.
Now for the fun stuff. Diving is truly a unique and exhilarating experience. You get to witness the beauty of the underwater kingdom firsthand and observe the colorful and interesting creatures within it living and playing in their natural habitat. I think I'm hooked.