I recently went on vacation and became certified to scuba dive. Many friends and relatives have asked questions about what exactly my dive class entailed. So here it goes!
Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me explain why I chose to get certified on holiday. I am from Colorado. Surprisingly there are a lot of dive shops in Colorado-especially for a state that does not border the ocean. A couple of my friends were certified last year through our local dive shop. They went 8 weekends in a row, spent time in the indoor pool, and traveled one weekend to some hot springs in Utah to complete their course. I decided that was not what I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind hot springs, they are much better the alternative COLD springs, or quarries in Colorado, but it just didn’t motivate me to dive. What did was a dive trip to Roatan, Honduras.
I had originally intended to do a night class at my local dive shop for the pool, or confined water, sessions. But then I came down with a raging flu and did not recover in time to start before my trip to Roatan. I contacted Infinity Divers, the dive shop at Infinity Bay, where I had booked my stay. They told me it was no problem to complete the pool sessions and the 4 open water sessions with them when I arrived. Perfect.
When I arrived at Infinity Bay, I checked in and went straight to the dive shop. I was greeted by Adam and Andrea. Both were extremely professional and almost as excited as I was to get started. I was to meet back later that afternoon for my first “pool” session. The “pool” turned out to be a shallow spot right off the dock in the ocean! That was way better than a pool in Colorado. So during my training sessions I was able to see bright fish, coral, and all kinds of little creatures. Nothing less than spectacular. Adam led me through the skills and had me repeat the ones I was not comfortable with (i.e. removing my mask). Two hours later, after completing 3 of the 5 sessions, we were back on the dock and signing up for the morning. Adam figured we would finish the 4th and 5th session and then take my first Open Water dive.
I could not sleep. At 8am I wandered down to the shop where Adam was waiting for me and set up my gear like a pro. Well like a professional student anyways. We giant stride-d into the water and finished the remaining skills necessary to cross “confined” off the list. We relaxed and watched the sea for an hour and then reentered the water for dive number ONE. As we floated across the shallow bottom, it slowly opened up to a wall. I peered over the edge and hesitated before following Adam down to 40 feet. We saw parrotfish, christmas tree worms, squid, and even a spotted eagle ray.
After surfacing, we documented everything from water temperature and visibility, to our depths and time underwater, to the fish we encountered. Sort of like a little diving diary. The next morning we would go on the dive boat and check out a new dive site. My first boat dive.
Although I was still in training, I felt like a diver. Boarding the boat with other divers. Talking about BCD’s and mask defog. Anticipating the spotted drum, trumpetfish, and others on the fish cards Adam carried with him. This was completely different than the hot springs in Utah. In a very good way.
After tying up at the first dive site of the day we put our gear on in the water (another skill to master) and after a 5 point descent began our skills. By now I was pretty good at clearing my mask so after 20 minutes we were off on a mini-dive to check out the reef. This scenario repeated itself on the third and fourth dives later on that day. An viola! A few signatures later, I was certified and ready to take on the underwater world.
I love Colorado-for skiing. I love Honduras-for diving. After my certification experience, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.