Scuba class!

This summer I began the process of finishing my #$% bachelors degree after a 15+ year hiatus from school. I'm on track to graduate in the spring - yay - but in order to maintain my part time status, I have to take a min of 6 credits. This wasn't going to be a problem until last night I discovered that the credits needed to finish my theater minor were going to suck the life out of me for much of November, cause me to miss a class in my major (history - and I'm at sr levels which means missing is very bad), and not get home until after midnight during tech weeks for two credits a semester.

Nope! I am way too old and too busy for that baloney.

So instead I'm taking scuba lessons for two credits! I'm super excited and nervous. My husband dives and has always wanted to get me out there with him but frankly, I like being *on* the water but in the water is a whole other kettle of (very large) fish. I can swim ok so that is not a problem.

Any advice from other people who have certified? Or tried it?
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Replies

  • pondee629
    pondee629 Posts: 2,469 Member
    Tried if once in Aruba with a "Resort Scuba Class" It was great! An hour or so in a pool with the equipment and then a 20 foot dive for about 30 minutes. Enjoyed it very much, considered getting certified but then realized the limited opportunities for good diving here. Since Hubby dives, go for it, enjoy it and enjoy your added time with Hubby. ;-)
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,176 Member
    I'm the opposite, I'd rather be submerged and exploring a wreck or a cavern (I never did the full cave certification)....

    The biggest advice I can give is never cut corners on checking your gear, never trust anyone else to tell you much much air is in your tank etc etc etc....

    The other is to relax and enjoy it. scuba diving is a very safe activity when the rules are followed. If you're morbid like me and like to analyze accident reports it's almost always a result of someone becoming complacent and cutting corners.

    I'm assuming that you'll be doing your course at home (much better than taking a Caribbean quickie). It may surprise you to know that there are great dive sites in the St Lawrence and if you're comfortable diving in colder water with lower visibility diving in the warm clear water at Cozumel is effortless and fun.

    Never stop learning.....once you have your Open Water it's worthwhile going on to Advanced Open Water and even the Rescue Diver courses (even if you have no intention of becoming a divemaster or instructor) I'd also recommend the Nitrox courses etc too - diving on enriched gasses can significantly reduce the chances of getting bent and extend bottom times (doesn't improve your air consumption but once you've got your buoyancy down you learn to sip the air and can actually get a fairly long dive out of an 80cf tank)

    Sadly I stopped diving a few years ago after having a stroke and miss it a lot......

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,082 Member
    edited August 2017
    I've been certified since 2000...I love it. We dive primarily in Belize and Honduras which are amazing dive destinations...we also dove in St. Maarten which was ok, but nothing as spectacular as the reefs in Belize and Honduras.

    There's not really much in the way of actually swimming in the traditional sense...it's pretty effortless as between your weight belt and your BCD, you're neutrally buoyant...meaning, if you were still, you'd just sit their suspended in the water and only going up or down with your breathing. I rarely use my arms...it's all kicking.

    It's so peaceful and spectacular...very much what I think it would be like to be in space with no gravity.

    Part of the certification test requires you to remove your mask while submersed and then put it back on and clear it...this seemed to be really the only issue for many people in my class...the other was having to remove your regulator and let it float free...it naturally floats behind you and you have to retrieve it...it's pretty simple as you just slide your arm back and as you bring it around it will hook the regulator and you bring it back to your mouth...but some people got a little panicky and a simple movement became a problem for some...
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,497 Member
    edited August 2017
    I'm scuba certified, only made a hundred or so dives, but it is so fun! I agree with Brian - take everything at your own speed and check/double check/triple check your gear before hitting the water.

    Getting Open Water certified is pretty easy and you don't have to do any dangerous dives to get certified, so enjoy! I agree that the Advanced and Nitrox courses are invaluable. They allow for more than just shallow, short day dives and you learn a lot more about navigation and air use.

    You get to see a world and animals you didn't even know existed. :)
  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    what was really funny about all this is that i was saying the other day hey, i'd like to go swimming some mornings. while there isn't really 'swimming' per se with scuba, i will now have a locker at the schools gym and be able to use the pool in the mornings :D it's a twofer!

    if this class goes well, they offer advanced next semester. i have the option to get certified in october i think in the fingerlakes (ah brr) so it's all very cool.

    I *really* want to see an octopus again - when we were snorkling we found one and it was so neat! I kind of have an obsession now.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,497 Member
    Come to Seattle! We have octopus here. (Octopi?) ah...


    I got certified in Puget Sound in October. We have pretty cold water, too - maybe not as cold as the Finger Lakes, dunno. 52*F (ish). I didn't get cold, the wetsuits are thick.

    What did happen is that some people freaked out on the mask clearing in the really cold water. One lady shot to the surface in panic...so I would say practice practice practice on the mask clearing in the pool. Then when you get to the open water dive, put your mask on and take it off a couple times in the water so you get that shock of cold water to your face. The lake is a different deal than a nice warm pool.

    I love diving in Puget Sound, but I still prefer the Caymans or Roatan. :)
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,176 Member
    pondee629 wrote: »
    Tried if once in Aruba with a "Resort Scuba Class" It was great! An hour or so in a pool with the equipment and then a 20 foot dive for about 30 minutes. Enjoyed it very much, considered getting certified but then realized the limited opportunities for good diving here. Since Hubby dives, go for it, enjoy it and enjoy your added time with Hubby. ;-)

    I don't know how far you are from the coast but NJ has spectacular wreck diving sites (many of them at recreational diving depths). Not quite the crustal clear waters of the Caribbean but you could spend a lifetime divin wrecks off the east coast and not see them all....
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    i love diving!!! get certified and then go on an awesome diving vacation to celebrate getting your bachelors degree.
  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    Come to Seattle! We have octopus here. (Octopi?) ah...
    Because I am obsessed: Octopuses is correct, but also Octopods (which I love). The "i" plural is latin I believe, but the name "Octopus" is greek, so you wouldn't use i for the pural.

    And yes! you have Pacific Octopus which can be massive! One of my favorite freaky videos is the one of a diver saying hi to a red and it just launched itself at his face and started taking off his mask. So by favorite I mean things that make me go AHHHH WHAT AM I DOING?

    Y'all have great tips. Making sure I take things slow is going to be very important. I get nervous and overshoot everything so I will really make an effort to breathe, center, and move from there.

    I have a friend who has done NJ dives and loved them!
  • DX2JX2
    DX2JX2 Posts: 1,921 Member
    edited August 2017
    I took scuba in college - it was a really fun way to earn a couple of credits while swimming in the pool. Certification wasn't automatic though. The teacher sponsored a trip ($ extra) that students could elect to go on but it wasn't mandatory.

    Don't worry about not being the strongest swimmer. The fins make a huge difference to your speed and comfort in the water and the gear will allow you to float or sink at will. The hardest parts for people not used to swimming tend to be 1.) learning how to not hold your breath while underwater 2.) getting used to clearing your mask underwater 3.) learning how to clear the regulator of water if it pops out of your mouth underwater or water seeps into your mouth and 4.) staying calm during all of the above and never forgetting to EXHALE ON THE WAY UP.

    Luckily, your course will have dedicated classes (sometimes more than one) to teach you all of the above.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,497 Member
    Yeah...I wasn't going to mention that YouTube video, but I've seen it! Not sure I want to be that close to one of the big guys.

    nope.gif











    There are lots of smaller ones around though!

  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    haha, right? my husband and i had a whole conversation about it and he's like well, if you're gonna die, that is a hell of a way to go. and then he told me he expected me to avenge his death which was a hysterical conversation at the time.

    did you see the one where the guy saved a tiny octopus and it basically thanked him? i love that one. they are awesome creatures. I was hoping to get to the baltimore aquarium in december to do their tour where you can meet one possibly, but husband is on standby for hurricane harvey so i will be waiting until next year.
  • BrianKMcFalls
    BrianKMcFalls Posts: 190 Member
    edited August 2017
    Seems the people I have diven with, who feared swimming with marine life, found it a lot less intimidating once they were under the water with them, instead of on the water and fearing the unknown.
  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    Seems the people I have five with, who feared swimming with marine life, found it a lot less intimidating once they were under the water with them, instead of on the water and fearing the unknown.

    i sincerely hope that is the case. i'd like to love this, or at least enjoy it enough to do it recreationally. we will see!!
  • Skipjack66
    Skipjack66 Posts: 108 Member
    So awesome @enyagoboom! Excited for you!
    I used to dive with my father. We certified together and I still remember our classes! I saved up all my paper route money to buy my own gear. I was a teenager when diving and we did so many Caribbean dives (especially Bonaire) as well as a lot of wreck dives in freezing Tobermory. It was a great time for us and I miss it dearly.

    I married a weak swimmer so I haven't gone diving in 33 years. However we are going on a Caribbean cruise (first time ever) in February and we plan to snorkel in Bonaire and also St Lucia. We aren't going with the cruise excursions, we are going with other companies. I am hoping that they take us to better (less busy) snorkelling sites, and allow me to let all the air out of the snorkelling vest so that I can actually get down deeper and see stuff up close. It will make me crazy if I am forced to float on top. I am a very proficient swimmer and breath holder but not sure they care since I noticed there are even age restrictions now to snorkelling (70 and over!!). I also hope the reefs look similar to when we were diving all those years ago. Not sure how they look now after hurricanes and coral bleaching and islands becoming huge tourist places and cruise ship docks!!!
  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    wow, that is amazing :) gotta say, the dive equipment cost can take my breath away now lol.

    bleaching is a problem for a lot of the spots i love in the caribbean. we honeymooned in the BVI after getting married on a catamaran off St. Thomas.

    I am definitely hoping to become more proficient in swimming too! all around this is nothing but positive. :)
  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    So I just wanted to give a quick update - I had my makeup class last night. It was good overall; we went through setting up our gear and practiced it, then put it away and did our fitness test which is the 200 yard swim and 10 minute tread.

    I knew I was going to have a tough time with the swim itself; I can swim but it ain't pretty. I was the slowest one there and everyone was done when I was half way through my second of 4 laps. But, I finished. the treading water was a little easier, but it was still tough. Thankfully I never, ever have to do that test again for this class.

    I am going to sign up for six private swim lessons just to get my swimming better generally. I expend way way way too much energy swimming in an awful way and I'd really like to get stronger in this area, especially if I'm going to go further than just a scuba class. Next scuba class is tomorrow night and my open water cert is the second weekend of october at Dutch Springs, PA, so that should be fun.

    Now I just need to get decent at equalizing and clearing my mask :)
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,176 Member
    enyagoboom wrote: »
    Now I just need to get decent at equalizing and clearing my mask :)

    Slowing your descent can make equalizing easier (like most things it's practice, practice, practice) and becomes second nature after a while. If you don't mind your family thinking you're a little odd you can practice clearing your mask in the bathtub......

  • enyagoboom
    enyagoboom Posts: 377 Member
    enyagoboom wrote: »
    Now I just need to get decent at equalizing and clearing my mask :)

    Slowing your descent can make equalizing easier (like most things it's practice, practice, practice) and becomes second nature after a while. If you don't mind your family thinking you're a little odd you can practice clearing your mask in the bathtub......

    BEST IDEA EVER. I have an awesome bathtub. I bet the cats will be confused.

  • rbiss
    rbiss Posts: 422 Member
    I am certified and have dived in a quarry and in the Caribbean. The Caribbean was much much much nicer. Scuba is so much fun!! Just relax and remember your not that far down so its easy to get to the top if something goes wrong. And just practice and it will come easier. Use those pool sessions you will have in the class to practice the simple stuff before you get into open water. Equalizing took me some time, but I just waited when I felt pressure and eventually the pressure went away. I just moved my jaw alot and eventually my ears popped.