The word #adventure is being misused in today’s society, it should have less to do with lying by a pool in a fancy 5 start resort and more to do with an exiting new experience, getting out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in nature.
I worked as a Dive leader in Thailand and two thing I noticed during my time on Phi Phi islands was, everyone has a fear of scuba diving until they try it and taking a good quality picture of a tourist while underwater is worth just as much as the fancy hotel they stay in.
It’s how I made a living while traveling, taking quality photo of divers next to a sea turtle or all your money back, I have come a long way from selling diving lessons in Thailand. But I still think scuba diving is for everyone and if you are interested in learning more about how you can gain your diving qualification, just keep reading as I explain the basics of your PADI Open Water course.
What to expect from your PADI Open Water Course:
Even though it’s totally unnatural for a human being to be submersed 18m below the oceans surface, you will see after two dives your orientation under water will come right and it will open your eyes to a new world, an under water world.
The course is set out specifically for any new diver to find their “tails” before heading into the ocean, you are given ample time to learn all the small things before even getting into the water. Here is a basic guideline of how the course is structured.
Day 1 – Theory Day
You often get asked why there is (gasp) theory for a scuba diving course. Essentially knowledge is power. Everything you need to understand about how your gear is assembled and works, how pressure effects your body, and most importantly how to practise being a safe diver as well as going over entry level rescue exercises for yourself as well as other qualified diver.
So yes, theory is extremely important. The first day normally focuses on getting all of your videos and knowledge reviews out of the way, in order to prep you for the final exam that follows on the final day of your course.
Day 2 – Pool Sessions
So as I mentioned before, this is not meant to be a daunting course. We like to ease into everything. That’s why day 2 we head for the pool to work on some skills that will essentially make you a competent, comfortable diver. Skills include being able to recover your regulator (the thing you breathe from) if it happens to come out of your mouth, as well as being able to clear that bit of water out of your mask while diving and lastly working on your buoyancy, what allows you to swim like a fish.
Day 3 – First Ocean Dives
The most exciting day! These will be your first two ocean dives, where you will practise all of the skills that you learnt on Day 2 in the pool sessions. Welcome to a world of wonder – you will be absolutely hooked! Day 3 is vital and will set the tone of your diving career, this is where we would in still good diving habits.
The two most important lessons while diving is to, never ever hold your breath while diving as air expands and could damage your lungs if you hold your breath while ascending. Number two you should always leave the ocean as you found it, don’t touch, tease or try to take home any of the marine life or even your instructor for that matter.
Day 4 – Qualifying Day!
Yes! You have made it. Your last two dives will be going to 18m (your qualifying depth), there are only minimal skills to be completed, these are essential “Fun Dives”. You get to practise diving with your buddy and planning your own dives, we will be doing and checking out some beautiful topography and fish life that you would of missed on your first two dives.
When you complete and pass the exam, you will then be qualified to dive to 18m independently, always with a buddy anywhere in the world.
Why you should do your diving course in South Africa:
South Africa is world renowned for it’s Scuba Diving, our coast line stretches for about 3000KM where more than 150KM is spectacular coral reefs, you can find more than 2000 fish species in and around some of the most beautiful reef typography in the world.
Our ocean has two major currents:
Namely the Agulhas current bringing warm water down the East Coast giving Kwa-Zulu Natal some of the best tropical diving in the world, and the Benguela Current which is a cold and wide current that flows northwards along the west coast of southern Africa.
Some of South Africa’s best diving spots are Sodwana Bay for it’s spectacular reef topography, Protea Banks for it’s number of shark sightings and Umkomaas for it’s awesome wreck dives. These locations are your best bet for good conditions to learn in, while diving in warmer waters.
South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world despite our government status, we host a long list of natural breathtaking sights such as:
The majestic Drakensburg mountain range, here you can find the worlds second tallest waterfall while hiking along a 1KM drop right next to you. You can follow the link to find more information on exploring these mountains and what routs to take.
If you want to learn more about Phi Phi Islands Thailand, follow the link as I have an article on things to do and places to stay on the island.
I hope this information was helpful and that you will do your course in the near future, feel free to leave a comment.
All the best and safe diving.