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Take the Plunge and Learn to Scuba Dive

Sporting Opportunities Travel Advisor, Pendra Heath, has put together a few top tips for learning to Scuba Dive and why she would recommend everybody to get under the sea!

As we set out to embark on the trip of a lifetime in Asia my travel companion announces she would quite like to do a scuba diving course. Having never considered this before I asked her what makes her want to do that to which she responds with .... because she is scared of fish!

Admittedly, not the most convincing of arguments but I am now very grateful for my friend’s fish phobia, as learning to dive was undoubtedly one of the best things I have ever done. We completed our open water PADI in Koh Tao, Thailand, then dived in Bali in Indonesia and  Coron in the Philippines. Then a year later we completed our Advanced Open Water in Utila in Honduras, then we dived in Cuba and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Here are my top tips to future dive enthusiasts!

1. Make getting your dive qualification a priority, because then you can really make the most of it throughout the rest of your travels. There is nothing worse than somebody telling you that you’ve just been near one of the best dive sites in the world and you didn’t dive there!

2. Watch Finding Nemo for inspiration, it is hard to imagine that life under the sea could really be that colourful and vibrant … but it really, REALLY is! It is so beautiful and full of life - you will be surprised at how accurate they got it with this film. 

3. Dive in the Galapagos Islands at least once in your life … diving here is more like diving an aquarium - you won’t always know which direction to look in. At one point our dive master pointed out a group of about 7 Hammerhead sharks swimming below us at the same time as a group of Manta Rays glided by and a sea turtle was also chilling near by. It was overwhelming to say the least.

4. Embrace your inner Mermaid/Merman - have fun. Make the most of the weightlessness and do your front flips and your back flips and your handstands … get the cliché photos of you hovering like a Buddha. On your ascent you will have to do a 3 minute safety stop anyway … don’t stand still - invite your dive buddy to a dance off - your underwater moves will impress for sure.

5. Push your limits - it will probably be worth it. I was very apprehensive to do a night dive, I didn’t feel completely comfortable knowing the creatures of the ocean  would be able to see me and I couldn’t see them. But it was great - such a different experience, we saw so many cool creatures that we would rarely in the day time, including bioluminescent creatures which glow in the dark. 

6. Don’t believe your dive instructor when he tells you that the ‘James Bond’ style entry to the water ‘will be easy’ and ‘you’ll be fine’ … it won’t be easy, you will end up looking very silly and they will film you. But definitely give it a go … you will have great fun watching your friends fail at this too.

7. Complete your log book after every dive! - It does feel a little bit like homework but it is a fantastic way to make sure you always remember the fantastic dives you did. Write about everything … you will never look back and think ‘I wish I had written less’. 

8. Don’t get the giggles underwater (Or do - it is actually really funny). Every time you laugh your mask will fill up with water … you will spend a lot of time clearing the water, just to begin laughing again … vicious circle. 

9. If you do want a good laugh then take off your fins put them under a rock and try to have a  running race on the seabed against your fellow divers. This is ridiculously difficult and you will find yourself almost horizontally running - it can definitely lead to the giggles. 

10. Buy yourself a dive mask, a bad mask can ruin a dive. You will find mostly hire equipment is pretty great and let’s be honest who is going to backpack with full scuba diving gear … but if you can squeeze in a mask it will be worth it, after all the main point of diving is seeing what is underwater so you want to be able to see well. 

Join a fantastic Changing Worlds project today and get your open water PADI qualification in Australia,  or The Philippines. You won’t regret it. 







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