Let us set the stage: Married Explorers were living a charmed mini-life in Grenada for 4 weeks in a beautiful May. Many of the obstacles were out of the way to become scuba diving certified, such as:
- Time to dedicate to become certified.
- Being in a beautiful location to learn the recreational sport.
- We were comfortable spending the money on this activity.
- Husband who was yearning for this adventure.
What were some of your hesitations for becoming scuba diving certified?
But one remained – Kara’s apprehension about breathing under water. In her mind, this is not a natural thing and humans are pushing their luck by going beneath the depths. She always was awe stricken whenever in the presence of the ocean, its massiveness, its power, its mysteries, and some things are better left alone.
How did you overcome them?
However when the opportunity presents itself, and when you’ve just finished a year with not many adventures, and when your partner is really excited about doing it, it’s hard to pass up. Plus it would be an amazing experience. Throughout the 5 day process, she had various pep talks with herself.
Kara’s Pep Talks:
- You fly all the time. How is scuba diving any different? Human’s aren’t meant to fly naturally but you get in a machine and trust a pilot to take you to levels of the atmosphere you wouldn’t be able to survive without special air being pumped in and pressurizing the cabin.
- All you have to do is breathe. Breathing is the most natural thing for a human to do. You do it when you’re sleeping and you don’t have to think about it. It’ll be ok. Just breathe.
- Your safety is PADI’s priority. They want you to be equipped to handle many different scenarios that rarely happen under water. Don’t you want to be comfortable handling these scenarios?
- You are going to see many truly wonderful things down there.
- Tim can do it and he has just as much training as you do. That means you can do it too. Plus look how excited he is to do it.
- You’ve already come this far? What’s one more day?
- Riding on the boat is my favorite part, so I’ll just go out with them to the dive site and decide once I’m there – (fast forward) Well I’m already here, might as well go in and then decide – (fast forward) Well I’m in the water, might as well descend and see how I’m feeling then – (fast forward) Ok I made it down safe and sound. Now I’ll just take the training exercises one at a time. And Tim will go first. If he’s ok, I’ll be ok. Plus you did already do it in the pool, how is this any different? – (Fast forward) This is pretty neat! Time to explore.
- Just breathe. If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have too. It’s your decision. And you want to do this.
Are you happy you did it?
And guess what? She did it! Kara officially became scuba diving certified as an Open Water Diver. Granted, she is also recovering from being in “fight mode” for many days in a row but she created an unforgettable memory with her life partner and feels extremely accomplished for pushing through her fears. She also has material to write a blog post and some pretty neat pictures.
Kara still feels a bit silly that she didn’t realize you can just pay to go on 1 scuba dive with a dive pro and NOT have to go through all the emergency procedures and all the training (described below) and would have maybe chosen this route had she known.
When all said and done – she survived and is happy she did it. She is unsure if she would do it again, but if she does it will be easier and she will feel confident in her abilities to handle all the possible scenarios of what could happen underwater.
Now if you’re asking Tim whether he’s happy he did it, and if the certification process was worth it, he would say 100% YES. It was a HUGE accomplishment! As Kara mentioned above, being so far below the surface feels unnatural, and things can go wrong, but all you need to do is breathe. It does take training and experience to do it well.
With 180+ minutes of open water dive time, Tim felt more and more natural while under the waves, and happy he committed the time and energy it took to become certified. He doesn’t know when he’s going to scuba dive next, but when the opportunity does come, he knows he will have the experience, comfort-level, and knowledge of emergency procedures to enjoy his next dive.
What does getting your scuba diving certification mean?
The entry level of scuba diving certification that we completed was the Open Water Diver Certification through PADI. Having an Open Water Diver Certification, with no additional certification or training on top of it, means you can scuba dive down to 60 feet, in the conditions that you trained in. You have learned:
- The basics of the scuba equipment
- Underwater navigation
- Using hand signals to communicate underwater
- Ascending and descending
- The science behind air pressure and currents
- And most importantly, what to do in case of an emergency
Certification means being able to go on dive boats with divemasters and rented gear from dive shops, and exploring new ecosystems beneath the waves. Most importantly, it means trusting yourself to be cool, calm, and collected in an environment that is unnatural to humans.
What was the process to become Open Water Diver certified?
It was a pretty simple process through PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). PADI is the most recognized scuba diving certification world-wide. We called the local dive shop to get the process of becoming scuba diving certified started. After paying for the certification, you’ll gain access to the online learning through the PADI website.
The Online Learning Platform includes:
- Five total sections (each containing subsections), plus an introduction, that you must read through, and/or watch the video tutorials.
- Knowledge review questions that must be answered
- Completing a quiz on the material from that section. This is for your benefit, as it makes you study the safety of SCUBA and understanding the science behind it.
- A final exam, which covers all five sections.
Once this is complete, your dive instructor will walk you through the experiential aspects of SCUBA, reinforcing what you learned online. This is done in two environments: closed water (aka a pool), and open water (aka ocean/sea/lake). You will need to complete two closed water dives and four open water dives.
The four open-water dives can be the most exhilarating experience, while also being the most nerve-racking. As long as you remember to breathe, and follow your instructor’s guidance, you will be fine. Hopefully, you’ll also have fun! During these dives, you’ll practice the training exercises from the closed water dives, so that you can be more comfortable with SCUBA diving.
When you’ve completed the closed and open water dives, and proven to the instructors you know what you’re doing, you will become open water diver certified! Now, you have a whole new option of worlds to explore…down to 60 feet.
Dive shop recommendation in Grenada
PS. If you happen to find yourself in Grenada and wanting to get Open Water Diver Certified, we cannot recommend Dive Grenada enough! They were fantastic during the process and Helen’s boot camp for diving helped us become the divers we are today. We felt so comfortable knowing we were in their experienced hands. As a bonus their team so wonderfully lugged our gear back and forth from the pool and boats AND they provided snacks after the dives! Their expertise was immediately felt and we are so happy we trusted them to help us through this process.