It’s been on your bucket list for months or maybe even years. You’ve watched them, with all that equipment on and the huge smiles, laughing as they return on the boat or swim slowly on their backs out to the reef to disappear below the surface. Maybe you have a longer holiday this time, or maybe you have finally run out of excuses to not take that step; whatever the reason, you have finally ticked off the box and are a full-fledged, card carrying PADI diver. This could have been last week or last month or even 20 years since you joined the ranks of certified SCUBA divers. The question often is the same…What do I do next?
While you may have started diving as an experiment and adventure into a new world it has probably evolved into something else. Whether you are continuing to dive to further explore the underwater world, to hone your underwater photography skills, for the meditative peace and tranquility or just for some fun exercise; the challenge of increasing your diving skills to the next level is often rewarded by enhancing our overall experience. There are many ways to take your skills to the next level; including continuing education courses, trying new environments and dive style or planning your own dive with a buddy. After witnessing the transformation in my students after they plan and then execute their first dives without a professional; I have been inspired to dedicate a blog series to exploring and promoting this practice.
As professional dive shops and divers, we are here to make your diving experience a pleasant, relatively easy and comfortable one. We are happy to handle the logistics and equipment, plan the dives and share our favorite sites and passion for the underwater world with you; in addition to offering continuing dive education and training. However, believe it or not, the idea of becoming a certified diver is that at any point, you and a fellow certified dive buddy can grab some equipment and cylinders, plan a dive within your limits and training, then dive your plan. A crucial concept being that you plan your dive within your limits and training (if you are uncertain, please ask someone more experienced or a professional for advice or assistance). Planning and executing your own dive can help raise your confidence as a diver and will most certainly increase your experience and skill level. Be warned though, as you probably already know, diving is addictive and once you have experienced diving your own plan you may begin to feel slightly frantic as you are planning and impatiently waiting for your next dive vacation. Not to worry, though it may not be a vibrant coral reef, you may have many opportunities to increase your bottom time locally while meeting new dive buddies or strengthen bonds with existing ones…
The Next Stride
Over the next few weeks we will be discussing pointers and tips for planning your own dive, recommended equipment, local considerations and continuing education options for divers. We would like to invite you to follow along, send us your questions and comments and even pick our brains for possible diving locations near you. Hopefully together can open the doors to new diving experiences and take the next steps to increasing our dive skills and confidence as certified SCUBA Divers.