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Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I did it. I started my Scuba lessons last night. I am doing the training in a pool in NY, then I will make the open water dives in the Florida Keys in April. I am so excited.

As a history buff, I am looking forward to diving wrecks in Lake George and Lake Champlain. And, if we go on a warm weather vacation, I'm not a 'Sit-on-the-Beach-Reading-a-Book' or 'Shopping-in-the-Boutiques' kind of person.

Anyone else?

Like a need another expensive sport. :loco:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I got my basic open water cert in July 2007. I had just moved to Ft. Walton Beach, FL for my first job and I had a month-long work trip to Hawaii coming up a few months later. My dive instructor and course were excellent and I felt quite comfortable and passed the test with ease. The GS-14 at work was a divemaster and almost everyone I worked with was certified, so I had plenty of people I knew to be my dive buddies on the weekends.

Here's my story:

Fastforward to September 2007. My boss scheduled a dive trip for me and his wife to go on while he was out golfing. We were both pretty new to this diving thing, so it was us, the divemaster and his assistant. We were VERY clear with him and his assistant that the both of us had only been certified a few months and had less than 15 days of diving. We went down to 92 ft and dove around this wreck. I went into the hull and left immediately when I saw this 6ft Whitetip shark in there. The divemaster was more interested in him having fun and showing off this shark that he "knew". I don't care how well you "know" a shark, it's still a freaking shark!!!! The shark was just chilling there. I was outside the hull looking through this huge hole and there were a few other divers in the hull, and the idiot divemaster goes up behind the shark and brushes the fin on the shark, and the shark just moves a little bit. I was scared BEYOND belief. I signaled to the assistant that I was going up. I went and hung out on the anchor line till they were done being dumb. While hanging on the anchor line, I just happened to turn around and there's this massive sea turtle swimming directly towards me. I really haven't been so scared before. There's way more to the story. Once I got back, I asked my GS-14 to help me finish filling out my dive log. He had LOTS of questions that made me very concerned. I haven't gone diving since.

I want to try diving this summer. The Baltimore Aquarium has this dive experience where you can dive in one section of the Aquarium. I think I would like to try that since it's a more "controlled" environment
I got my open water in 2000. We'd been to Cozumel and done some snorkeling and decided to get certified for our 20th anniversary second honey moon. I have dove at Cozumel and Bonaire. I've got about 30 some odd dives under my belt but I decided it's not for me. DH LOVES it..... but for me the gear hassle factor is just too much to deal with. ( too much stuff, too heavy, too much fiddling, too many things to check) We had a small BC issue on one dive and DH did not abort it ( you are supposed to abort immediately with any gear issue) and that really freaked me out. I wrestle with anxiety issues anyway, so I gave it up. I've since become a super snorkeler while he goes diving. At Grand Turk, they would drop me at the dive bouy off the shore and I would take about 2 hours to swim back in.

We do take an annual trip for diving/tropical vacation every year. We've been to Cozumel 2x, Bonaire 3X, Grand Turk and then we leave for Roatan in a few weeks. The critters don't bother me at all.... I mean, isn't that part of the point of being down there? The only things I worry about out there are swimming into a group of jellies, or getting run over by another boat.
I'm a diver too!

I did my open water cert in Western Australia in 2007 and 2 days after finishing hopped on a boat for a 5-day liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef with a friend. 23 dives later, I was definitely hooked. I did my Advanced over the next few months while still in Oz and dove my way around the coastline there. Then I moved back to interior Canada... In Rossland I lived about 10 houses down from the dive shop in town, so it was super easy to get gear and go out diving with groups going out. I was a victim for a couple of Rescue courses that they held but could never take the course. I eventually kind of decided that lake diving wasn't my cup of tea...with no drysuit, I was limited to summer when the vis sucks, and it was still bloody cold! I've had a couple trips since where I've done a bit of diving - Mexico, Southern France, Northern Italy, Sicily, and the Bahamas, but I don't dive as much as I'd like.

I love being down there with the critters...that's the highlight for me. Sunken shopping carts in a lake are cool and all, but I prefer looking at fish.

I've only ever had one close call. Descending on the 2nd dive of the day, diving at altitude, and about 40 ft down my weight belt came off. Suddenly about 20 lb lighter, I went on a very rapid ascent to the surface. My buddy brought me my weights and re-descended to join the group, and I went back to the lakeshore. We still had a drive home that took us over a mountain pass or two (think flying after diving) so I wanted to err on the side of safety. No problems, thankfully. When diving with that much weight now, if I'm using a belt (not integrated weights), I only put about half on my belt and the other weights go in my bcd pockets. I can still ditch weight to ascend in an emergency, but if the belt comes off my ascent won't be quite so rapid.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I did it. I am a Certified Open Water Diver.

On the final certifying dive today, I saw a shark, a sea turtle, a moray eel, and a barracuda. The 8' nurse shark was sitting on the sandy bottom between 2 reef formations. When we swam over it, it twitched its tail and moved forward a little. We hung motionless in the water and watched it until it swam away. Right after that, we rounded a corner of the reef and saw the sea turtle. The Green Sea Turtle was more than 2' by 3'. It swam around us for a minute before leaving. The barracuda was about 4' long and 15' away from us. The green moray eel was hiding in her hole with only her head sticking out. Later, we saw her swimming around out of her hole.

It is a dive I will never forget.
^^^ Congrats, 2ski! Great story. Big achievement for anyone. Both "my" men are scuba. (I'm forever above water with ear issues, always have been.<sigh>)
I did it. I am a Certified Open Water Diver.

On the final certifying dive today, I saw a shark, a sea turtle, a moray eel, and a barracuda. The 8' nurse shark was sitting on the sandy bottom between 2 reef formations. When we swam over it, it twitched its tail and moved forward a little. We hung motionless in the water and watched it until it swam away. Right after that, we rounded a corner of the reef and saw the sea turtle. The Green Sea Turtle was more than 2' by 3'. It swam around us for a minute before leaving. The barracuda was about 4' long and 15' away from us. The green moray eel was hiding in her hole with only her head sticking out. Later, we saw her swimming around out of her hole.

It is a dive I will never forget.
:thumbsup: Hope you have many more that you never forget!

Ski Bunny in Training

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm a diver too!! I got certified a few years ago in Tennessee and sadly have only been diving once since. I live right on the Great Lakes and there are dive shops here, people do wreck diving and whatnot, but I haven't done one of those yet. Sadly, you need a wetsuit here because the water is freezing even in summer. I did my checkout dives in a quarry in Tennessee and all I saw was a large ugly fish, a car, a fridge, and a couple toilets. Apparently the local population used it as a dump. Ooh, I almost forgot, I also saw a cash register. I asked the dive instructor if it had any cash in it and he said no, they had checked it years ago. One quarry had flooded so fast that people basically left all their stuff down there and just got out of dodge as fast as they could. One area had a bunch of trees that were still standing upright though fully submerged, swimming through those was fun.

My mother took DD and I on a 10 day southern Caribbean cruise April 2011 for my graduation present. I was so excited to finally dive again and booked a diving excursion. The evening before the trip I got a note under the cabin door saying it had been cancelled due to lack of interest and by that time it was too late to book another. I was MMMAAAADDDD!!!!! We took another family trip to Mexico this past spring and I went diving on Cozumel. I had a blast. The first dive was on Santa Rosa Wall. That was a little freaky. We got to 95 ft down which was the bottom of the reef itself. However, a few dozen feet away was the drop off. I don't know how far it went, probably a few thousand feet, but I was too afraid to go look. I was nervous the entire time thinking a current would catch me and send me over. I kept reminding myself if it happened to swim perpendicular to the current not try to swim against it. Thankfully it never happened. At one point the dive master called for everybody's attention to show us something. Me being a moron kept looking out into the deep blue sea mentally hollering "What is it? Is it a shark? Is it a dolphin? Is it a turtle? Is it a whale? WHATISITICAN'TSEEIT!!!!" It was a flounder in the sand right below my fins. We also saw a lobster, some big parrot fish, and a sea snake. I took one look at that and went paddling in the other direction. I also got stung by something on that dive. I was just swimming along and felt a sharp sting/bite high on my inner thigh. My dive buddy asked if I was ok and I motioned that my thigh hurt. It went away after a minute or so and I continued on my dive. After we surfaced my buddy asked me what had happened so I told him. He said normally if you're stung by something you can't see it's a jellyfish. I have never been stung by a jellyfish before but I had always heard it is excrutiatingly painful (insert Friends reference here). I'm not sure if being in the water neutralized the sting somehow or if it was something else entirely. Either way, no lasting effects.


Certified Ski Diva
Diving was my first 'soul-sport' (skiing is my second :smile:

I got certified in 1999, did my rescue course in 2005, and finished my divemaster in 2010. I now have over 1100 dives - around 900 of them in and around the waters of East Timor and Indonesia in the Coral Triangle. My hat goes off to you ski-dive divas who dive in lakes and the like - tropical diving is really very comfortable in comparison.

As to beckylh84 experience with the shark on the wreck - it sucks that this experience impacted on your overall experience of diving. Your divemaster should have been aware of your feelings and been more considerate - when you are leading it is not about your fun level. It is about giving the people you are leading a safe and memorable experience. Unfortunately, sometimes divemasters get wrapped up in their own experience and forget the part of their job that means they need to pay attention to the people they dive with. PADI states that you don't dive alone - so the fact that a divemaster let you go off and wait on an anchor line (I read that as you were alone - apart from the turtle!) could get him sacked from the Divemaster list - seriously. Not cool.

I hope you find a way to get a better experience with diving - as it really is an amazing privilege to see that magical part of our planet and to meet the inhabitants 'up close'.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Scuba diving is awesome! It's my second favorite sport, though I haven't been for years, what with small kids and all, would mean having to arrange babysitting, and my husband isn't such an enthusiast...but I'm strictly a warm water diver, none of this with thick wet suits, and won't even consider something that requires a dry suit!

I've dived some amazing places, Cozumel and Hawaii, of course, but also Turks, Roatan, and Kenya... Roatan was amazing, I'd love to go back there...Anthony's Key Resort, what a piece of heaven on earth!


Certified Ski Diva
Here is a short video I made for a diving convention in Asia about diving in Timor-Leste. I made this back in 2008 - before HD was readily available - but it still looks ok. It is low-resolution as we never had good internet connection in Timor. Maybe it will inspire a few more divas to try diving :smile: it's a great off-season past-time!



Ski Diva Extraordinaire
That looks awesome! Has anyone gone diving in Bali? Thinking about next year, and wanting to Asia direction, with the two mini-diva's, and can't have it be all to exotic. I worry about the youngest, who has bacterial asthma, and she is super vulnerable to catching weird viruses, I even worry about Bali and Cozumel...

So maybe I should consider Cayman or Turks and Caicos? Suggestions? Good diving, and not too third world?
What do you mean by "not too third world"? I would interpret "Third World" as trash all over, Federales patrolling to keep the tourists "safe"(crime) aggressive beach hawkers and having to worry about safe drinking water.

Do you know of Bonaire in the Netherland Antilles of the coast of Venezuela? ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. It's Dutch and therefore feels much more European than any of the other islands we've been to. The whole island is on reverse osmosis water purification so for starters you don't have the water thing to worry about. The whole island is a marine park.....no jet skis allowed! The diving is very easy as there is no current, and the shore diving is plentiful. You do not have to go out with a dive master or shop when you pick up your truck rental there are tank racks in the back for the "unlimited shore diving" that you get with most packages. It's very quiet there. We are going back for our third or fourth visit in a few weeks. Truly my only complaint about Bonaire is a scarcity of sand beaches. Since I don't dive anymore, I do like my beach chair under a palapa.

I would go back to Grand Turk in a heartbeat. It's very remote and quiet, with beautiful beaches. Provodinciales is the really busy island where Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney and others keep their yachts so its a whole different flavor than the other islands. We were only on Provo long enough to catch the 8-seat plane to Grand Turk.

Cozumel feels less Third World than other parts of Mexico as it has such a strong tourist economy. It's very busy with cruisers. We found that if the locals and staff knew you were staying for a week diving you got much different (better) treatment than cruisers. The diving there is all drift diving and the currents are pretty intense in places. Cozumel is where we did our first few dive trips, but I'm not sure we'd go back. The Mexican people are very friendly and we love real Mexican food (not Americanized!)

Ringrat just got back from Roatan, Honduras. She stayed where we wish we'd stayed when we were there. I think it was much more quiet and safer than where we ended up at. We ended up in the West End, which i would never, ever go back to as an area island.The snorkeling there some of the best I've seen, and because I don't dive any more I like that. But- the beach hawkers were obnoxious, the tourists where obnoxious, and each hotel had its own highly visible security guards all around the premises. I got chewed out by an ex-pat local for walking two miles into town. The place we were staying told me I'd be safe, and this expat let me know in no uncertain terms that it was really not a good idea. Considering that I like to go long walks in the morning while DH is diving I wasn't too happy about that.

Most or all of the Caribbean locales are having real problems with the Lionfish decimating the native fish populations.

The Caymans and Dominica (NOT the Dominican Republic; they are two different places) are next on our list for Caribbean travel. We've talked about going to Thailand, but get real mixed reports as to the quality of the diving. My very good friend who is a dive master and a professional dive travel coordinator has the Philippines as her #1 favorite destination.

Sorry for the novel.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Love your novel geargrrl...

I love Roatan, and I've been to Anothony's Key, and I'd love to go back... if it weren't for mini diva #2, I'd do just about any place in a heartbeat...but she is just so susceptible to picking up every freaking virus and bacteria...and then it hits her hard, and she ends up in hospital with pneumonia, and I fear if I go to a place filled with bacteria's and virus she hasn't been exposed to, something worse could happen. Last hospital stay was 10 days, 5 of which was in ICU.... and just pneumonia basically... Would love to go back to T&C...wow, what a place to be!

So, it's not just the water...it's the people and just the bacteria, which is just normal bacteria, if you know what I mean...it's fine for me, husband and mini diva #1, but not #2. I don't want to think how badly she'd react to a virus or bacteria... I don't really trust her immune system.

But you're right, Bonaire or Curacao may be a good option, as technically Bonaire is city belonging to the Netherlands, so technically speaking, we wouldn't even be leaving the country...though getting on a plane and having to use dollars instead of Euro's, does give one the idea they've gone abroad... good thought...Bonaire. Not my first dive pick, but meets my requirements, including non-stop flights from Amsterdam.
Have you dove there? It's my DH's favorite, so far.

Of the ABC's, Bonaire is the quiet one. It does not have casinos, golf courses, giant resorts like the other two island. The locals we talk to say they really like it that way, too. I don't know how the diving compares. We are just so in to low key stuff that we'd never even consider one other other three. Now that they are not using the guilder and have gone to dollars, it has gotten more expensive than it was.


Certified Ski Diva
Bali is not too 'third world' as it really focuses on catering to tourists - it is certainly not as 'developing' as somewhere like Timor. As it was only one of two exit points from Timor for most of the time I lived there, I have spent a lot of time there and have dived some great spots. The diving is nice - but the best stuff is quite far north (near Ahmed) and there is not too much else up there. You can dive Sanur or the islands nearby, but then you are doing boat dives which are not as fun for the kids. There is also the Gili islands nearby and Lombok Island off the coast - which my partner has dived and says are wonderful - but very strong currents so lots of drift dives.

On the health front, avoiding ice in drinks and not eating salad in cheap restaurants is the best way to avoid any 'Bali-belly'. There are lots of nice quality restaurants though - all kid friendly - and I have never had an issue there.

There are nice things to do in Bali - especially for kids. There is a great water park in Kuta that most adults like as much as their kids and some animal parks that are nicely done for Asia.

Be aware though, that the "direct" KLM flight from Amsterdam (which I took on the way out of Bali this year) stops in Singapore most of the time (just for an hour), making it a 17 hour flight! That is actually one of the worst things about the trip, as long-haul travel gives most people a cold let alone a little one who is susceptible to infections and the like. There are lots of European tourists there these days though, particularly Dutch and German tourists - perhaps the Euro converts well to Rupiah...

On the plus side - Indonesia is smack bang in the middle of the Coral Triangle, hosting 76% of all known coral species, and more than 50% of the world’s coral reefs. If you can get there at some point in your life (sans kids probably) I would really recommend Komodo National Park - best diving I have ever done in a 7 day trip.

I have dived in a lot of countries in Asia, so if you do decide to head that way some day, get in touch. :smile: Enjoy the diving where ever you choose to go!

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