The best way to learn to scuba is by supplementing with this online course.
I love swimming - as a child you couldn’t get me out of the ocean if you tried, but I have developed a truly irrational fear of sharks over time. It’s actually quite sad because it takes away from the ocean swim experience when you literally think you may be eaten at any moment. It’s something I try to get through, and diving was a step in the right direction for me. In 2014, I decided, with heavy encouragement from Andre, that I would go for my PADI certification and dive during our trip to Panama. There is quite a bit of learning before scuba diving, which I wouldn’t complain about since you are putting yourself in a sticky situation if you forget how to breathe underwater! Still, the idea of sitting in a hot room on our holiday to do the coursework was not so attractive, so I did some research and found out that I could do most of it online ahead of our trip with the in person portion of the course focused on getting in the water, with a confined dive (pool or confined shallow water), a review on theory and course info, and then the fun part, four open water dives!
Steps to get certified as an Open Water Diver, where your scuba journey begins:
Choose your first dive site
Choose a local dive center to get started with
Email or call to request information on Open Water Diver Certification including price, schedule, prep, and other key points (mine was $250 in Panama, which will vary based on location)
Enroll in the PADI online course for beginners, $185, 10-15 hours coursework
How did I like the experience? I loved it. For some reason I have distilled my fear down to visibility. When my head is under water and I can see this other world, I am less scared of it. I feel graceful and peaceful under water, with my senses alive with discovery. I actually saw four sharks on my last dive (they were not dangerous breeds) in The Great Barrier Reef in Hamilton Island, and curiosity was far more prevalent than fear in the moments of encounter. I do still struggle when my head is above water and body below, so I will call scuba diving a step in the right direction rather than a cure all.