I took a deep breath in and looked around and knew my life would never be the same. I knew this newfound passion would be lifelong and I knew that doing something I was terrified to do would only allow me to grow. I would always strive for the next step in scuba diving adventures. My process started out simply. I saw a post on Facebook and thought; that looks spectacular, I want to see all of those vibrant colors and beautiful fish. I never knew what the process was like.
I am a beginner and I found it hard to find out exactly what I needed to do to Scuba Dive. I quickly learned that you needed to be certified. You can do beginner diving at resorts with a dive master but I wanted to dive with friends and learn the safety skills the right way. I found the best shop in Chicago with the highest ratings called LearnScuba Chicago.
I ran into the shop at the end of the day before they were closing and Sera was extremely detailed and helpful. She helped me find the correct gear and explained the process. As an intimidated first timer this was essential.
You have to take a test and unfortunately I was very limited on time since my trip was in 3 weeks. I would recommend giving yourself a few weeks to study if you are not at all familiar with the material. I studied for two days and still passed. It was definitely a hard test with minimal studying but they give you a book to read. You can also go on Youtube and watch videos depending on what type of student you are.
You have to pass the Confined Water Dive portion which takes on average 3 pool sessions to complete the five tests but depends on your skill level and comfort in the water. My first session was intimidating but exhilarating. The volunteer divers are extremely educated and helpful and focus on safety. You learn about what could happen so you know how to stay calm and safe in the water. Leaving after my first session I had a huge high and knew this was definitely for me.
My second and third class was on learning safety skills if your out of air or your mask floods. This one was truly the hardest class for me. It took me many many tries to pass each skill but the volunteers were extremely patient and helpful.
I decided to do a referral course even though it would probably be easier and much cheaper to do it all at one time. I wanted to learn the safety skills from an English speaking person. I am very literal and need to know why we do each skill so I needed a lot of explanations.
When I was in Australia, I decided to finish my Open Water Dives. I found a very reputable dive center called Abyss Scuba Diving. Every dive center is different and with the referral I still had to pass the pool sessions again but it was only a half day this time. We then had three dives to practice our skills and one fun dive. The instructor was extremely patient and skilled. I got certified with two other Aussies and it was such a fun and memorable experience.
We got to see Weedy Sea Dragons, Grouper, Eel, Octopus, jelly fish, sea horses and many other fish. The grouper followed me around and swam with me the entire dive. The instructor said it just wanted food but I think it wanted a friend. At the end of the course the instructor said he wished all of his classes were as easy to teach as ours. We really got everything done in one go. As someone who thought I was not going to get it, I am very proud of myself! If you are thinking about diving and are scared, give it a shot anyway, your strength may surprise you.