“Dive into the deep blue and discovery the magical world filled with a variety of colours and life. Don’t delay, get into scuba diving today!”
We want to make our lives more exciting and add adventure; we seek to emulate the cosmopolitan lifestyle advertised all around us on a daily basis. Living in a concrete jungle, often in very small square spaces we crave to just get out!
Scuba diving is an activity that is often considered filled with dangers and only for adrenaline junkies, however, this notion is very far from the truth.
Learning to dive is really easy and exceptionally safe if you follow the rules, it is a family sport kids can start at 10 and you will never be too old to do your scuba diving course. The social interaction and common passion between divers will ensure that you make a lot of new friends and start planning your life around where you can dive next.
Diving levels the playing fields – there are no ranks, when divers come together we all have the same goal/objective/passion relaxing, having a good time and fun! A good dive school should have a club which allows you to interact with other divers, making every dive trip like a holiday with old friends.
As a diver, you will experience a totally weightless and three dimensional environment, it will be the closest you can get to feeling like an astronaut. A complete feeling of peace and calmness envelopes you and nature is your only concern, it is. The underwater world is more unique than land based environments as your interaction is up close, personal and so real you can touch it, there are no 4×4’s or game rangers between you and this amazing environment.
The vibrant colours will astound you and you will never tire of diving as the aquatic environment is exceptionally diverse, it is almost as if you are entering a different world! As South Africans we are very blessed and many of our sites compete with the top sites around the world.
For a family, this is really a hobby that will pull the members together as it is non-competitive, fun and a shared activity unlike one partner playing golf on their own while the other partner is shopping and the kids are playing computer games.
What can I expect?
Doing a diving course is about relaxing and having fun! This is what it is about after all, otherwise you would be doing an MBA. We call it recreational diving for a reason, at no point must it be difficult or stressful at all, the courses as thus designed to achieve this goal. The skills you would be required to do are basic stuff like clearing a mask and a snorkel and designed to make you a completely safe and comfortable diver.
There is nothing that you will be asked to do that a 10 year old child cannot do. Scuba diving courses usually run over two weeks, however it varies between dive school and agencies. A good dive school or club will be able to schedule a course around your requirements. A normal course would be a total of five three hour evening lectures and two weekends. There are also options to do self-study or online courses.
The scary stuff and Dangers?
Common fears around diving are claustrophobia and sharks. Swimming under water is exactly like standing in your garden with a mask on. The sea is such a wide expanse it just goes on forever and ever, this fear is unfounded and will disappear the first time you try it. As for sharks, believe it or not they are scared of you! You are making a noise and do not reflect anything that they are used to or recognize as food – in actual fact you are surrounded by bubbles which is something completely unusual!
The minimum age to start is 10 years, you have to answer a medical questionnaire and if you answer yes to any of the questions you would have to seek medical advice, other than that there are no exclusions. You would need to be able to swim and by that we mean to comfortably keep your head above water no – Olympic skills needed here!
Most schools could rent out everything you need to complete the course, however, is not necessarily the best option. To fully enjoy any sport, it helps to have your own scuba gear, hygiene being the first reason and the second being that divers who own their gear dive! Thus you would invest in what we call skin diving gear consisting of a wetsuit, mask, snorkel, fins, weight belt and booties.
What would it cost?
Like anything in life this could cost you the price of an Uno or a Porche all depending on your needs, wants and off course budget. To give you an indication, decent skin gear would cost you about R 2 500. The hard gear BC, regulator and cylinder are the more expensive items and although important to acquire, would not affect the initial experience of diving and should be available to you from the dive school.
After this, if you unbelievably, impossibly find that you do not like diving, you can use it as snorkeling gear. Any reputable dive school should refund the gear if it is still in a good condition and it is replaced during the open water course.
The price of a basic open water course starts at R 2 000 per person.Best of all, if you find that life takes over again and you don’t have as much time for diving as you would like, there is no time limit on your qualification. You don’t have to complete another course. As they say, it is as easy as falling out of a tree… you just have to let go!
No more excuses, make up your mind and go find adventure and excitement through diving. Try it you might just like it!