Have you ever dreamed of scuba diving on a reef in the Caribbean or some other exotic location? Have you ever gone so far as talking to a dive center in your hometown about getting your certification and about choked when you heard the cost? The truth is that getting your PADI Open Water Diver certification in the US is not a small investment. The norm is $500 to $600 and depending on your location you could end up doing your training and first few dives in some rather ho hum locations. One dive center I looked at would do the open water dives in an old abandoned rock quarry. That sounded more like a torture I’d have to endure in order to be rewarded with the ability to dive in better locations later.
Most of us would like to scuba dive on our vacation. So why not get certified on vacation? If you are like many and like to visit exotic tropical destinations you can often find PADI dive centers in these locations. If you are traveling to places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, etc…. you will find that the cost of certification comes back to a more reasonable cost. I did my Open Water Diver certification in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and it was an awesome experience.
I know you are probably skeptical about the quality and safety of the program. My experience was that the program was very professional. I got my certification through a dive center called Scuba Junkie. The name may sound a little sketchy to you, but the training was anything but sketchy, and the cost was only around 980 MYR ($230USD).
The course was three days long with one day spent watching videos and taking tests for the landed portion. Once the land based portion is complete the fun begins. The second day of the PADI course is contained water dives in a swimming pools in most places. Since Kota Kinabalu is on the ocean all of our contained water instruction and dives were done in the ocean. As we were learning all the necessary skills we were able to watch and watch stingrays, and tropical fish swimming by us. We were also able to dive at depths greater than 2 meters.
Diving on a reef system is amazing. The amount of sea life in coral reefs really brings it home on why this magnificent formations are so important to our environment. They are teeming with life. It is an awesome sight to see a stingray swim away into the deep blue. On one dive we were in low visibility and our dive master was pointing to something he wanted us to see. As I descended to see what he wanted us to see, I found myself face to face with a Moray Eel. I can honestly say, those things aren’t that pretty from a very close perspective.
The course had four open water dives and some descending to depths of 20m (65ft). At this depth the pressure of the ocean is getting fairly intense. Be sure that the mask you are using fits comfortably. When you are 20m down, any small discomfort will be magnified. Regardless of any discomfort the experience was amazing.
So if you are considering getting your scuba certification why not make a vacation of it. You will become part of a community that actual wants to see a shark in the ocean. Spend some time on Google looking up possibilities in the places where you like to vacation. Go for it and have a great time.
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