We have spent all of our lives exploring the world in which we live. However, we were missing a huge portion of it. Approximately 70% of Earth is water. What should we do about this??? Learn to SCUBA! Tom is incredibly interested in seeing life in the sea and the potential to catch our next dinner by spear fishing. Lora just wants to see the pretty fish and sea turtles.
We started our SCUBA lessons this summer at Scuba Shack (scubashackct.com) in Rocky Hill, CT. Nick was our venerable instructor through the written and pool portions of the PADI course. SCUBA diving is not easy. Actually, Tom took to it like a fish in water (ha ha) while Lora took some time to become comfortable with breathing underwater. Since we live in CT, our open water certification dives were to be conducted at Brownstone Quarry in Portland, CT in September. That particular day was less than 50 degrees and Lora had a cold already. Instead, we decided to do our certification during our trip to St. Kitts this December.
With all of our gear: masks, snorkel, and Henderson 5mm full length wetsuit (yes, they are needed even in the warm Caribbean water) we set off to dive with Terry from Prodivers in St. Kitts (prodiversstkitts.com). Since we hadn’t been underwater since September, we did a pool session at the Marriott St. Kitts with Terry prior to our open water dives. The first two dives were shore dives and the deepest we went was 25 feet. This was a new experience. We lugged the gear into the ocean, and had to get used to buoyancy in the ocean and with new 5mm wetsuits. The dives were a nice introduction to the ocean. We saw a wreck, a reef, lots of fish, and a plethora of sea urchin (which delighted Tom who is already thinking about gathering them for a delicious dinnerJ) And, of course, we completed several skills.
The second day, we completed dives 3 and 4 of our open water certification. This time, they were boat dives. One thing that we have discovered with diving is that everyone is PASSIONATE about this sport. Divers want to share their experiences with others. We were on a boat teeming with certified divers and everyone was helpful and encouraging. These dives were deep, going to near the 60 feet limit. The first dive consisted of a wreck and a reef. The second dive was a deep reef where we say stingrays and a shark! Of course Lora was also delighted to see all of the pretty fish, but alas, no sea turtles.
One thing to note about our route to certification: It’s a bit challenging to learn from one instructor and get certified by another. We experienced a bit of frustration during the certification dives because we learned skills differently. This was compounded by the fact we hadn’t practiced the skills for 3 months. In the end, however, we achieved what we set out to attain. WooHoo! This venture, which started in June, is now complete. We are certified PADI divers!