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I recently did my AOW course in Roatan, Honduras -- and boy was it a great time. As expected, I completely fell in love with diving. Well, I'll save all of that because you've all heard it before!
But now I'm home, and I'd like to continue diving in order to gain experience and improve my skills. I'm under no illusion that having an "Advanced" card means all that much -- I'd like to get into the Atlantic, where the conditions will undoubtedly be harsher, and continue my training. And, of course, hopefully see some cool stuff in the meantime!
Anyway, I have to be honest; I'm a bit intimidated trying to get into the hobby. I don't have any diving friends, and right now the only equipment I own are my mask and fins. I've emailed a few local dive shops, but nobody seems to want to get back to me. I'm hoping to meet some people/ops that I can dive with and learn from. And, if I can do that regularly, I'd also like to begin slowly investing in equipment.
Can anybody offer a helping hand here? I'd very much appreciate it! I'm located in Morris Plains, NJ.
Welcome to diving!! We have another group here called Dive NY and we do some local, easy diving at Dutch Springs and other places. And the people are very friendly. Why don't you come on over.http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/dive-ny/
I'm a NJ diver based out of Maplewood, and have found that the DiveNY forum is a great place to get to know local (NY, NJ, etc.) divers.
Rather than try and make the jump from Roatan to the harsh Atlantic, why don't you make a few trips out to Dutch Springs? I'm out there pretty much every weekend. It's a relatively short hop west on 78. There's even a cool dive shop nearby that offers reasonable gear rentals.
Similar situation here in Caldwell. I am starting an advanced class next weekend. I have 18 dives, mostly Dutch Springs in PA, but also FL, CA, and one off the Jersey Shore. A few friends are certified, but mostly avoid the local cold water.
Welcome to a fantastic way to have fun I recommend that you find a local dive shop very few dive shops respond to Email there all trying to stay afloat in this economy and take some more training, diving in NJ is a blast but different from diving where you trained. Check out Dutch Springs I always get ribbed on the boats for quarry diving but as I always tell the Captains I've never got blown out at Dutch. I dive out of Aquatech scuba were way south of you. I think we were all in your fins at one point jump in and have fun. Check out this site, it's a great way to waste time. Scuba Diving - New Jersey & Long Island New York - Wreck Valley
I think you're off to a great start here. They key is to connect with local, supportive divers who respect your lack of experience and desire to gain some of the same, and will work with you to improve your skills, buddy up with you to help you expore new boundaries, and just make your diving a great experience in general.
Our group meets up at Dutch about every weekend all season long, and many of the Dive NY'ers hang with us also. Come over, say hello, find our when we're diving off NJ next (Aug 12th, Aug 16th, Aug 19th are our next three dates) and come diving with us!