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New to scuba

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by monalisa2000, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. monalisa2000

    monalisa2000 Garibaldi

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    Good Morning All,

    We are going to grand Cayman, Cozumal and Costa Maya in a cruise ship in Feb 2020.
    My husband and my two sons (12 and 14 years) are good swimmers. I am very beginner swimmer but I love water. I have done snorkeling few times with life vest on.

    Could somebody please recommend which island will be best to learn scuba diving in my situation.

    Thank you,
    Mona.
     
  2. Ontwreckdiver

    Ontwreckdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
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    162
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    You won't have enough time to do an open water course during a day stop at an island. I suggest you try a discover scuba or "resort course" it will only take one day but you won't be certified to dive. I would contact your local dive shop about doing the open water course. At the very least do all your book work, tests, exam and confined (pool) dives at home and do your open water dives somewhere warm.
     
    eleniel, GrafCanuck and Kimela like this.
  3. Outbound

    Outbound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Michigan
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    147
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    How keen are you to get certified? If you are pretty sure that you want to get OWD certified, then sign up for a course at home and, like Ontwreckdiver suggests, do your classroom work and pool dives near home. The four open water checkout dives for OWD require at least two days. PADI requires that no more than three training dives be done in a single day, so you will do Dives #1 and #2 on the first day and Dives #3 and #4 on the second day. It is certainly much nicer to do these open water dives in warm, clear water, but you may not have that luxury. If not, you can do them wherever your local shop does theirs - often a quarry if in a landlocked state. But getting your OWD certification complete before your cruise would be the best option because it frees up your cruise time for actual dives and not training.

    If you aren't sure whether you will like diving, you can try a discover scuba or a scuba diver course. The Scuba Diver cert is a subset of the full OWD certification. It requires that you stay above 40' and that you always dive with a guide. You can read up on it at PADI's website. There might be analogs in the other training agencies, but I'm not familiar with those. To me, the Scuba Diver certification isn't really worth it because you may as well invest the time and money just going for full OWD. But you might think otherwise and that's fine. Some people only ever want to dive while with a guide and don't care to go too deep.

    Discover Scuba Diving is a good way to "test the waters" if you aren't sure you are going to like diving.
     
    delacrue96 and Ontwreckdiver like this.
  4. monalisa2000

    monalisa2000 Garibaldi

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    Thank you from your response - I am only going to do Discover Scuba Diving to test the waters. I am again a very beginner swimmer.

    Can you guys recommend which island is best (Grand Cayman, Cozumal or Costa Maya) for Discover Scuba Diving
     
    eleniel and BlueTrin like this.
  5. Ontwreckdiver

    Ontwreckdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
    967
    162
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    Any of the 3 islands will be fine. Since this will be your first time diving everything will be new and exciting to you anyways.
     
  6. mi000ke

    mi000ke Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Massachusetts & Grand Cayman Island
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    This is exactly how I got into diving - first did a few discovery dives while on a few cruises, then decided to get certified. Any of the islands will be fine for a discovery dive (but of course I am biased toward GC :) ), but make sure that your cruise schedule fits with the dive shop's discovery dive schedule. If you search here on Scubaboard you will find tons of recommendations for dive operators in each of those islands. Email them to see if they can accommodate your schedule. I never had a problem finding at least one recommended dive op in each port that worked.

    Another possible option is to see if the cruise ship is running a discovery dive excursion (not a regular dive excursion; make sure it is for a discovery or "resort" dive for uncertified divers). While the cruise ship dive excursions are not necessarily the best for experienced divers (usually because of the crowds and mix of skill levels), with a discovery dive you will have your own instructor and the dive will be limited as to the number of divers and all will be of the same skill level, so it's not really a problem and you won't have to worry about schedules.
     
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
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    I agree with all points here.
    Though I have questioned the true purpose of the swim and float tests in the OW course (this has been argued to death), my advice is to learn to swim with a proper stroke and no life vest, fins or any other aids. It is a life skill that IMO everyone doing anything in or near water you can't stand in should have.
    Even though at best, swimming is a distant cousin to scuba diving.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  8. Snoweman

    Snoweman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
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    Of the three, I would recommend Grand Cayman, EXCEPT there's something MUCH better to do there with your family. You're only going to have the day there. Go on the sandbar feeding of the stingrays. I've done both the stingray city sandbar and the stingray city dive. By far, the sandbar is a much better experience. You can step on these creatures and they will not sting you. They are just so lovable, and you get to interact with them much more when your face is above the water. Go home with a great experience to tell all your friends about. Learn to scuba when you have more time (preferably in a warm destination like FL).
     
  9. Doc Harry

    Doc Harry Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Appalachia
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    The ocean currents in Cozumel would make that a more difficult place for a newbie to try scuba.
     
  10. Snoweman

    Snoweman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    1,623
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    That may, or may not, be true. My first visit to Coz had me reeling from what I thought were ripping currents. The other, much more experienced Coz divers came up saying how tame the currents were. My next couple of visits were similar to the the first one - currents that ran along the wall at a usual speed. Nothing hairy or out of the ordinary. I think the average diver could handle it (because I am an average diver).

    My last visit was wild. On one of my dives I pretty much only saw sand for a unique thing to see. These were sand tornadoes, and there were a lot of them. It's exactly like it sounds. Vortexes of sand, just like dust devils - and a lot of them. That meant the current was going every which way it wanted. I had wanted to dive Santa Rosa Wall while I was visiting, but the diver master said "no" every day because of the currents he was observing on the surface. That didn't keep us from diving, though.

    For a person that's going to go with a dive op that caters to cruise ships, I think that DM will keep them pretty safe, and out of ripping and roaring currents. There are enough dive sites like that for a day tripper.
     

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