Is that a flashlight in your wet suit, or are ya happy to see me?

In the great word of travel, be it in your home area, state, country or the world, adventures are everywhere.As I sit contemplating my upcoming adventures, quite frankly my “travel bucket list”, I find myself getting excited at the new possibilities I introduced to my world of travel last summer. There was a form of travel that I had always wanted to try, yet never had for reasons unknown, other than time, courage and the expense of it.

I’m talking Scuba Diving.

The Hilton Waikoloa , Kona

The Hilton Waikoloa , Kona

During the years my feet have taken me around the world, and in many cases to some of the best dive locations one can find, yet I find myself planning to retrace my steps. For whatever reason I didn’t get into scuba, I am so totally thrilled that I finally took the big step, and it was a big step, and splash into the underworld. I want to take you on my journey, and quell any doubts you might have if any of you have wanted to but never have tries this.

I was looking at plans for a three week vacation to New Zealand / Australia down the road, and realized I would be in the dive capitol of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. Was it time to take that step and get certified?  Yes! Off I went to google, seeking out the nearest dive shop offering dive certification. Lucky for me, there was one an hour away, and the classroom work and exams could be done on the internet. Waaahoooo.

First time jumping in

First time jumping in

Also lucky for me as I looked at the dive program and schedule of what needed to be accomplished, that I was also planning a vacation in Hawaii soon. It only took me a couple weeks to complete the on-line part of the PADI Certification, and time now to complete the actual gear and water portions. I researched getting certified, and possibly finishing my certification in Hawaii, I contacted both the dive shop nearby, that offered pool training, and ocean part, or “Open Water” training. I decided to at least get my pool training local, and signed up for that portion of the course.

Next I had to decide if I wanted to complete my open water diving off the coast of Oregon, or in Hawaii. With my decision close at hand, I contacted the PADI Dive Center near the resort on Kona where I would be staying. In three words I had my answer..”are you crazy?” they said. Dive in heavy wetsuit in the cold water, or in your swimsuit in warm tropical waters. Some choice.

I spent two evenings, of approximately two hours each in the pool with my Oregon PADI Instructor, and passed that portion of certification. She filled out her section of paperwork, and off I was to the beautiful island of Hawaii, or “Kona” as its called, and the Hilton Waikoloa.

DSC_0651

If your concerned that you will need to buy thousands of dollars of equipment to dive, forgetaboutit! All you need at this point is a mask, snorkel and fins, the rest is provided for the class. Sure makes sense because if you bought all the gear, and almost drowned, and was never diving again, your stuck selling used gear.

When I met the dive boat and crew of the Kona Honu Divers and my instructor, I will admit that in the back of my mind and pit of my stomach, there were issues. Would I remember what I was taught on-line and in the pool. Would I screw up at the bottom of the ocean and drown? All these, well almost all these fears disappeared after half an hour with my instructor, who reviewed all. By the time I jumped in the ocean with her, I was ready, and the thrill will last me a lifetime.

My first dive in Kona, with Giant Manta's at 90 feet

My first dive in Kona, with Giant Manta’s at 90 feet

After some initial surface class, we descended to the bottom, about 90 feet, to an aquarium of sea life, colors and wonders. I can honestly say that once I went under, I never again thought about breathing, it just comes natural. The first dive lasted about 45 minutes, as did the second, but it seemed like hours, because I was in a world unknown to just about anyone else. I was now part of a very small club, and by the end of the second day, I was all in. All I could think about was my next dive, over a bottle of awesome French Champagne that night.

So if you are like I was, intrigued but hesitating, make the jump! Get your feet wet. My research and writings have opened the door to bottomless bucket list of dive adventures worldwide. Like they say with the lottery, “you can’t win if you don’t play”.

Full Tanks my friends,

Gary

 

About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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