Diving into a whole new world

Diving into a whole new world

Over this past President’s Day Weekend, my family and I decided that we would begin working on the long process to become certified scuba divers. Our family went to a place called Captain’s Corner in Key West, Florida in order to start the diving course.

The process began with the five of us watching a videography course made by PADI, the organization who sets up the requirements needed to be completed in order to become certified. PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors. This videography course is broken up into five parts, with each part being close to an hour long.

Throughout the videos, we had to take tests in order to assure that we understood what we were watching. After watching these videos, my mom realized that scuba diving might not be for her.

This left my dad, and my younger brother and sister to continue our journey. We then got into the pool in order to demonstrate the skills we had just learned. We were running out of time because you can’t scuba dive within 18 hours of flying because of the drastic pressure changes, so we had to get out of the pool and head back home.

We knew that we still had a lot to complete if we wanted to become divers so we came back to Captain’s Corner over spring break. In the time it took us to come back, my sister decided that she did not want to learn to scuba dive any more. This left my brother, dad, and me to complete the course. The next part of the curriculum required us to complete many different skills in a pool. This took about seven hours to finish. After this rigorous day, we were exhausted but were eager to continue because the next part of our training required us to go into the ocean.

We woke up the next day anxious to finally get into the water. We assembled our gear, put on our wetsuits, and counted down the minutes until the boat ride to the reef was over. They started calling people to jump into the water,  and I knew that my turn was coming up. I gritted my chattering teeth as I walked to the end of the boat preparing to jump in. The instructor asked me if I was ready, began the countdown, and then pushed me as I jumped into the cold water.

Shortly after this, we began our descent underwater. I’ll never forget what it felt like to be able to breath thirty feet underwater for the first time, but it was absolutely incredible. It felt as if there was brand new world that I was finally able to be apart of.

At one point in the dive, I was chasing a fish and managed to wander away from  the group. When I realized what had happened, I was absolutely terrified. I kept spinning around in circles hoping to see another diver but did not. I remembered my instructor telling me to go up to the surface if I ever got lost and right as I was about to, saw another diver and quickly joined my group again.

A few minutes later, we got out of the water, switched our tanks, and were ready to get back in to start our second dive. In order to become certified, you must complete four open-water dives. The second dive was very similar to the first one, but as I became more comfortable in the water, I started noticing how beautiful everything was. We saw some very cool fish, crabs, coral, and even a lobster.

We then completed some more skills in order to prove that we could do them underwater. After our second dive, we got back in the boat and headed to the dock in order to log our hours and go back to the hotel.

When we showed up the second day, we were told that it was going to be very windy. I was very hesitant to go and even asked if we could go back out another time. Luckily, my dad convinced me to complete my last two dives, and I am very glad he did.

We drove out to the reef and jumped off of the boat, eager to rejoin the underwater world. This time, we had to complete more difficult underwater skills including taking our masks completely off of our heads for a whole minute then putting them back on and clearing the water out.

I was very nervous to do this, as I knew we were going to be 30 feet underwater. I was able to complete this task with ease, and was ready to continue exploring. We got out of the water and then went back in, in order to complete our final dive.

I made sure to take a good look around this time, realizing that I might not ever see this part of the ocean again. As we got out of the water and onto the boat, our diving instructors pronounced us as certified scuba divers.

This was such a rewarding feeling as it felt like all of our hard work was paid off. I am so lucky and glad to be given the opportunity to learn to do something that I love.