Ever since I learned about scuba diving, I’ve wanted to do it. I love being underwater. I love the way that the physics I experience on ground is turned on its ear – Underwater I’m weightless, and plants, animals and detris flow in the invisible currents. Sandy bottoms disperse and reform with the slightest encouragement. Light defracts differently than on land. Movement is fluid and graceful. Temperature shifts in inches. In wild environments, I love the foreign critters and plant life. And breathing underwater is such a triumph – a conquering of a foreign environment that still today holds so many mysteries!
So far I haven’t been certified in scuba for two reasons: Money and Necessity. Getting certified in scuba can be pricey, averaging ~$300 for training and certification, figure another ~$100 for the open water dive course, pricey equipment if you decide to invest in owning, and also pricey if you rent. As for necessity: I was raised and currently live in the Midwest, and there’s not a lot of easily accessible diving around here, although Minnesota has more opportunity for freshwater diving that the suburbs of Chicago! Also, I don’t know a lot of people who are scuba-certified, and thus I had no diving buddies.
But I’ve finally decided to do it. I realized that if I died tomorrow, one of my big regrets would be that I never experienced scuba diving, and as easy as it is to get certified…well, that’s a silly thing to regret. Sadly, getting my scuba certification is not without sacrifice – I’m passing on the iPhone that I was planning on getting in May when my Verizon contract comes to an end. I’ll be hanging on to my three separate devices (camera, phone, iPod Touch) for a while longer. Fare well, iPhone, I never knew thee!
I’m getting my certification from the descriptively named Scuba Center in Minneapolis on May 14-16th. I have a Friday night class, and then two classes on Saturday, followed by a pool class on Sunday afternoon. Wham Bam! After that I’ve got six months to do my open water dive.
When I signed up, the store employee went through about 300 forms, which I have laid out on my kitchen table in the picture below. I had to sign my name a couple dozen times, and then finally the swiping of the debit card. It’s official!
Aside from the new diver magazines, class offering descriptions and glossy equipment sales catalogues, I received a two-DVD set and two course books that I have to finish before the first class on May 14th.
The blue text book has five chapters and end-of-chapter quizzes, and is meant to be completed in conjunction with the 3 hours of video training. The Use and Choose Dive Computers manual contains two additional chapters of homework.
Along with all of this, Scuba Center requires students to supply their own mask, fins and snorkel for both hygiene and fit purposes. The scuba mask has to be made of tempered glass and has to fit my face, the fins have to be scuba fins (sturdier, broader from what I understand) and the snorkel is nothing special, but they just want you to use your own. They of course offer excellent deals on their own inventory for new students 🙂
And lastly, I also have a dive buddy! I know of at least one good friend who lives in the area and loves to dive.
Looks like I’m all set.