Somewhere in the month leading up to our Thailand trip we decided to get our PADI Open Water Scuba Certification. Neither of us had any experience scuba diving, but we couldn’t think of a better, and more affordable, place for our first dives than Thailand! We opted for a 3-day, 6 dive Open Water course that would certify us to dive down to 18m.
So what does a scuba course entail?
The first half of the day was getting all of the theory and bookwork out of the way. This included a lot of video watching followed by section quizzes and some Q&A. Even with our very limited knowledge coming into the course we were able to cruise through all the courses, quizzes and the final test without much trouble. Not to toot our own horns…but the instructor jokingly asked if we were sure that we hadn’t taken the course before.
After passing a pretty lengthy test, we were taxied over to a training pool for equipment preparation and scuba skills! In the pool, you learn how to deal with different situations that might arise while diving like: losing a respirator, water in your mask, running out of air, your buddy runs out of air, etc. These tests are first mastered in the pool before you complete them in the ocean. In the pool you will also learn how to control your buoyancy as well as the universal hand gestures for communicating underwater. The first day was long and jammed full of information for us first-timers, but if we could power through on minimal sleep, you can definitely get through it!
Day 2 & 3
This is where the real fun begins! Nothing can quite prepare you for that first descent down to the bottom of the ocean. It is a sensation that is completely alien to our bodies.
I’ll be honest, that first descent I was extremely nervous, even being a strong swimmer and comfortable around water, I had a hard time controlling my breathing that first dive. I felt like I could never quite catch my breath. I even postponed the skill test for losing your mask underwater to the next dive. But once you get through all the skills and are able to finally swim around, all the nervousness floats away and you are truly able to appreciate the beauty of our planet beneath the surface.
After taking my mask off underwater in the pool, I really freaked out a bit and couldn’t quite catch my breath. I got a nice swallow of chlorinated water and so I was pretty nervous about our first dive. Once you get a few feet below the waves, it’s so tranquil that relaxing and enjoying it is simple task. The less you think about the fact that you are underwater, the easier it is to relax and take it all in. I even took off my mask and got it back on without any issues! Seeing a happy sea turtle just chomping away on the ocean floor made the whole course completely worth it.
The next descents came easier and controlling our breathing more effectively granted us more dive time on the reefs. We dove off of Racha Noi, Racha Yai, and Koh Phi Phi Leh. The islands above water are breathtaking, especially KPP Leh, but underwater the scenery was equally impressive and diverse. We saw all sorts of tropical fish, stingrays, urchins, sea turtles, and eels. It was unbelievable.
We do recommend doing research before you take a Scuba Course, make sure you don’t have any health issues that could stop you from participating and research a reputable course provider through PADI. We used Super Divers Phuket located in Patong for our course and highly recommend them!
Bottom line, it is definitely worth it to get certified! If you have any questions please comment below and we would be happy to help! Now that we are certified the options for future travels and adventures have expanded even more. Scuba Indonesia? Australia? The Caribbean? Only time will tell, so please subscribe to our mailing list and follow our blog to keep up to date on our adventures here at Engaged Explorers!Is Getting Scuba Certified Worth The Money? by firstname.lastname@example.org