Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Scuba Sunday

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Total Black: $2,958.16
Total Red: $269,991.43

I spent all day today learning how to scuba dive.  S.C.U.B.A., for those who don’t know, is an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.  A local dive shop here in St. Croix, the Cane Bay Dive Shop, has a local rate to get PADI certified for Open Water Diver certification.  I started the day with a Discover Scuba Diving course, a sort of snapshot of scuba diving to expose you to the activity without forking over the entire amount to get full certification.  Well . . . that’s at least how they advertise it.  It was a full-on experience, scuba diving over the beautiful Caribbean coral reefs.  I liked it so much I may seek to get certified as an instructor.  That could be a great part-time job. 

The Discover Scuba Diving course includes an approximate 45-minute dive, learning the basics of underwater breathing and handling scuba gear.  It’s a great way to get exposed to diving.  I probably wouldn’t have taken the time today to dive if that course wasn’t an option.  It lets you get a taste of diving without the commitment.  Not smart to throw down hundreds of dollars only to find out when you first submerge that you’re claustrophobic!

When I showed up this morning I was told that I would be joining a group from the Wisconsin National Guard, here in St. Croix to help restore a national park, the Salt River Bay, historical landing site of Columbus on his second voyage to the New World.  Well, these army guys didn’t have Columbus as their captain because they showed up late.  I wasn’t crazy about having to dive with a bunch of strangers, particularly hyper-testosteroned army ones.  As it turned out, I got a one-on-one lesson with my dive instructor.  Aside: that isn’t me or my instructor in that photo.  Just to help convey the visual.  It was that beautiful though.

The good thing about the Discover Scuba Diving course is that you can roll the money and the hours over into the full-certification course.  When we first went into the water, I was a bit panicky.  I kept breathing rapidly and frantically.  But then I just relaxed.  My mask gave me the most discomfort, not breathing underwater.  It was even relaxing to have to take long deep breaths.  Once I adjusted, I decided upon returning to the shop that I’d sign up for the course. The Discover Scuba Diving course cost $60.00.  Rolling it over into the full Open Water Diving certification course cost another $140.00—$200.00 total.  Not bad I’m told.  The worker in their downtown Christiansted shop had quoted me $225.00.  That price is half the cost of another local dive shop, N2 the Blue, that charges $400.00 total.  Certainly a better deal with Cane Bay.  I opted to stay behind this afternoon to watch four hours of required video lessons.  I have to read a book and then complete five more dives and I’ll already be in the second lighter-blue bubble below.  I completed the first one this afternoon.

I really enjoyed the experience and may even want to see it through to further and further advanced certifications.  It’s a significant investment to climb one’s way up to Master Scuba Diver or even Divemaster.  But I’ve got the time.  Just need the money.  And tourist season isn’t upon us so no better time than the present.

2 Responses

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  1. Sounds fun…I’d love to do that with my wife as I’m sure it is very beautiful.

    Too bad she has some kind of fish phobia…I think she’d get over that though. Do you think immersion (exactly…) therapy right into a school would cure her?



    July 26, 2010 at 06:35

  2. I wouldn’t recommend the “immersion” (or submersion) method for anyone. I don’t know really if that’s how its supposed to work. But then again, I guess so. How else do you “discover” scuba diving unless you’re out in open waters. No one will pay $60.00 to discover it in a pool. I guess by doing that course first, you end up bypassing the pool courses. Or maybe the dive shop I went to just doesn’t have access to a pool.

    But if your wife is freaked out by the fish, I don’t know that I’d go for any expedited course. Make sure she can breathe underwater first, knows the hand-signals and equipment, knows not to bolt to the surface to get air—depending on how deep and how long down people can end up in a decompression tank after a rapid rise, fighting off “the bends”—and on and on. Last thing anyone wants is panic attack or hyperventilation because someone got startled underwater by a crazy fish or a sting ray swims by. Not good for the diver, the instructor, or the others in the class.

    Don’t forget—you can always do it alone. Couples aren’t joined at the hip, you know. I know you said you’d like to scuba with her, but perhaps you could do it first, bring back photos and “live to tell” about it, and then coax her into it.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 26, 2010 at 07:30

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