Diving Aruba

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So You Think You Might Want To Scuba Dive?

It took me many years to get up the courage to even try scuba diving. During our first trip to Aruba my husband after 5 days, was starting to get bored. I said "go find something to do". He decided to take a scuba diving "resort course". He chose to dive with Pelican Watersports and was very satisfied with them.

They spend the morning at the swimming pool. Here the instructor takes you through the basics, step by step, on the equipment and it's set up and how to use it. You will get into the pool and learn how to breath with and familiarize you with the equipment. Then you will learn how to descend to the bottom, get back to the surface and how to deal with emergencies. Also how to help you NOT to panic. Now your ready for the ocean!

Most of the operators in Aruba use the Pedernales for the resort course dive. The dive is no more that 25 feet deep. It is an older wreck, spread across the bottom at a shallow depth of 25-28 feet. You will never ever be in the water alone. Besides the instructor(s) and dive guides you never dive without a "buddy". Now don't worry you won't have to find someone to participate with you. You will be paired with someone else. Sometimes your buddy will even be the instructor! Once you are in the water and down on the bottom, you will be amazed! The beauty and the colors are beyond description. At that depth you will be in the water for about 30 minutes swimming above and around the wreck and corals. You would then receive the signal to begin your return to the surface, with your buddy of course.

Once you have the sensation of floating under water like an astronaut in space, you should be hooked! There are always plenty of people around, just in case something happens. The dive itself is shallow enough that should a serious problem occur, you would be able to shoot up to the surface like a cork. This depth is not much deeper than some snorkeler's dives!

Assuming all goes well, after that you are allowed to do one dive per day no more that 40' deep and are not allowed to go into any overhead environments. i.e. Wrecks, Planes, etc.

Ask for the resort Certificate/Card. This identifies you as having taken the course and will allow you to dive as a resort diver for the entire week with out having to repeat the lecture. If you go to a different company that the one you took the course from they may require you to go back into the pool and demonstrate you can do the skill acceptably. I know Pelican Watersports and Red Sail Watersports give them out, however I am not sure of the rest. There should be either no charge or a very minimal one.

My husband ended up liking his dive so much that upon returning home he went for his open water certification. The following February, in Jamaica, Jerry convinced me to "try on the equipment" in the swimming pool. My biggest fear was my ears and balancing the pressure. What a piece of cake! Then I couldn't get out on that dive boat fast enough. I ended up getting not one, but 2 certifications that week. My husband in the meantime has become a Divemaster. I guess you could say that we like it.

If you are serious about learning to dive and getting your full certification I strongly suggest that you take your classroom training prior to Aruba. I did my "cert" while on vacation since I didn't have a "normal" schedule at home and it worked well for me, but I do not recommend it for a fun in the sun, beach vacation. This vacation all I did was dive during the day, read and study until midnight every night and then get up and do it all over again. But now it is all finished and I have my open water certification along with my advanced OW "cert". 

All of the large resort hotels have watersport operators on their premises who offer both certification and resort courses. Red Sail at the Marriott, Allegro and Hyatt. Pelican at the Holiday Inn, Radisson and La Cabana. For convenience, Pelican's boats go out from in front of the Holiday Inn and Red Sail's boats go out from in front on the Hyatt/Occidental (the Hyatt and Occidental are next to one another). 

Three good organizations I would recommend are Pelican Watersports, Red Sail Watersports and Unique Sports. Dive safe and always dive with a buddy. Happy bubbles!

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