A year ago, if you had asked me to strap a tank on my back and dive 70ft below sea level, I would have definitely laughed in your face. I certainly balked at John the first time he brought up the idea of us scuba diving together a few years back. My answer to him was always a definitive no. What if something were to go wrong? What if I ran out of air or my lungs collapsed or I drowned in a murky abyss? I had so many reasons and excuses for not wanting to dive that I didn’t consider what could actually go right. It turns out, a whole lot.
I can’t be sure now what made me cave in the end; John’s patient coaxing or the spirit of our 365 Day Project. Whatever it was, I am grateful for it, as I now return home a certified, bona fide, giddy little scuba diver. I’ve dived in the second largest barrier reef in the world. Swam amongst schools of Creole fish, Lion fish and iridescent coral. I’ve touched sea cucumbers and star fish. I’ve watched a giant Loggerhead turtle and a giant lobster just chill in their natural habitat. I’ve experienced a whole, miraculous other world that has truly blown my mind and humbled me to the core – and it’s only just the beginning. Up next, we’d like to do some ship wreck diving in the Great Lakes. Southern Ontario is apparentaly littered in them.
Special thanks to John for your support and encouragement. Thanks to Aquarius Scuba in Toronto for your top notch training program. Thanks to Sea Sports Belize and our open water dive instructors (I was a nervous mess and your humour was what calmed me), and thanks to Giovani at Avadon Divers for helping us get through our fish identification and drift dives.
[For those interested in the specifics of PADI and our certification process, feel free to read on]:
To become a PADI certified scuba diver, you are required to complete both in-class and in-pool training before heading out to dive in open water. We did our training with Aquarius Scuba a week before our trip to Belize. Training consisted of a full-weekend program of five knowledge modules and a series of technique and safety based skills.
We then did our four required “open water dives” with Sea Sports Belize to become certified “Open water divers.” (These guys were 100% awesome and knowledgable and serious about their craft. We highly recommend them).
We then completed two of our five required adventure dives
with Avadon divers in Placencia, Belize, to begin our journey
towards the next level of PADI certification, “advanced open water diver.”
You can learn more about PADI certification here.