Getting certified as a Scuba Diver was something that had only crossed my mind a couple of times before visiting the Maldives. I’ve always loved being in the water, and had a feeling it was something I’d enjoy, I had just never gotten around to actually booking any courses. In addition to this, I tend to be far too busy on my travels to find the time to spend several days focusing on one thing. In the Maldives, however, we had an entire week with literally no other plans than to relax and enjoy ourselves – and when I discovered that the resort we were staying at had a PADI Diving School there wasn’t much else to do than book the course.
Just in case you didn’t already know – the Maldives are a complete paradise. Our resort was literally just an island, and everything from the sandy beaches and the clear water to the pool area and pathways was incredibly beautiful. Under the surface it was even more so! The ‘House reef’ is just meters off the the island, and we would literally just walk into the water, start diving and see such a vast array of life. It was absolute magic, and an experience I’ll never forget.
The PADI Scuba Diver course
PADI has several courses on your way to become a certified diver. You can start off with a ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ Course, which is what my parents did back in Thailand a while back. This is also what made my mum tell me ‘You have to try it – I know you’ll love it!’. Then there is the ‘Scuba Diver’ course, allowing you to dive with an instructor to depths of 12 metres. The Scuba Diver course is what I did, and is a step towards getting the ‘main’ certification: the PADI Open Water Diver course. I am planning on completing my Open Water Certification in Thailand next month, and I’m so excited for it! The Open Water Certification will allow you to dive down to 18m without an instructor.
The courses are performance based, meaning you move along the course load as you pass the different modules. I did my theory revision on day 1, and completed all the practical tests and dives on the second day of the course. I then went ahead and booked an extra dive, because if was just so much fun!
As I was visiting the Maldives in the off-season, I was lucky enough to be the only person taking the course that week, and was alone with my instructor. This meant we could continue at whatever pace was necessary for me, and not have to worry about other students in the group. I learned a lot, and it is definitely an experience I recommend.
Certain parts of the course are to be completed in ‘confined water’. I took this to mean ‘pool’, which was wrong. We stayed in shallow water, reaching up to my neck when I was standing, were I completed the tests/skills necessary in order to proceed. There were some waves and currents, and so certain skills took me way longer than others. I’m sure this would be the case in a pool as well, to be honest, as we can’t all be naturals at everything. Unfortunately.
After I completed my skills and dives (2 dives are included in the PADI Scuba Diver Course), it was exam time. As I have always been a very theoretically-minded person, I passed with flying colours. We also went through my revision notes, where my instructor explained in detail all areas I was unsure of. I was also given great feedback as to why certain skills were easier for me to complete in the water than others (type ‘this is where you might have gone wrong’). All-in-all, I felt like I learned a lot over those two days, and was confident when I went on my first ‘certified’ dive later on during the trip.
I’ll admit that the course in the Maldives was slightly expensive, especially now that I have been looking at prices for Thailand. However, as we were literally on an island with no competition, I did expect it to be rather expensive. For the PADI Scuba Diver course I paid around 4000 NOK (ca $460 or €440).
So put it mildly, diving was an experience of a lifetime. It was all I could talk about for the rest of the Maldives trip, and for every little thing that was happening around me, I was able to turn it into a way to mention my new-found hobby. You’ll never forget those first breaths underwater, and it is as close to being completely weighless as you can be. I’ve always loved being in the water, and with my new PADI Certification I’m able to explore the ocean in ways I never thought possible. Now I can’t wait to continue the adventure!
For further reading, check out these 10 reasons to Scuba Dive on your next trip by Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad!
Are you certified? If so; where did you get your PADI Certification, and if not; would you want to?
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