|How to Get the Most From Your 'Learn to Dive' Holiday?|
As part of my business, I get a lot of people looking to book up a diving holiday so they can learn to dive in the sunshine (usually Egypt). I've personally been diving in Egypt for years and consider it to be one of the best places in the world and as a PADI Divemaster, it's a subject I'm always happy to talk about.
For the novice, Egypt is an excellent place to learn to dive. The weather is always great, the water is always warm, the visibility is always good and the sea is generally quite calm. However, the problem is that when you go off to nice warm destinations such as Egypt, your time there is limited. If you are learning to dive, you want as much time as possible in the water not spending time with your head stuck in a book.
So how do you get round this problem? The answer is actually quite simple. When learning to dive, the initial course is essentially split into 3 parts; theory, confined water dives and open water dives. The theory part of the course involves reading a manual and understanding some basic concepts of the sport. The confined water dives are performed in a swimming pool where you learn a number of skills such as clearing your mask underwater (don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds). These skills are completed over the course of a couple of dives and once they are to a sufficient standard, they are repeated in the open water (ie - the ocean).
Many people don't realise that you don't need to complete the whole course in a consecutive days and those wanting to learn to dive can use this to their advantage. I generally advise people that their best option is to complete the theory and confined water dives at a local dive centre. This means that once they arrive at their holiday destination, all that remains is to complete their open water dives and they are certified. In turn, this means they have an extra 3 days of their holiday left to enjoy their new found status as certified scuba divers which would otherwise be spent studying or in the swimming pool.
The way to do this is quite simple. The most popular entry level diving certification is the PADI Open Water Course so what you need to complete prior to travel is the Open Water Referral. This covers the 3 days of theory and confined water elements of the Open Water course. Once completed, all that remains is to complete the final 4 open water dives which is usually done over 2 days whilst you are in your holiday resort.
The way to do this is quite simple.
1. Find your local dive centre which will be listed in the Yellow Pages and give them a call to tell them your situation. Explain that you want them to take the Open Water Referral (theory and confined water dives). This shouldn't be a problem for any dive centre and they will discuss when you can complete this.
2. Contact the dive centre in your holiday resort to book the final part of your Open Water course which may also be called Open Water Referral. They will advise you what you need to bring along and the final 4 dives normally have to be completed no later than 12 months after the theory and confined water modules.
3. Complete the theory and confined water dives before heading off to your holiday resort.
4. At your resort, spend just 2 days instead of 5 completing the final 4 open water dives and congratulations, you are now a certified scuba diver with most of your holiday ahead of you.