SCUBA question???

Posted By: Sunnywa

SCUBA question??? - 04/02/08 06:41 PM

In planning my first vacation to Belize (AC) it seems that if I don't scuba dive it would really be a shame, but here is the problem, I don't dive! I love to snorkel, and I have SNUBA'ed in Hawaii, and one time I did one of the little resort classes in Aruba (but that didn't go so good, and I didn't end up diving), I have looked into taking a class here, but the nearest one is an hour away and is a huge time commitment that is spread out over a three month period. All I want is something a little more than snorkeling, if I spent the time and money to become a cert. diver I wouldn't be able to take advantage of it, and would forget more than I learned between vacations..... So what would you guys advise? Just be happy with the snorkeling? I know that SNUBA isn't widely excepted by true divers, but it was perfect for me because I could go down deeper than I am able to snorkeling for longer, but not all that goes with real diving. Is there anything similar in AC?? Is there some type of "mini SCUBA" class a person could take???

Thanks for the help.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/02/08 07:31 PM

Your best bet is to do a resort course, known by PADI as Discover Scuba Diving. Involves less than an hour of video/classroom & being shown the gear you'll be using, followed by maybe 1/2 hour going over a few basic safety skills & hand signals in shallow water you can stand up in. Then you're off for a dive at a real dive site. The whole thing takes around 1/2 day.

If you want to do it again during your holiday then you don't do the training part again.
Posted By: Bobber

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/02/08 07:36 PM

And that real dive at a real dive site will probably be Hol Chan. In my opinion one of the prettiest shallow dive spots in the Caribbean. Looking the critters right in the eye instead of just looking at their backs is priceless.
Posted By: Belize-N-Us

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/02/08 08:02 PM

You can see most everything you will see on a regular dive by just snoreling Hol Chan / Shark & Ray Alley.

My whole family dives but on our last two trips we just snorkeled and didn't miss the diving at all. Traveling with dive gear is a real pain and trusting rental dive gear is unwise (personal opinion) so just go snorkleling, you'll have just as much fun.

Disclaimer: We have dove many times in many locations so maybe the novalty of diving is wearing off for us?????
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/02/08 08:41 PM

You can also certified by doing your class work over the internet and come down here to do your dives. My nephew did that with Elbert Greer and was thrilled. He had no "class" time once here and just loved the diving
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/02/08 11:38 PM

Yes of course, if you do want to get certified there are several ways to do it, and I like to do it slightly differently from the way Elbert evidently does.

If you have say two weeks with a few evenings free before you come down it's a viable option - you need to find a local PADI dive shop and buy the Open Water Manual and read it. Email the shop here that you intend to use and they should give you additional guidance. Or log onto the website and register with them for on-line learning, though that's a more costly option.

Elbert runs the White Sands dive shop about three miles north of town, and if you're staying anywhere in that area you won't go wrong by using him - he's one of the most experienced instructors around. Write back here for his email address (though I'm sure he's reading this thread).

Otherwise we at Protech would be happy to help you.
Posted By: shred

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 02:49 AM

Someone who catches the scuba bug will find all sorts of places to dive.Local rivers,lakes ,quarry's any water will do.If you really enjoy the scuba experience take the time and get a proper cert.I did almost 20 years ago and it was one of the best things I've ever done.
It gives me an excuse to travel to all these great places and enjoy something that many others can only dream about.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 07:09 AM

Some people can free dive while snorkeling and get down with the fish but some of us cant. Personally I find it takes a lot more exertion to snorkel than it does to dive. I have yet to tire of diving at Hol Chan. The experience of having HUGE schools of fish that you can latterly swim into and swim with is awesome.
You have been given some very good advice by some very good people. I like to recommend that people do their class room work at home and bring a referral with them. You can do PADI, SSI, NAUI, and possibly some others. The instructors here have various certifications.
There is no reason that any training should take 3 months. The most I have experienced is six weeks and I have known people who got private lessons and were done in a week.
I suggest you do some research ---- And NOTHING beast SCUBA!
Posted By: seashell

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 07:19 AM

May the novelty of diving never wear off for me!! Sure, there are days where I don't get the exact same thrill. Usually, that is because I am tired from other activities. And then, of course, I have hundreds of dives off of Ambergris Caye and so one day a dive site that I've done dozens of times before, may not be as thrilling as a completely new dive site at a new (to me) island.

All that said, I do still get thrilled. As I was telling Canuk-diver the other day, I was dropping down onto a site I've been on many many times before and somehow or other, a nurse shark or two managed to get tangled about in my legs as I kicked down. What are the chances???!!! So yeah, back to the WOW factor, just like that!!

And look at Harriette, who no doubt, has many many more dives off Ambergris Caye than do I . . she's still thrilled, thrilled!! Heck, look at Everette . . can't even imagine how many dives he's got and also it is his work . . and still . . still . . he can be thrilled, thrilled . . .

Taking up SCUBA changed my life and I mean, completely changed my life and the only thing I regret about it, is that I didn't take it up sooner.
Posted By: Neecee

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 02:53 PM

How about the free "Try-Dive" at Portofino's on Mondays! It's in their new pool and Ecologic's equipment is brand new, which you can also rent to snorkle and dive. Otherwise, PADI and SDI offer their course work on line, which you can do from the comfort of your own home, then once you're here you can do your pool and your 4 open water dives for your certification.
Or the 1/2 day DSD course, like the TryDive, would meet your needs.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 03:04 PM

The on-line courses are a money-making venture for the agencies. I work with students doing the PADI one, but I still prefer and recommend a different "distance learning" approach, one that I've been operating for years, simply because I think it's better for the student. It's also cheaper (for the student).
Posted By: Bobber

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 03:05 PM

I have been to resorts where they give you a basic rundown and then let you puddle about in the pool for a bit to get comfortable, kind of just to set you up for the money shot of a resort course or full course. We have some friends that did that in the DR, and decided they then wanted to get full certified. They never regretted it, and the tipping point was flopping around in 4 feet of water in a pool for an hour.
I agree with Harriette. The past two trips did not dive but snorkeled. A lot more work snorkeling, and fun, but it ain't diving. smile
Posted By: elbert

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/03/08 03:06 PM

Originally Posted by shred
Someone who catches the scuba bug will find all sorts of places to dive.Local rivers,lakes ,quarry's any water will do.If you really enjoy the scuba experience take the time and get a proper cert.I did almost 20 years ago and it was one of the best things I've ever done.
It gives me an excuse to travel to all these great places and enjoy something that many others can only dream about.

Shred, That is it exactly. If you don't mind I'm going to use that quoat on my blog...good one and right on!
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 12:12 AM


You said it! Not only do I still get thrilled I still occasionally get an anxiety attack.
I think it is important to share this kind of information with others for me especially women.
Before I lived here - on my first dive of every trip whether it was in the south pacific, Atlantic or Caribbean I would go through this terrible routine.

Why am I doing this? Im going to die, I know I cant breath, ect.

Then I would have to simply decide I would rather die than embarrass myself and go over or in! By the time I got to the bottom I would be asking myself What was all that nonsense? This is fabulous!

That had not happened for a few years then Sunday I found myself wanting to chicken out on diving on Monday. I just went diving anyway and WOW!

For you out there who are still reluctant I want to beg you to try it. I was 57 when I got certified and am now 70 and still in love with this sport. Im also fat and my body feels better in the water, neutrally buoyant than anyplace on earth.
Posted By: kaybee

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 12:51 AM

All of you long time divers are making me so excited for my next trip! I've been to AC twice and snorkeled both times at places like Hol Chan, Blue Hole, etc. and I loved it.

I just signed up to do the scuba classroom and pool work at home, in the States, and I plan on coming to AC this summer to do the referral dives. Assuming I that pass, will I be ready to go to the Blue Hole and Turneffe on that same trip or is diving there too much to handle for a beginner?
Posted By: sharyn and bob

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 01:26 AM


You said it perfectly. When I was 51 I decided I was going to Australia, and if I was going there I better see the Great Barrier Reef. If I was going to see the reef, I better do it properly. Next thing I knew I was enrolled in Frank White's PADI course.

I love scuba and I am sometimes afraid. But once I am in the water and swimming with the fishes there is nothing else. I can't think of anything better except.... well that's a different story. What I did in Australia was be honest. I told them I am a new diver, hardly any dives under my belt and nervous. For an extra $10.00 a day I had my own dive guide to hold my hand and watch over me. There was nothing like it. Now I just tell them I am "high-maintenance" and no one cares.

You go girl.... maybe someday we can go together.

Posted By: seashell

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 01:41 AM

kaybee, if you just took up skiing would you go on the Black Diamond run after your lessons? Save the Blue Hole and Turneffe, until you will truly appreciate them.

You are going to be just loving what you see on the local dives, that they will be more than special enough.

Scubaldy, I get a bit anxious from time to time too. It's almost always because I'm tired that day, for one reason or another. I know I need to do more exercise and lose more weight so that I feel more confident of being able to care for myself, let alone others, whilst on the surface and reboarding. I almost never experience any anxiety as long as I am below the surface. That said, I had a little elevator ride last month, that took me from 60' to 30' before I got hold of it. That made me a bit anxious. smile
Posted By: suecate

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 02:24 PM

I can relate to the anxiety attacks - being relatively new to diving and only warm water can't do the 7mm wet suit required up here in the northeast. I take my security blankets with me my camera and my husband once I get down and start snapping I am a happy girl. I started when I was 44 so it is never to late.

I also tell the Dive Master that I am high maintenance and I think it gives them something new to do since they sometimes go the same places a couple of times a day. I have trouble on the ascent and they are so great taking my hand so I don't zoom up. Can't say enough nice things about the DM's in AC. We also have a separate DM for my daughter (10) well worth the money.

Going back to snorkeling is hard when you know what you are missing down below.
Posted By: elbert

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 03:40 PM

I've got a tip for you suecate
I've launched over 2000 students on the first dive of their life and seen a few anxious faces on the surface before the dive starts.
I've learned to tell them to 'look under the boat', I say it with some excitement like there is something under the boat I want them to see. This gets the face under and looking around and avoids that slow sinking as the water line rises feeling that reminds them of an Alfred Hitchcox movie. :-)
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 03:53 PM

What a great exchange of experiences. I have a web site that I have not updated since I moved here but I do have a lot of underwater photos there - especially in the section on Belize.
Please don't leave a message for me there as I have forgotten how to retrieve them. LOL
Posted By: suecate

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 05:11 PM

If i look at the water I get seasick so it's best to just go in backwards and get the anxiety over with. It is so worth it...
Posted By: seashell

Re: SCUBA question??? - 04/04/08 08:06 PM

Right on Elbert!! Many, many years ago, as a new diver, I went to St. Martin and upon my backroll, got my mask messed up, which led to a little surface panic. That's what the DM kept saying to me, "just look down, just look down". Once I was able to hear him, I did look down and everything was so peaceful. Suddenly, I could remember how to clear my mask and all my other training. I had a quite lovely dive.

Since then, I've told others to do the same, if they were having problems or nerves. On the rare occasion that I feel a bit of tension on the surface these days, I just remind myself, all I have to do is look down. Even if I don't look down, the mere idea that I know, is enough.
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