San Pedro is a diving community and “if you don’t dive”
as I’ve heard it said many times, “It’s like going to Aspen and not skiing.”
If you are visiting San Pedro and would love to try the
thrill of being underwater, you might consider diving in a one day Scuba Diving
experience. Although to get fully Scuba certified takes approximately four
days, you can meet with your instructor at 8:00 a.m. and finish your first dive
Once you have discovered Scuba and it is something you
would love to pursue, this one-day experience is also taking a big step towards
getting certified. San Pedro has a long list of dive operations and many good
diving instructors that can introduce you to scuba diving. Your hotel will
offer you an opportunity to connect with one and all you need to do is say that
you want to try a “Discover Scuba Diving” course. The prices for this unique
and amazing experience ranges from $150 US to $200 US and will include
everything you need.
At the dive shop, you will be shown a short video of
what to expect. Your instructor will help you select and try on your gear.
Remember: you can always use the same mask and fins you use while snorkeling.
Try on different masks until you find one that fits comfortably and probably
won’t leak – Tight is bad.
Your tank of air and regulator will also be provided.
The regulator forms a part of a flotation jacket called a BCD (Buoyancy Control
Device) – a fancy jacket that holds the tank and fills with air when a button
is pushed in order to float you.
The first dive is in a pool, shallow enough to stand in.
Your instructor guides you step by step while you take your first breath
underwater. Emphasis is placed on the golden rule of diving, “Never hold your
breath.” You and your instructor will go under water and take the regulator out
of your mouths and make bubbles together. Instructors call this the “fried egg
test,” because when they do this with first time dive students, sometimes
behind the faceplate of the mask, the student’s eyes look like two fried eggs.
Expect to learn a little sign language so you can
communicate underwater. Divers use the OK sign for answering a question often.
It is not hard to pick up the underwater lingo and be making up your own in
After learning to find your regulator if it falls out of
your mouth while you are laughing, getting water out of your mask, and
practicing breathing from your buddy’s extra regulator, you’ll be going on a
dive. When you get on a dive boat with all the certified divers, you are going
to want to look as much like a pro as possible, so here is a short list of do’s
Do make sure you’re budded up with another diver
preferably your instructor. Good buddies are always there ready to help out if
Don’t ride to the dive site with your fins and mask on,
that’s about a 10 on the dive nerd scale. There is plenty of time to on your
gear after you arrive at the dive site.
Don’t wear your mask on your forehead while on the
surface of the water. This means distress to the rescue divers and they will
tow you back to the boat.
Do be very careful not to touch the corals, they are
delicate and grow extremely slow.
Do listen to the dive briefing. A dive master will tell
you how to get in and out of the boat, how deep the dive will be, how long you’ll
be underwater, and what you are likely to see.
Diving is a trip into another world where we are the
visiting aliens. In San Pedro, on a forty-minute dive, you are likely to see
green moray eels, nurse sharks, southern stingrays, spotted eagle rays,
barracuda and several types of fishes, coral, sea grass – the sights are
Usually the boar ride back from the site is chilly, you
are wet and the wind makes a light, dry sweatshirt feel good. Back at the dive
shop, divers rinse off and sign each other’s log book. Divers keep records of
where they were, the depths and times and what they saw.
The Instructor’s signature in your logbook will credit
you for the first of four dives needed for your full open water certification.
Rules are, after you have had the “Discover Scuba Diving” experience with your
instructor and want to dive again (and you will) you should be buddies with a
dive master and not deeper that 40 feet.
The “Go Dive” book, the instruction manual used, says,
“Learning to dive empowers people to meet goals and may lead to high levels of
excitement and adventures not intended for those who still rely on their floaties
or for channel surfing couch potatoes.”
(Photos Contributed by Harriette Fisher)