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Message Icon Event: A deep obsessin: adventures in scuba - Event Date: 31 Mar 2008 Post Reply Post New Topic
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Quote?scubazine Replybullet Calendar Event: A deep obsessin: adventures in scuba
    Posted: 31 Mar 2008 at 06:48
Written by Andrew Khalil, Videographer
Wednesday, 26 March 2008

I can remember the first time I ever had the feeling of breathing underwater. I was 12 years old and in a pool with several other people, all of whom were sharing the same experience.
From that moment on, it became a lifestyle and a passion, and since I first started scuba diving eight years ago, it has taken me places that most people only see in pictures.
We致e all seen people underwater diving, whether it was on television or on vacation. Many people wonder how they can experience diving for themselves but think of it as being too difficult and expensive or requiring too much training.
Contrary to popular belief, scuba diving is not a very difficult activity to learn. The only prerequisites are good physical health, the ability to swim and some basic math.

The first step is getting your licence, which you can do at one of the many dive shops in and around the Greater Toronto Area.
While there are several certifications you eventually can attain as a diver, your first one is called your open water certification. This licence is valid internationally and does not expire, but it is recommended that you dive at least every six months to keep your skills sharp.
To get the licence, you値l go through a scuba diving course. The course varies depending on the place and certification agency, but in general you can complete your open water course in two weeks to about a month. All courses will be divided into three parts consisting of classroom, pool and open water sessions.
Before you even get wet, you値l be spending roughly half the course time in a classroom setting. It may sound unfortunate, but it is critical to understand several concepts before you池e in the water.
You値l be taught basic physics about pressure and how it affects you while you池e diving. You will be shown videos about safety along with the skills you値l be learning later on in the pool.
The physics portion is important because it痴 crucial to understand how your body is affected by pressure and to calculate how long you can safely stay at a given depth. While there is some math involved, it is very simple and I had no trouble with it even though I was in grade seven at the time. I actually learned many concepts that I would be taught later in high school.
Eventually, the time will come where you値l be off to the pool to actually learn how to dive. Equipment will be provided, but it is usually recommended that you purchase your own mask, fins, snorkel and weights beforehand since these are items that need to fit you much more than the other gear.
Also, if you get cold easily, a wetsuit might be a good idea for the pool. Usually the pool sessions will start with some basic snorkeling skills, such as the proper ways to kick using fins, diving and clearing your snorkel if it fills with water.
After a warm-up, you値l be taught how to assemble your scuba unit and then put it on. After swimming around on the surface to get the feel of it, you値l finally be able to experience your first breath underwater.
From this point on, the instructor will demonstrate and teach all the other essential skills you need to know in order to dive proficiently and safely. The key is to practise them all and make them second nature.
This part of the course is a lot of fun, so don稚 forget to enjoy it and make the most of the time with the instructor ?he or she can help you with specific skills you struggle with.
At the end of the course, you値l have a written exam on which you need to achieve a certain score (usually around 70 percent) in order to pass the course. The exam is mostly multiple choice, and you値l have more than one attempt if things don稚 go as well as they should.
Once you pass the exam, there is one last thing you need to accomplish before you can be a certified diver ?your open water dives. Just like it sounds, you値l be leaving the pool and diving in the real world.
In the GTA, most dive shops will take you to Georgian Bay or Tobermory for a weekend. These are both excellent locations with clear, shallow water and many shipwrecks to explore, making for an interesting first few dives. There are closer locations, but generally expect this step to take a weekend.
If you would rather do it somewhere warmer, like during your next vacation, a letter from the instructor can be obtained explaining that you致e completed the classroom portion and would like to do the open water dives elsewhere. Your first four dives can be considered your in-water exam ?you値l have to prove to your instructor that you池e capable of diving without constant assistance and that you can do it safely.
After you come back, you値l be ready to dive with friends away from your instructor, giving you the freedom to truly explore and enjoy the new world you致e just received a passport to.
Since I was 12 years old, diving has taken me countless places like the Red Sea, where I was underneath cathedral-like reef walls, to the Bahamas, where I was surrounded by countless sharks and could truly respect them for their beauty and grace, something people often don稚 associate with sharks.
In the end, diving has taught me more about the ocean than any number of TV shows. By learning how to dive and accept the challenges that came with it at an early age, diving gave me an appreciation for life itself, and it痴 something I would encourage anyone to try. Chances are you値l find a whole new world to explore.

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