Monday, April 11, 2011

Scuba Certification

This weekend was incredibly busy for me.  I spent the last four days getting my scuba certification, which was incredibly time-consuming, but also one of my goals while in Hawaii.  I had never been scuba diving before, but found it to be a lot of fun.  The first two days were spent in a pool just practicing various skills that are necessary for the certification.  For example, you have to practice what happens if your mask falls off (or gets kicked off) or what happens if you run out of air or how to rescue an unconscious person at the bottom of the ocean.

After the first two days, our second two days were spent in the ocean doing actual dives.  We did two tank dives on Saturday and Sunday.  Each tank has 3,000 psi (or about 45-60 minutes of breathing time).  Saturday and Sunday were more practice drills and skills tests, but we also got to look for cool stuff.  The places we went - Electric beach and Ala Moana beach - were not the coolest dives in the world, but they were still pretty awesome.  I think I was most surprised by the great visibility.  It was, for the most part, like being in a pool.

Electric beach is called that because it is right next to an electrical power plant on the West side of O'ahu.  There is a big pipe in the water where the plant takes in cold water and pushes out hot water.  A reef has developed around it and there are thousands of fish living there.  When we got in the water, we swam through two giant schools of fish (I don't know what kind of fish).  It was like swimming inside an aquarium.  On Sunday, we went to Ala Moana beach and although the visibility was not quite as good, we swam right next to a huge sea turtle (pictured below), which was pretty cool.

Picture taken by one of the other divers
So now the advantage of having a scuba certification is that I can go on boat dives through local dive shops for about $65-75 instead of the $250 they usually charge tourists.

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