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SCUBA diving

16 Sep 2006 brcpar said

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Ok, I'm going on the Beeches and Reefs tour in a few months and the SCUBA option looked appealing to me. I have never SCUBA dived before but it says that beginners are welcome as well. My question is though is it worth it if I've never done it before? Or will I be spending most of my time learning how to do it than actually doing it? Also, I've heard of horror stories about people getting there and then being told they couldn't do it because they didn't have a physical from an Australian doctor; if anyone could shed light on that too, it would be great.

- Brce
  • 17 Sep 2006 ptooma said

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    If you plan on taking SCUBA lessons (See ProDive Cairns), talk to your local dive shop about health and preexisting medical conditions regarding diving. There are many medical conditions that will disqualify you from diving !!!! Ask to see the preexisting medical conditions declarations in the package that new student are required to fill out when signing up for Open Water Diver (OWD) Scuba classes. PADI medical declaration form. If any of these apply to you, then you would probably automatically be disqualified from scuba diving. OWD certification is the basic training that allows you to dive anywhere (within OWD limits) without an instructor and is recognized world wide by all agencies (PADI, NAUI, YMCA, BSAC, SSI, etc).


    Other requirements: you need to be is a reasonably decent swimmer who is comfortable and relaxed in the water. The swimming requirement for certification is:

  • 183 metre/200 yard nonstop swim (with no time or specific stroke requirement) or a 300 metre/yard snorkel with mask, fins and snorkel
  • 10 minute simple tread/float exercise.

    I don’t know what the requirements are for the trip, but for my certification (I was certified in Florida), we were NOT allowed to use snorkel gear option … we had to complete the 200 yard swim without any equipment (which is a little tougher I think).

    A critical element is being able to clear your ears (balance the pressure) as you decend. Similarly as your ears pop when you fly in a plane. This is done by the following methods. IF you cannot do this, you will not get certified. The ear pain will prevent you from descending beyond 10 ft.

    Also, make sure you do not get sick before your trip. This may prevent you from clearing your ears and hence not get certified. Infact, you will not be able to decend beyond 10 ft before the ear pressure becomes unbearable.

    The scuba course probably covers all students with a comprehensive insurance. But You can get an additional $25000 coverage for free from DiveAssure.

    Fine print: Student USA, Free Student USA.

    I don’t know if it covers US residents taking Scuba lessons abroad, but contact them for more details.

    If you do sign up, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up an OWD training book and read it before going. I had to do a 50 question multiple choice theory test and get 75%-80% (depending on the training agency) in order to pass. The SSI Open Water Diver Manual book is pretty good (~$8 used from Amazon) or get it with a DVD from your local Scuba store for ~$50. Maybe your local library has the DVD.

    Scheduling … It is critical that you DO NOT schedule ANY flight the next day AFTER diving. You need 1 day of rest or you may experience the bends.

    - Vic

  • 17 Sep 2006 brcpar said

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    All that is very helpful information, but I still have a question. I’m specifically looking at the addon optional excursion on the Beaches and Reefs tour:
    Scuba diving for beginners and certified divers (in addition to Outer Barrier Reef Cruise): From A$65
    Take the opportunity of a lifetime to try scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. You will be assisted with all equipment and training. Introductory dives for beginners and certified dives are available. Anyone is able to participate (subject to medical conditions). Diving is fun and easy – don’t miss out!

    So, if I’m not doing the ProDive deal and just the optional excursion, am I spending more time training how to do it than actually doing it?

  • 18 Sep 2006 ptooma said

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    I would suggest directing this specific question to ProDive and Contiki. Perhaps this is known as Resort Diving – which gives one a taste of Scuba Diving, but you still have to declare your medical conditions.

    - Vic

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