I can\’t emphasize enough to take advantage of every opportunity, especially those that come with being a college student. In my case it was going out of my comfort zone and doing the discounted scuba certification class at the U of A Rec Center. I was a little iffy on whether I could actually do a scuba diving class because it doesn\’t seem very easy, none the less I signed up!
The classes totaled 6, 4-5 hour sessions, some in the pool, some in a classroom setting. They were all through Desert Divers, now known as 72 Aquatics. We went over different snorkeling techniques, the dive table calculations, proper diving techniques, etc. It was so fun and way simpler to pick up than I expected, until the time came to remove our masks under water. This was definitely the most difficult skill to learn for me and I did think at one point it would cause me to not pass the class. One of the instructors took me aside and worked me through it until I was comfortable doing it and once I did it I realized I could do it and it wasn\’t that bad (though in Mexico I still was not happy to do it again).
We all had to take a final test on the material and then 4 open water dives are required to be fully certified. Another classmate, who\’s now my roomie, and I couldn\’t wait to head down to Mexico and finish the certification! On October 30th we left with our instructors headed to San Carlos, Mexico.
I had never been to San Carlos, and it was so beautiful! Our first experience in the water there was a snorkel at Martini Cove, which was filled with baby stingrays covering the sand. The next day we actually dove. Our first three dives, over the 2nd and 3rd day, focused on completing the skills we had learned in the pool, like sharing regulators, taking our weights out, and ascending. During this we saw sea lions (which were incredibly playful), eels, urchins, tons of fish, skates and puffer fish. Not to mention, from the boat we saw dolphins and a whale! That night we ha the yummiest dinner at the Soggy Peso and saw this gorgeous sunset from the beach.
On the fourth dive we were set loose and able to explore on our own as certified divers. My dive buddy and I went to the end of the anchor line and explored around. Everyone else went the complete other direction, so it was a bit unnerving to look around and wait completely alone, but we got past it somehow. Once we were able to find the boat above us we felt more comfortable and began exploring again. We were able to see an eel, a seahorse!!, a huge pufferfish, a massive school of anchovies, lobsters, and more fish. We successfully navigated back to the boat, surfaced, and had completed our first dive in our own.
This 3 years ago now, and 21 dives later, it is still one of the best decisions I made. Now whenever I think I want to try something new, but am nervous to, I make sure to remember this experience and go for it!
Watch for more diving trips in the upcoming St. Thomas & Costa Rica posts!