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For many, many years I've been meaning to get dive certified. But like so many other things it got pushed back and the next you know I'm 62 wishing I'd done it 30 years ago.

With a planned trip to Kona I thought what a great place to do the open water portion of the course. So I finally got off my ass and did the academic/pool work here in CO. 

Thoughts on training, where to go, what is really needed as opposed to nice have equipment?

Looking forward to a new chapter in life that is sure to suck me in causing massive dollar disbursement.

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Know a gent that worked for US Divers for several years...  he did it all for them, including the military sales... he got to know the Cousteau family as they owned the company for a while.

His advice to me regarding equipment, spend money and get the best mask, snorkel, and fins and rent everything else or buy it second-hand.   As he put it, people go out and buy stuff, use it a handful of times, and then it sits for several years. 

Taking the advice, I scored on some top-line Scuba Pro regulators with gauges and BC for about 25 cents on the dollar...  If you do go second hand, give the regulator to a dive shop and have them rebuild it regardless.  I used to do this before any trip the required an airline ticket.

As for learning, I did mine while in college as it was offered as a PE class - knocked out one requirement.  We did all of our dives at the Channel Islands, off the coast of Ventura / Santa Barbara pretty diverse area.

Good luck

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Once you're comfortable in the water and have your good mask/fins etc (above is good advice btw), I suggest hooking up with a freediving/spearfishing outfit. I found that SCUBA got a little "samey" and all the gear was a pain in the ass to haul around. Freediving was more fun and really challenging. And tasty. At the very least it's a different look at the sport and a fun way to break up a week of dealing with BCDs and gas tanks and "oh look, there's a nudibranch" - which gets old fast.

 

 

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Diving since 76. My view - less is more..…..certainly at the beginning. When diving locally having more of your own stuff is nice…..however when traveling, as VR mentioned, renting most stuff is the best option. I travel with my own mask (I don’t use a snorkel) and regulator/dive computer and that is all. The mask because fit is pretty personal, regulator because it’s the most important thing to function perfectly and you can be assured it is in top shape if it’s yours, and dive computer because they all have a user interface just a little different and I like knowing mine perfectly. I also carried my own dive knife (packed in my luggage - I packed my reg/computer in my carry on). I use a pretty small one - you don’t need anything big, 3-4 inch blade) that I wear clipped to my second at shoulder level. Serrated one side. A small erasable writing slate is also surprisingly useful. You can expect everything else to work just fine in dive shop rentals. Except for the nitrox class, resist all the other “merit badge” classes beyond basic that you’ll be offered. Get the basic, dive for a while……a year (20+ dives or so)……and then decide if you want/need to add any merit badges or more “techie” equipment.

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I agree with Wet Spreaders...I started freediving as a 12 year old in the late 50s, became SCUBA in 1961, when all you had was your mask, snorkle, fins, weight belt, tank (with metal back pack) and regulator (double hose).  Not a lot of crap to haul around (did mostly beach dives).  Later progressed to single hose and an inflatable vest for many years.  Quit SCUBA a decade or so ago, now only back to freediving at age 75.  Could not see myself with all the crap and bells and whistles worn today.  BTW, still have my US Divers Aquamaster double hose.

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I wouldn't buy anything yet except for a good mask and snorkel.  We found that fins take up a lot of space in your bags and they always ended up in my bag.  And she bought three pair before finding one she liked.

I got open water certified in Cozumel in 2000.  Great experience with Dressel Divers at Iberostar.  All inclusive resort that's ten or fifteen kilometers south of town so one is away from the cruise ship crowds and malls, as well as being closer to some of the better reefs.  And they had the best dive boats on the island, as far as I'm concerned.  Used to go down three or four times a year because it was only a two hour direct flight.  Warm water year round with good visibility.  No idea if the still have Hobie Waves or Bravos.

We absolutely did not care for the Intercontinental resort experience in Cozumel.

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Another vote for buy mask and snorkel (plus fins and wetsuit boots if cold water) because these matter for fit.

Just rent the rest where you are going, its expensive and bulky to lug around.  You are a novice so don't need a computer yet, they won't send you that deep.  After a couple of years and more training you can look at buying gear.

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I had a decent set mask/snorkel/fins used strictly for snorkeling but prior to class I bought a very good mask that accepted little readers to see a gauge, they required a snorkel so also got a basic one.

Definately plan on renting every thing else, at least until I'm sure this will stick.

Agree with PB about the regulator set, having spent many years breathing compressed air in hostile environments.

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1 hour ago, bmiller said:

Looking forward to a new chapter in life that is sure to suck me in causing massive dollar disbursement.

 It's fun. All good info above although I didn't bother with VWAP's post. I started out with beach dives in LA County in the 50s. Instructor since 1981 but stopped teaching long before. If you're in a PADI course just know that your "certification" is truly just the ticket to rent gear. And rent gear you should til you know what you need. Few things are cheaper than good gear used a dozen times. Cuz gear is a real hassle and burns out noobs right off the bat.

Note to all: The best wreck diving with real ships and sharks and shit in N America is here in NC. And in my view the best stuff in NC is out of Morehead City and Beaufort, NORTH Carolina. Pronounced "Bofert." Two hour ride offshore 30 miles gives you warm, clear water in 100'+ depths. Not for noobs though noobs live to tell their tales. Fat guys have heart attacks. 

9 minutes ago, bmiller said:

they required a snorkel so also got a basic one.

Lotta people don't know they need a snorkel til they wish they had one. 

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2 hours ago, bmiller said:

For many, many years I've been meaning to get dive certified. But like so many other things it got pushed back and the next you know I'm 62 wishing I'd done it 30 years ago.

With a planned trip to Kona I thought what a great place to do the open water portion of the course. So I finally got off my ass and did the academic/pool work here in CO. 

Thoughts on training, where to go, what is really needed as opposed to nice have equipment?

Looking forward to a new chapter in life that is sure to suck me in causing massive dollar disbursement.

well depending on how much diving you planned to do

bcd ..   basically underwater pfd..    if you have your own, it'll fit a little better and you know where all the pockets etc are  (if you don't dive alot skip)

mask / snorkel -  must buy..  fit / comfort / special lenses if you need them

regulators / dive instruments -  this is where I spent my money,  how well do you trust your life to rental equipment?

dive skin  -  light weight body skin that helps you get into / out of  dive suits,  also works as a light weight dive suit  / anti jelly fish

fins -   comfort and fit   enough said

dive bag,   stuff to carry all the shit you buy and fly with

 

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1 minute ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

well depending on how much diving you planned to do

bcd ..   basically underwater pfd..    if you have your own, it'll fit a little better and you know where all the pockets etc are  (if you don't dive alot skip)

mask / snorkel -  must buy..  fit / comfort / special lenses if you need them

regulators / dive instruments -  this is where I spent my money,  how well do you trust your life to rental equipment?

dive skin  -  light weight body skin that helps you get into / out of  dive suits,  also works as a light weight dive suit  / anti jelly fish

fins -   comfort and fit   enough said

dive bag,   stuff to carry all the shit you buy and fly with

 

 

my dad volunteered at a local aquarium... they had a huge tank where they fed the "fish"..  he asked how he could do that...   so he got dive certified at 72 and dove into his 80's ...

 

one thing you MUST do..   take a list of your medications and find out if you can take them while diving..    a lot of medications react differently under water pressure..

 

 

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Just be sure to get this James Joyce novel about learning to scuba dive. My Dad gave me his copy shortly after getting his open water certification and he said this book was the reason he took the scuba courses while he was stationed at Treasure Island in SF Bay. The book inspired me as well...

go to the Widow Maker: Jones, James: Amazon.com: Books

My Mom was not happy with Dad gifting me the book!

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Well, Kona will be warm water.  Much easier to do everything when you're not freezing.  You'll sign up with shop that gives lessons (PADI is the most common agency).

Rental gear is fine to start with.  You'll need to do four open-water checkout dives, typically with a group and one or more instructors.  The depth limit is 60 feet, less is okay.  But not too much less--  You want to be getting deeper than 20-30 feet in order to do the "tasks" (fixing a flooded mask, locating your secondary reg, maintaining neutral buoyancy, basic hand signals)--and on the ascent, staying 'neutral' at about 15' where you do your "safety stop" for 3 minutes before surfacing.

I bought my gear when I got certified, it made me keep on diving so I'd get my "moneys' worth).   That would be fins, booties, snorkel, buoyancy compensator "BC" jacket, regulators with gauges, mask.  Don't buy a tank, rent them. Ditto weights.  Get a comfortable wetsuit (3 mil is the "standard", 5 or 7 is for colder stuff.

I started at age 49, so you're not too old.  Dive a lot the first year if you can, and maybe get Advanced Open Water, and after 50 or so dives, Rescue diver.

 

It's wonderful world down there!

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1 hour ago, VWAP said:

I gotta call BS on this, although it hasn't been checked by Snopes.

The gas laws say that any bubbles that  come out of solution while ascending will be re-dissolved upon recompression, or eventually gas off into ambient pressure if not recompressed. Even though nitrogen gas is highly soluble in fatty tissue, it will eventually gas off during a slow decompression in a chamber, and since he obviously survived the crash ascent, there is nothing to stop said bubbles from eventually off gassing naturally while at the surface.

What this reporting implies is that the bubbles are contained in some sort of hard/ impermeable shell.

Furthermore, it is very unlikely that this rapid ascent would not also have some serious CNS ramifications, which would have far more life threatening repercussions than big moobs.

Of course, the reporting does come from Scotland. Perhaps a few shots of single malt will make it right.

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56 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

regulators / dive instruments -  this is where I spent my money,  how well do you trust your life to rental equipment?

snicker snicker ... we're not talking cave diving.

What PB described is the way to go but the OP has a long way to go to get there. OP gets 20 varying dives down, he'll know exactly what he wants. That said, at 62, lugging stuff around won't be your fave thing if yer not a gear guy. 

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I fully subscribed to the "buy used" philosophy. In fact, my reserve reg is still one I bought used in 1986. It was my primary until 2 years ago when Mrs nettles gave me a fancy one for my birthday.  I don't notice much of a difference, but I am trying to step boldly into the 21st century.  Still don't use a computer; the Navy tables have kept me safe since I got certified in '85, and the Bride and I have a pretty standard dive profile.  I could count the times I could have used one on one hand.

Diving is, without question, the most relaxing thing I do.  We dive 25-30 dives a year in a Caribbean location where we can shore dive a large variety of sites, pack up our gear (mask snorkel BC and fins) and come home.  I quit diving around New England about 20 years ago as I got sick of encasing myself in 6-12 mm of neoprene to endure life below the thermocline.  I have become such a pussy I wear a 3 mm when we dive down South.

I encourage people around here to take the classroom up here, then travel with the dive shop to a warm location for the open water dives.  Most of the shops around here offer these deals.  I know that I never would have enjoyed it if I had to do it in 45 degree (F) water. Though it is a little more difficult doing shore dives now that I'm an old fucker, I plan on holding out abstaining from supervised boat dives for as long as I can.

We leave March 12th, Dog willing.  I can't wait.

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52 minutes ago, nolatom said:

Well, Kona will be warm water.  Much easier to do everything when you're not freezing.  You'll sign up with shop that gives lessons (PADI is 

 

It's wonderful world down there!

PADI is like ASA sailing classes...    ASA 101 using a tiller   ASA 102 dropping an anchor  ASA103  using a halyard

I went Naui certification   a no nonsense program to get you into the water..

 

a yes, love the underwater world..

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2 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

yeah nothing like being down 80' and have the regulators  konk out because no one has bothered to service them in 3 years..

B) Yeah but both go out on the same dive and yer a noob so your buddy's two regs are inoperative as well?

Like that?

Every location I've been but one the gear gets sold seasonally. People get on lists to buy used shop gear. The other very busy store had rentals on a regular service rotation. The failures are on the free flow side AFAIK.

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7 minutes ago, Blue Crab said:

B) Yeah but both go out on the same dive and yer a noob so your buddy's two regs are inoperative as well?

Like that?

Every location I've been but one the gear gets sold seasonally. People get on lists to buy used shop gear. The other very busy store had rentals on a regular service rotation. The failures are on the free flow side AFAIK.

guess you've never been to a mexican dive shop..

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1 hour ago, Blue Crab said:

Note to all: The best wreck diving with real ships and sharks and shit in N America is here in NC. And in my view the best stuff in NC is out of Morehead City and Beaufort, NORTH Carolina. Pronounced "Bofert." Two hour ride offshore 30 miles gives you warm, clear water in 100'+ depths. Not for noobs though noobs live to tell their tales. Fat guys have heart attacks. 

 

Best wreck diving with real ships is the Great Lakes but we don't have sharks.  Very little deterioration in cold fresh water for anything deep enough that it isn't a hazard to navigation, the catch is its cold.  You can see the sun from 90 feet at Brockville.

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32 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

 

I went Naui certification   a no nonsense program to get you into the water..

 

.

I'm a Naui guy too!  Of course it was Australia, but I don't believe I've ever met another of the clan Naui.

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24 minutes ago, Tax Man said:

Best wreck diving with real ships is the Great Lakes but we don't have sharks.  Very little deterioration in cold fresh water for anything deep enough that it isn't a hazard to navigation, the catch is its cold.  You can see the sun from 90 feet at Brockville.

That first thermocline is a shocker.

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38 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

PADI is like ASA sailing classes...    ASA 101 using a tiller   ASA 102 dropping an anchor  ASA103  using a halyard

I went Naui certification   a no nonsense program to get you into the water..

 

a yes, love the underwater world..

Thanks for this thread.  I contacted a local dive shop last week about classes.  The offer NAUI and PADI with NAUI being slightly less money (not enough to matter).  Googled the difference but couldn't find much about it.  Which is better?  I have a long ago long time history of free dive spearfishing and sometime scuba (uncertified) in South FL with my dad and his brothers and some friends from the swim team.  Since then it has been infrequent snorkeling trips to clear water and cleaning the bottom in the zero visability St. Johns.

That is my primary purpose for certification, cleaning the bottom.  I am getting way too old to do it with a snorkel.

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Gulf of Mexico fewer wrecks, but warmer water.  Marine Sanctuaries way off the Texas coast have coral growing on top of salt domes so it's only 80 feet deep 70 miles offshore, and good marine life, it's a liveaboard 2-3 day trips (Flower Garden Banks, and Stetson Bank).

Panhandle Florida pretty good wrecks and visibility.

East Coast Florida from Jupiter and southward, is really nice drift-diving, along ledges that run parallel to the coast, and the westernmost effects of the Gulf Stream which "drift" you, along with your buddies and the DM, and the boat, northward.  Jupiter and Palm Beach area is what I'm familiar with, good boats, nice shore towns.

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I was a Naui assistant instructor in HI for a while. Provide your own mask, fins, snorkel. These have to fit YOU. Rent everything else until you decide how serious you will be going forwards. There are differences in everything, tho slight. All the gear makes a large bulky carry bag.  Growing up in HI & doing a lot of free/short tank dives (almost commercial fishing) we favored a bare minimum of equipment: no vests, no gauges, no weight belts (if weight needed it was bolted to backpack). Tank only used if we couldn't do the job free.

Even back then there was a large difference in the training level of the classes available, all of which got you 'certified'. There are minimal classes structured to the passing tourist who wasn't there for long, & the good classes were 40 hrs of class time in a pool plus 3 - 4 ocean dives. More hrs are better, more ocean dives are better.

One of the "final" exams I went thru had all the students in the pool with full gear - if you surfaced you failed. During this 20 minutes the instructors swam around and tore off bits of your gear, turned off tank valves, pulled your reg out & tied the hose in a knot. If you separated from your 'buddy' you got swarmed. Extreme, yes, but taught you not to panic, & help out buddy.

Lots of stories about being an assistant instructor dealing with students who really could barely piddle about on the surface wanting to be Cousteau. 

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5 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

Once you're comfortable in the water and have your good mask/fins etc (above is good advice btw), I suggest hooking up with a freediving/spearfishing outfit. I found that SCUBA got a little "samey" and all the gear was a pain in the ass to haul around. Freediving was more fun and really challenging. And tasty. At the very least it's a different look at the sport and a fun way to break up a week of dealing with BCDs and gas tanks and "oh look, there's a nudibranch" - which gets old fast.

 

 

Same for me. I dove pretty consistently for about 8 years or so then got bred with the sameness of it all and only dove once in a while. Then I did a Project Ocean Search with Cousteau Society in 82 and got jazzed up again. Then got bored again. Then took up underwater photography. Got jazzed up again. For me the moral of the story is there are lots of things to do underwater........explore them all.

Side story on the gear imperative. I dove (mostly due to economic limitations) for years very lean on gear. Mostly stuff I picked up while working as a ocean lifeguard.......there is always stuff laying around the HQ etc from divers who didn't have a good day and after the rescue just left stuff there. In fact my NAUI class in 76 was an all lifeguard class taught by our Lt. as we were contemplating a lifeguard dive rescue/search team implementation. Anyway, my plane landed in BVI and several other participants were also there. As we collected our luggage I noted they had LOTS of dive gear.......LOTS. Since all I had was a US Diver BC...pretty plain and mask/fins and reg (no safe second), and a very ordinary computer....I thought "jeepers these guys must be awesome divers" and felt a little under equipped. Well.....the first dive they were a hot mess. Had trouble getting neutral and spent more time adjusting fussing with their shit than diving. Always the last into the water and last out of the water. About a week into the project, Jean Michel showed up to spend a day or two with us and as we went down onto the dock to load the dive boat he loaded up his gear. A US divers BC exact same as mine and a simple reg, no computer and plain mask and fins. As we headed out to the first dive he caught name looking at his stuff taking stock and smiled. He obviously knew what I was thinking, leaned over, winked and nodded toward the "well equipped" divers in the midst of endless adjustments and preparations and conspiratorially in a low voice said "macho divers"................I almost fell over trying to muffle my laughter. From that day forward, I always refried to those over equipped divers as "macho divers". Loved it. That was a great experience as well. Thats when I had the very good fortune of meeting Bert Kilbride....the Queens own "Keeper of Shipwrecks" who an Kilbride Dive Tours that provided dive support for the project. What an interesting guy. 

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For what it's worth I've always a simple is better, less is more kind of guy, hell I use map and compass and own a flip phone.

During the class, which was SSI, the instructor seemed very experienced and knowledgeable but was always pushing more and more techy gear and droning on about how much "stuff" he dives with. I thought that was silly. And lots of marketing in the on-line portion and in class, which was annoying.

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4 minutes ago, bmiller said:

For what it's worth I've always a simple is better, less is more kind of guy, hell I use map and compass and own a flip phone.

During the class, which was SSI, the instructor seemed very experienced and knowledgeable but was always pushing more and more techy gear and droning on about how much "stuff" he dives with. I thought that was silly. And lots of marketing in the on-line portion and in class, which was annoying.

Think commission check. 

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12 minutes ago, bmiller said:

For what it's worth I've always a simple is better, less is more kind of guy, hell I use map and compass and own a flip phone.

During the class, which was SSI, the instructor seemed very experienced and knowledgeable but was always pushing more and more techy gear and droning on about how much "stuff" he dives with. I thought that was silly. And lots of marketing in the on-line portion and in class, which was annoying.

Sounds like a PADI class. :lol:

When Mrs PB wanted to get certified and decided to include our teenage daughter PADI was the most convenient but I wanted to be sure the class with my loved ones went well so I signed up as well but kept my experience quiet…..didn’t want to be “that guy”. The instructor was great and the class was fine. Safe and well run. But……up selling is definitely part of that corporate culture.

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54 minutes ago, Point Break said:

Same for me. I dove pretty consistently for about 8 years or so then got bred with the sameness of it all and only dove once in a while. Then I did a Project Ocean Search with Cousteau Society in 82 and got jazzed up again. Then got bored again. Then took up underwater photography. Got jazzed up again. For me the moral of the story is there are lots of things to do underwater........explore them all.

Side story on the gear imperative. I dove (mostly due to economic limitations) for years very lean on gear. Mostly stuff I picked up while working as a ocean lifeguard.......there is always stuff laying around the HQ etc from divers who didn't have a good day and after the rescue just left stuff there. In fact my NAUI class in 76 was an all lifeguard class taught by our Lt. as we were contemplating a lifeguard dive rescue/search team implementation. Anyway, my plane landed in BVI and several other participants were also there. As we collected our luggage I noted they had LOTS of dive gear.......LOTS. Since all I had was a US Diver BC...pretty plain and mask/fins and reg (no safe second), and a very ordinary computer....I thought "jeepers these guys must be awesome divers" and felt a little under equipped. Well.....the first dive they were a hot mess. Had trouble getting neutral and spent more time adjusting fussing with their shit than diving. Always the last into the water and last out of the water. About a week into the project, Jean Michel showed up to spend a day or two with us and as we went down onto the dock to load the dive boat he loaded up his gear. A US divers BC exact same as mine and a simple reg, no computer and plain mask and fins. As we headed out to the first dive he caught name looking at his stuff taking stock and smiled. He obviously knew what I was thinking, leaned over, winked and nodded toward the "well equipped" divers in the midst of endless adjustments and preparations and conspiratorially in a low voice said "macho divers"................I almost fell over trying to muffle my laughter. From that day forward, I always refried to those over equipped divers as "macho divers". Loved it. That was a great experience as well. Thats when I had the very good fortune of meeting Bert Kilbride....the Queens own "Keeper of Shipwrecks" who an Kilbride Dive Tours that provided dive support for the project. What an interesting guy. 

Deep sea drivers, sports car drivers and all round neat guys.

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4 hours ago, Tax Man said:

Best wreck diving with real ships is the Great Lakes but we don't have sharks.  Very little deterioration in cold fresh water for anything deep enough that it isn't a hazard to navigation, the catch is its cold.  You can see the sun from 90 feet at Brockville.

No doubt great ... just too cold for me. 

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I'm going to join in the chorus of people saying to buy your own mask. A comfortable mask that doesn't leak is a thing of great joy. Even now, anytime I go into a dive store I will go try on masks. When members of my family get into diving, I start by lending them one of my masks, then once they have spent a few hours diving, take them to a shop with a big range of masks and tell them to pick the most comfortable, whatever it costs. Mostly you are diving to see shit - so spend whatever it costs to have the best mask so you can actually see shit.

After the mask, the bit of kit I value the most is a good fitting suit, that you can move reasonably freely in. A nice fitting drysuit will let you dive much more often, because you are so comfortable if you are in cold water. Being warm also stops you needing to piss all the time. I used to dive in a 5mm in asia, even in 80 degree plus water. And still got cold after long dives.

BC wise, I like backplate, harness and wing. Doesn't flop around you or get in the way while diving, and should be cheap. $100 for plate and harness, few hundred $ for a wing. A backplate that is meant for use with single tanks works really well.

I also like really simple kit for single tank diving. Tank, small wing, single reg. I often don't bother with any guage or computer other than pressure guage to show air consumption. But I mostly only dive this setup shallow enough that I'm OK to make it to the surface if something goes wrong, so ~20m range. Deeper, longer dives need progressively more gear, and I'm a bit lazy so now days there needs to be something cool to see in order to bother.

Training wise - you'll learn pretty much everything you need to know for recreational diving during the OW course if you have a decent instructor. But many places want to see advanced and deep certs to take you to more interesting sites, so those courses are a necessary evil. If you really want to learn to dive well, do a cave diving course once you have some good OW experience - they'll beat you up until you have your shit together. (Looking at wet rock never really grabbed my interest though).

If you are going to do live aboard boat trips with multi dives a day, then nitrox and a computer which can track your deco obligation effectively pay for themselves in terms of increased bottom times. (I've never dived OC nitrox all that much - the depth limits became an issue so I ended up going CCR and mix) Otherwise, a dive computer isn't really needed - but they do make cool toys.

So after a bunch of diving and having a heap of gear, the two things that make me happiest is a well fitting mask, and the days I get to borrow a mates scooter. Those things are fun!

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My tuppence worth - buy mask, fins and booties.  A snorkel is a snorkel - easy to borrow, unless you intend to snorkel during surface intervals in which case buy a bottom venting one that is easy to clear.

If you are an odd shape that will not fit standard clothes, then you may want to buy a wet suit that is comfortable.

My advice would be do not buy a computer until you understand the dive tables and how and why they work.

Enjoy and go slow - screaming around at a million miles an hour means you will miss most things.  It is brilliant.

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9 hours ago, Point Break said:

Diving since 76. My view - less is more..…..certainly at the beginning. When diving locally having more of your own stuff is nice…..however when traveling, as VR mentioned, renting most stuff is the best option. I travel with my own mask (I don’t use a snorkel) and regulator/dive computer and that is all. The mask because fit is pretty personal, regulator because it’s the most important thing to function perfectly and you can be assured it is in top shape if it’s yours, and dive computer because they all have a user interface just a little different and I like knowing mine perfectly. I also carried my own dive knife (packed in my luggage - I packed my reg/computer in my carry on). I use a pretty small one - you don’t need anything big, 3-4 inch blade) that I wear clipped to my second at shoulder level. Serrated one side. A small erasable writing slate is also surprisingly useful. You can expect everything else to work just fine in dive shop rentals. Except for the nitrox class, resist all the other “merit badge” classes beyond basic that you’ll be offered. Get the basic, dive for a while……a year (20+ dives or so)……and then decide if you want/need to add any merit badges or more “techie” equipment.

I like going to dive shops and showing my 1976 PADI cert card.

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9 hours ago, Gangbusters said:

I like going to dive shops and showing my 1976 PADI cert card.

I like going to my dive shop to get my circa 1980's reg serviced, especially if there is some gear nut in the shop whose kit looks like Buck Rodgers'.

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1 hour ago, Fat Point Jack said:

Before hopping in the water before my last dive trip in the Keys, the dive master started handing out hot dogs.

I asked, "What are those for"?

He replied, "They are for feeding the Moray's".

II looked at that hot dog and then my fingers and then said, "You people are stupid".

I remember years ago in Bonaire there was a really big Green Moray that was routinely fed until a diver lost a finger. Much more recently there was this: 

 

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2 hours ago, Fat Point Jack said:

Before hopping in the water before my last dive trip in the Keys, the dive master started handing out hot dogs.

I asked, "What are those for"?

He replied, "They are for feeding the Moray's".

II looked at that hot dog and then my fingers and then said, "You people are stupid".

One of the safety rules we were taught was "don't pretend to be food".  Splashing around on the surface in a wetsuit is a seal, flashing light off your knife or console is an injured fish.  This is off the scale stupid, why not just open a vein so you can see sharks?

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1 minute ago, bmiller said:

Why?

Rigor. An active guy like you will be fine with the PADI instruction but PADI's approach is too easy. The swim test is just a joke as I've seen in action. I know a PADI instructor who can't actually swim without fins. Another from Indiana had never been in an ocean. Never seen a bad word from a NAUI cert diver.

I think the reason so many get PADI OW cert and quit is lack of confidence. A couple of actual open water dives on your own and you get a sense of what you don't know.  

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1 hour ago, Blue Crab said:

Rigor. An active guy like you will be fine with the PADI instruction but PADI's approach is too easy. The swim test is just a joke as I've seen in action. I know a PADI instructor who can't actually swim without fins. Another from Indiana had never been in an ocean. Never seen a bad word from a NAUI cert diver.

I think the reason so many get PADI OW cert and quit is lack of confidence. A couple of actual open water dives on your own and you get a sense of what you don't know.  

  1. Business Structure. While PADI is a standard for-profit business, NAUI is the oldest non-profit certification organization. 
  2. Naming Conventions. Both agencies offer a variety of certifications for different level divers, including introductory diving, open water diving, and free diving. However, the two agencies do use different names to refer to similar training. For example, their basic training programs are known as  “Open water” at PADI vs. “Open Water SCUBA diver” at NAUI. Within these programs, and others, the practical applications of diving are similar. 
  3. Life-saving Skills. There are a few skills that one agency focuses on while the other does not. For example, the main difference between the certifications at the basic stage is that NAUI will train its divers the basic skills of saving an unconscious diver but PADI does not. NAUI certification also requires a skin dive, but PADI does not. For these reasons, the United States Navy uses NAUI certification. This may prompt some new divers to opt for this agency instead of PADI. 
  4. Certification Timeline. With PADI, you get certified as soon as you complete all the required skills in the program. However, with NAUI, you first have to complete the skills. Next, your trainer has to be satisfied that you are ready for the water before they will officially certify you.
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Resources are limited within a reasonable driving distance from BV CO. Closest was an SSI facility in Colorado Springs, even that's a 4 hour round trip. So I drove down with my camper loaded in the truck and found a  nice spot in the foothills to spend the night between sessions.

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Geeze, so I guess I got a substandard course of instruction from PADI, then?  And I'm lucky to still be alive 22 years later?

I had good instructors, a husband-wife team with long experience (now retired), he had been a commercial diver out in the Gulf of Mexico oil platforms.  They didn't cut corners.

And post-cert on the way offshore trips to the Marine Sanctuaries on liveaboard boats, populated by several different groups from different dive shops and instructors, I noticed that none of the divers who had "issues" were from "our" shop.  And that it was our group (from New Orleans) who went to the aid of those divers, and knew what to do once they got there.

So from my somewhat parochial background, I think it's the instructor, and not so much which Agency, that makes good--or not so good-- divers.

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The main thing about scuba, of course, you'll automatically be scandalously hip....   ;-)

 

  • thought.

The Scuba Set

http://www.neonbubble.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Armpits19.jpg

For the first time – A scathing novel unmasking the sensual excesses of today’s aqualung elite!

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1 hour ago, nolatom said:

Geeze, so I guess I got a substandard course of instruction from PADI, then?  And I'm lucky to still be alive 22 years later?

I knew someone would make this simplistic case even though I expressly mentioned that an active guy like the OP would be fine with PADI, counselor. Your instructors were doubtless excellent but the real distinction is you. The situation you mentioned would have been unlikely to happen with NAUI cert. It's harder. 

What was your next post supposed to show?

 

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1 hour ago, nolatom said:

So from my somewhat parochial background, I think it's the instructor, and not so much which Agency, that makes good--or not so good-- divers.

Oops forgot this. This was my actual point from my non-parochial background ... that PADI would cert instructors a) that couldn't actually swim and b) would allow an instructor who'd never been in an ocean himself to travel cross country with a group of his own students ... none of whom had even seen an ocean and lead them on a dive to 130'. We were very busy that day. 

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26 minutes ago, Blue Crab said:

I knew someone would make this simplistic case even though I expressly mentioned that an active guy like the OP would be fine with PADI, counselor. Your instructors were doubtless excellent but the real distinction is you. The situation you mentioned would have been unlikely to happen with NAUI cert. It's harder. 

What was your next post supposed to show?

 

Next post was supposed to show a hilarious (nowadays) pulp-fiction cover for a book back in early '60s, called "The Scuba Set".  My tech side failed me.  

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43 minutes ago, Point Break said:

You mean like this one?! :lol:

They were metal back then as well!

IMG_4020.jpg

Since we are comparing cert cards.

Advice: Practice and maintain neutral bouyancy. 

Favorite dive destination: bonaire and North Sulewasi, Indonesia

 

NAUI Cert 1.jpg

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12 minutes ago, Morgan Crewed said:

Since we are comparing cert cards.

Advice: Practice and maintain neutral bouyancy. 

Favorite dive destination: bonaire and North Sulewasi, Indonesia

 

NAUI Cert 1.jpg

:lol: Never claimed to be the oldest cert....just "old enough".....:D 

Note....I did get 11 hours more instruction.......

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33 minutes ago, nolatom said:

Next post was supposed to show a hilarious (nowadays) pulp-fiction cover for a book back in early '60s, called "The Scuba Set".  My tech side failed me.  

Don't go getting any ideas...

Underwater Sex Rocks!

Scuba sex is a dangerous pursuit, says dive researcher and psychiatrist David F. Colvard, M.D., of Raleigh, N.C. "The act itself is likely as safe underwater as it is above, but scuba and sex don't mix because it's bad news to be so distracted during a dive," he says. "It would be very hard to control buoyancy while having sex, which increases the likelihood that you'll float up too fast, increasing your risk for embolism or decompression sickness." Your respiratory rate also rises during sex, leaving you at a higher risk for running out of air. That's not even considering the myriad other (and maybe life-threatening) risks of underwater carnal adventures, like losing your regulators, knocking off your masks or getting vital hoses hopelessly tangled.

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On 12/13/2021 at 11:06 AM, Nettles said:

I encourage people around here to take the classroom up here, then travel with the dive shop to a warm location for the open water dives.  Most of the shops around here offer these deals. 

This.  Kid did classes up here and open h20 in the Dominican.  Was great as we just hung out on the beach with drinks and he did his open h20 stuff about 100 yds off the beach.  We did not go through a local dive shop btw, went with the one at the resort and it ended up being cheaper.  Got a couple dives for mom and dad thrown in as well.  YMMV

 

Good times.  

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1 hour ago, Rasputin22 said:

12112666944_a917a6f060_k

Thanks Rasp, Crab, this is required when you try for that "Scandalously Hip Diver" card, you can get this only at PADI, right after "Lost your glasses overboarda and found them Diver" Card, and your "Left -Turn Only Diver" Card.

 

See, I can take a joke about my"Put Another Dollar In" Card(s), after all.

 

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43 minutes ago, nolatom said:

Thanks Rasp, Crab, this is required when you try for that "Scandalously Hip Diver" card, you can get this only at PADI, right after "Lost your glasses overboarda and found them Diver" Card, and your "Left -Turn Only Diver" Card.

 

See, I can take a joke about my"Put Another Dollar In" Card(s), after all.

 

PADI is definitely the leader in upselling. I've never seen so many "certifications" that don't mean much. I suppose the navigation class might be helpful to some....I find it pretty obvious but then I did compass swims in other settings so maybe not so obvious to everyone. Same with "Rescue Diver". Hard for me to judge the value to the average diver having spent a lifetime in rescue work. I'll defer criticism of those. Also.....a caveat.....there are some really advanced classes that are probably worthwhile. Cave diving etc. But if you go to their website...they have literally 90+ classes/certifications you can take. Thats a lot. 

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Found my old British Sub Aqua Club study books.

To qualify as sports diver - the standard they set to be allowed to dive with another sports diver but no dive leader supervising, there is 13 hours of classroom study, 8 pool or sheltered water sessions and 12 open water dives.

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26 minutes ago, Point Break said:

PADI is definitely the leader in upselling. I've never seen so many "certifications" that don't mean much.

I avoided raising that issue cuz that's marketing and everyone knows that's crap. My issue was and is that PADI's basic OW course is much too basic. Dare I say dumbed down? And then 5 hand-held dives later and $200 and you're Advanced.

Nope.

Same same with junior divers -- all the ability in the world but little judgement. And all the way up to Instructor level. As I related, the guy who really couldn't swim. That happened at my own IDC ... like with my own eyes at probably the busiest dive instructor training facility in the world. 1981. Divers Unlimited in Hollywood, FL. 

Lt Miller will be fine with SSI. 

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2 hours ago, Blue Crab said:

I avoided raising that issue cuz that's marketing and everyone knows that's crap. My issue was and is that PADI's basic OW course is much too basic. Dare I say dumbed down? And then 5 hand-held dives later and $200 and you're Advanced.

Nope.

Same same with junior divers -- all the ability in the world but little judgement. And all the way up to Instructor level. As I related, the guy who really couldn't swim. That happened at my own IDC ... like with my own eyes at probably the busiest dive instructor training facility in the world. 1981. Divers Unlimited in Hollywood, FL. 

Lt Miller will be fine with SSI. 

Agree on the dumbing down of the requirements. At the beginning of the PADI course I participated in the "swim test" was 1 length of a 25 yard pool. Nobody but my family were strong capable swimmers and one barely made the 25 yards. Absent the BC I'm pretty sure at least one would drown 50 yards from the boat. When I was a guard I cannot tell you how many divers we rescued off La Jolla (shores and cove) who could not even remember to inflate their BC or dump their belt. The first thing we did upon arriving was always dump the belt and inflate the BC if they had one. (We did take a quick look to triangulate the location of the "belt dump". If not too deep we might revisit the location......later.........:lol:)

The caveat is my NAUI certification was 45 years ago and a class of all lifeguards so our training was far more rigorous than even the NAUI training back then and I have zero recent experience to lean on to compare.

And yes...........Miller will be just fine. The PADI classroom materials are stellar and he is already quite comfortable breathing compressed air in hostile environments. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Holy coincidence Batman!

On the heels of my previous post extolling the virtues of my antediluvian gear, Santa dropped off a substantial gift card at the local dive shop.  Mrs Nettles thinks I need a new BC, and she may be right, the current one is about 25 years old, kinda bulky, and not integral with weights. Perusing the options available is mostly frustrating as the range of products is enormous - I don't really need a double backpack with side carry option- and makes me tempted to stick with the old standard, comfort and fit.  I am leaning towards the same kit I got for the Bride a couple of years ago; an Aqua Lung travel model which she loves.

Anyone want to weigh in on this?  Bear in mind I'm now an old fart, certified for 37 years, lotsa dives, who's days of making money under water are hopefully over and I try to stay out of liquid less than 70 degrees F, even below the thermocline, which means I pretty much only dive 2 weeks a year in an undisclosed southern Caribbean location, where we shore dive exclusively. Depending on how we get there bag weight is an issue, so the travel model, at less than 6 lbs and pretty easy to pack is looking good.

While I'm at it, does anyone have a drawback to integrated weights? I have used them, but only on boat dives.  Didn't notice any difference while diving.

Happy Nude Year!

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On 12/13/2021 at 9:55 AM, foamy1946 said:

I agree with Wet Spreaders...I started freediving as a 12 year old in the late 50s, became SCUBA in 1961, when all you had was your mask, snorkle, fins, weight belt, tank (with metal back pack) and regulator (double hose).  Not a lot of crap to haul around (did mostly beach dives).  Later progressed to single hose and an inflatable vest for many years.  Quit SCUBA a decade or so ago, now only back to freediving at age 75.  Could not see myself with all the crap and bells and whistles worn today.  BTW, still have my US Divers Aquamaster double hose.

if you get a chance, post a pic of the aquamaster...that takes me right back to being 8 watching custeau and playing with my GI Joe frogman action figure!

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On 12/14/2021 at 6:19 AM, Fat Point Jack said:

Before hopping in the water before my last dive trip in the Keys, the dive master started handing out hot dogs.

I asked, "What are those for"?

He replied, "They are for feeding the Moray's".

II looked at that hot dog and then my fingers and then said, "You people are stupid".

Heh, heh, I happened to lose the end of my right index finger in an industrial accident in the early 90s. While it had originally been pinched off at the end of the nail, the Dr. opted to take it back to the first knuckle.

So many years later we wound up staying at a backpacker resort in Fiji's Yasawa Group in 2000 and the resort offered day snorkeling trips as well as Scuba Cert. packages. It was only natural there was cross pollination between the snorkelers and the fresh young scuba divers at the bar at night.

After several days, one of the scuba guys noticed  my missing finger tip and asked me how I'd lost it?  I'd had this story at the ready for years now and had to be careful to not be overeager in selling it. Basically, I was on a surface supplied dive (picking sea urchins) and had reached into a hole to get a lobster when a moray clamped down on my finger. Morays won't release their bite as long as you're pulling, but if you relax and don't pull eventually they will open up briefly either to get a better bite or swallow the prey, that's when you pull away.

All good and resting comfortably waiting, when I noticed it's getting hard to breath. Damn, my compressor must have run out of fuel and I didn't have a tender topside this day. I had a 30 gallon air volume tank so still had a minute or two to surface. Nothing for it  but to get out my knife and sever the finger at the joint leaving the moray with an appetizer and me free to blow and go to the surface, where I cauterized the bleeding wound with an electric cigarette lighter before driving myself back to port and the hospital.

The telling took several beers to complete between the questions asked and the details I'd make up on the fly and a couple of the guys were obviously in awe of me and totally understood why I just snorkel these days. I got a lot of free beers out of that story that week, but in a subsequent telling on another occasion, when I thought I'd nailed it, someone called BS. The table went silent and after a suitable pause for dramatic effect I admitted it was just that...BS. There was a huge amount of laughter and backslapping when I admitted how I'd really lost it and had made the whole story up with a good foundation of factual experience to sell it.  I'd never had that many drinks bought for me before  in my life!

 

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2 hours ago, Nettles said:

While I'm at it, does anyone have a drawback to integrated weights? I have used them, but only on boat dives.  Didn't notice any difference while diving.

Really like the integrated weights. Only thing I noticed - which sounds like you did not experience - is the weight distribution shifts toward the front of the body because the weights are now completely on your sides and toward the front with no weight in the back or back side of the hips. Easy to adjust to and not something that would cause me to shy away from them. I did watch a guy accidentally dump a weight pouch while diving because the Velcro straps holding the pouch in had a really big “handle” on it which he said he accidentally rubbed and it caught and dislodged the strap thus dumping the pouch. Never happened to me or anything close but mine didn’t have that oversized handle.

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Years ago I ditched my old jacket style BC for a Mare's back inflate BC with integrated weight pockets. Balance while diving is fantastic with the back inflate compared the old jackets. The integrated weights take getting used to after decades of a weight belt, both in making sure the handles don't catch on anything and release, as well as rembering you now have two seperate releases if you need to ditch the weights. 

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On 12/31/2021 at 8:03 AM, Nettles said:

 

Anyone want to weigh in on this? 

Backplate and wing.

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My missus had a BCD with integrated weights which were lead pellets which were much more comfortable than having standard lead blocks in the weight pockets. 

Two downsides - these were bloody heavy to transport, including flight weight limits, but also just hand balling them around into and out of ground transport (surprisingly this all fell on me).  Also, if a situation required her to dump her weights (which has never happened) then it is highly unlikely that we could get a compatible set of weight bags to replace the old ones.

I like conventional weight belts - available everywhere and very cheap.

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