Scuba Diving Basics

 By: Kelly Broome
There is nothing quite like scuba diving. I remember my first scuba dive. I was visiting Tobago with a friend and I decided on the spur of the moment that it was something I wanted to do, so I went to the local dive shop and signed up for the class. There were only three of us going on the dive, and the two others accompanying me were fully PADI certified, so they didn't need any instruction. That particular dive required that I have classroom lessons that lasted 4 hours. There was a lot that the instructor explained to me during that time like how to use the equipment, what decompression is, what to expect, how to use the buddy system, etc. We did a confined dive first, the afterwards went out to the reef for the open dive.

The dive itself was amazing and exhilarating for me even though it was what is called a non-decompression dive, only to 40 feet. I had been a snorkel for years, but had never been that close to a reef and fish.

For those who crave more diving adventure such as deep sea diving and wreck diving which would take them much deeper in the water they would need much more training, and PADI certification.

It's easy to learn to dive. Not as hard as you might think. PADI certification can be obtained fairly easily, and at your own pace. There are books and videos that you can obtain to help you through the course. Your instructor will give you a short test at the end of each course. After you have completed what is called knowledge training you start diving. You first experience confined dives and then open water dives. Confined dives take place in a pool or a shallow body of water. The first time I put on the equipment and went in the water we were just waist deep. Once you have mastered confined dives and proven yourself to your instructors you will have the opportunity to go on open water dives with the instructor.

Where you will be diving will make the decision for you as to what type of equipment you are going to need. As my dive was in the warm Caribbean waters I didn't need any type of wet suit. I wore a BC vest. However, on deeper cold water dives you will want to make sure you are equipped with a dry suit that will handle cold.

You'll need a good mask. One that seals against your face well. A pair of booties and fins. You'll need a snorkel, a buoyancy compensator vest and a regulator with a gauge and a second mouthpiece.

You'll want to do a lot of research on equipment before buying. As with most things technology is constantly changing scuba equipment. You'll want to talk with friends and instructors as to their recommendations. There is a fairly large initial investment and you want to get the best you can for the money you spend. You also want to make sure that you're comfortable in all the pieces of your scuba gear. If your mask isn't tight enough and leaks, or if your fins are too tight and rub your heels that is what your mind will be on instead of the wonders of the sea.
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Many diving institutions exist. To name a few - PADI, SSI, TDI, NAUI. Whichever qualification you decide to gain, they are all just brands to help you take your very first step to explore the wonderful marine life. All diving institutions basically teach the same methods in scuba diving. One of the basic qualifications available is the Open Water Course. This qualification gives you your license to dive anywhere in the world, whether it be in the shallow waters at 5 meters such as where divers do macro diving off the island of Mabul, a popular dive spot near world famous Sipadan Island, or at depths of 18 meters.
MV Celebes Explorer is the only liveaboard diving around Sipadan Island area. Celebes Explorer Liveaboard provides diving around Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai and Si Amil islands. A week cruise with Sipadan Liveaboard will have 4 full days of diving (4-5 dives subject to weather condition) in Sipadan, which is well known for its pelagic and turtles.
Sipadan Island is located on the east coast of Malaysian Borneo and is the center of the richest marine habitats in the world. The island of Sipadan is covered with rain forests. So besides enjoying the underwater world, one can also enjoy the natural beauty on land.

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