Our First Fin Kicks…
So we are asked pretty frequently about whether South Africa is a good place to take the PADI Open Water Scuba Course, and we think it’s a pretty interesting question actually.
We’ve taken the time to dispel your concerns and layout the pluses and minuses of taking the plunge with us.
First of all, as you can read about in our “Skipper” blog post, the conditions out here can be pretty rough. We launch our boat nearly every day through the waves, which means that some days the waves are little, and some days it can make for a bumpy ride. Compared to places that have flat, turquoise tropical water, learning in our ocean can be rather intimidating.
What you may not expect is that more of our certified divers balk at the launch than the uncertified students. It makes sense when you think about it – the divers that learn in relatively calm, predictable environments may be surprised when faced with the challenges of diving in South Africa. On the other hand, divers that learn in the signature waves and currents of our coast are well equipped to dive nearly anywhere without blinking an eye.
Voijech practicing his buoyancy.
Is it safe to take your first breaths in ripping currents, potentially surrounded by sharks? It is actually perfectly common to take a Discover Scuba Diving student on a cage-free baited shark dive, where we frequently experience both. And the accomplishment of plunging in, overcoming adrenaline and swimming away with incredible and unique memories makes it an experience you will cherish for the rest of your life. After all, as we covered in June’s post, we are highly trained to work with new divers in all sorts of conditions, and we know when to cancel a dive. We take pride in our safety!
One of the other primary concerns I hear from new and experienced divers alike is whether diving with the sharks is dangerous. Of course, as with any wild animal, you must exercise respect when visiting their natural environment, however with proper briefing you will understand for yourself how to interact with these top predators safely.
Here at ScubaCo we offer the AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty, which will lead you through identifying characteristics of sharks and their behavior before we get out in the water with them. This way, you’ll understand a bit more about what the divemaster is looking out for when you’re on the dive, and you’ll walk away with a much greater appreciation for the sharks. Ultimately, I can’t imagine passing up the opportunity to witness them, especially given the chance to learn from experts in the field.
Do you have to be able to run a marathon to dive out in these conditions? Nope! In fact, you don’t even need to be able to swim. The Discover Scuba Diving course through PADI will get you in the water with ease. If you are interested in earning your PADI Open Water Certification, there is a short swim test, but that will be the same anywhere you go, so don’t let that be a deterrent!
So the real question ought to be ‘What can stop me from diving in South Africa?’ Well, the only thing that you might take a little extra time to look at is the medical questionnaire that you will fill out for any PADI course. This questionnaire can help to determine whether you are fit to dive. Any conditions on the document that you have require clearance from a medical professional before you dive.
Is learning with us a challenge? Yes! Is it a challenge that we believe anyone can overcome? Yes – so long as you are medically fit and you want to do it, we are here to help you overcome whatever trials you face to become a PADI Open Water Diver. PADI DSD Medical
No matter what, we find that our students walk away from their courses well prepared to take on any type of ocean adventure that catches their fancy. Which is the whole point, right? Come and accomplish something you can use and be proud of for the rest of your life!