Licensed to Dive

So getting my scuba diving license is something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. It’s always been in the back of my mind since I was 8 and going to the pool with daddy when he was getting his certification. He got me a little pink mask, snorkel, and fins and I would splash around in the shallow section while they were learning new things. Spending my summers on my grandparents’ house boat was the key to making me a confident swimmer. So, with all of this, it seems only natural that I would eventually scuba.

Now, as I said before, my license in Chile was much more affordable. About 1/4 the cost for the same international PADI certification. I contacted Aquasport in Santiago and Carlos said he could get me certified in 2 weeks. Game on!

Carlos was great and I was so thankful he spoke English well because my Spanish is somewhat remedial. We spent several days going to the pool and working through the tests. Then, it was time for my open water dives. I had 2 dives on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. He kept saying, “The best divers train in Chile because the conditions are as tough as they get.” I thought, “Great! Let’s do this!” He was not wrong.

The water was all of 11 degrees Celsius (52 Fahrenheit). When I landed in the water it took a solid minute to catch my breath. I could not get warm despite the 2 piece 7mm wetsuit I was wearing. I definitely had to put my game face on to get through all of the required exercises. It wasn’t easy but I managed to make it through all of the dives and I was licensed. Hooray!

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(Diving off the coast of Chile. There are starfish there!)

A few days after, I was headed to Easter Island. I wanted to dive while I was there so I could use my new license and skills. I contacted ORCA dive center and scheduled a morning dive. I’m so glad I did this. The experience was phenomenal. The water was warm and clear and there is an under water statue that you can dive with. It’s not an original statue but it’s still pretty cool. We dove along Anchor Reef, where there are 3 big antique anchors that were left on the reef and it’s neat to see them being taken over by corals. It was just beautiful.

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(Wetsuits are not easy to put on.)

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(Best time ever!)

I have now conquered the mountains and the sea… I’m so glad I did this. I want to use this skill in ocean conservation projects in the future so it is imperative that I get comfortable with every aspect. I’m considering doing my advanced open water training while I’m in Europe. The water will be cold there as well. Here’s to training!